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Technology > Investment Platforms > Turnkey Asset Management

Ladenburg Thalmann Rolls Out Robo-Advisor

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Ladenburg Thalmann (LTS) said Monday that it has launched $ymbil, a robo-advisor platform for clients with as little as $500 to invest. The aim is to give its 4,000 affiliated independent advisors a new way to grow their business.

“With $ymbil, we are helping advisors address the growing demand for wealth management services that harness the combined benefits of automation and human insight,” said Ladenburg COO Adam Malamed, in a statement.

Ladenburg Thalmann’s broker-dealer network includes Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, Securities Service Network and KMS Financial Services.

“$ymbil appeals to financial advisors and investors looking to maximize the benefits of technology with automated client registration, account administration, reporting and operational efficiencies,” Malamed said.

Rival Charles Schwab (SCHW) has an investment minimum of $5,000 for its robo-investing service, while Vanguard’s robo offering requires $50,000.

Betterment, a pure-play robo-investment service, has no account minimum, while competitor Wealthfront’s minimum is $500.

LPL Financial (LPLA), which has more than 14,000 affiliated independent reps, plans to roll out its robo service later this year.

“As our growth continues, advisors will benefit from an expanding suite of features and tools on the $ymbil platform that complement traditional wealth management services,” Malamed said. “This is a time of innovation in the financial services industry.”

According to the company, $ymbil uses proprietary scoring methodology to recommend portfolios in different risk categories. The portfolios include globally diversified asset allocations, which are tactically managed by Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management (LTAM).

“We will continue to provide solutions such as $ymbil to empower our advisors to broaden their client relationships and sharpen their competitive edge,” said Philip Blancato, CEO & president of LTAM, in a press release. “$ymbil was built with clients and advisors in mind, designed as a simple solution to enable advisors to refer clients and maintain long-term relationships.”

Ladenburg’s affiliated reps have some $50 billion in advisory assets under management and $125 billion in assets under administration.

Earnings News

Last week, the company said it had a net loss of $2.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, which grew to $9.5 billion after payment of preferred dividends. Revenue in the period, though, grew 11% from the year-ago period to $294 million “in part due to the acquisition of Securities Service Network,” the firm says.

Advisory fee revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 grew 17% to $114.1 million from $97.9 million for the comparable period in 2014; the purchase of SSN added over $5 billion in advisory assets.

For the full-year 2015, revenues improved 25% to $1.2 billion. The company’s net loss was $11.2 million, or $39.3 million after payment of preferred dividends.

The company’s independent brokerage and advisory services businesses had “strong recurring revenue of 74% in 2015,” according to President and CEO Richard Lampen.

“We view this sector as one of the most vibrant growth areas in the financial services industry and see ample opportunity to build market share in 2016 through recruiting, strategic acquisitions and internal growth,” Lampen said in a statement. 

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