Betterment, the digital advice platform that proudly calls itself the “largest independent robo-advisor,” has named Blucora CEO John Clendening to its board. Clendening spent 11 years as an executive at Schwab, including a stint as executive vice president and co-head of its retail brokerage and banking operations, the Investor Services Division. He also was previously CEO of Charles Schwab Bank.
Last April, Clendening joined Blucora (BCOR), the company formerly known as InfoSpace, an early internet search engine operator which eventually acquired and still publishes the TaxAct tax-preparation software. In October, Blucora acquired the CPA-focused independent BD HD Vest, which has 4,500 reps, for $580 million from its private equity owners.
Clendening was named president and CEO of Blucora, and a member of its board, only last month, replacing longtime CEO William Ruckelshaus. At the time of the HD Vest acquisition, Ruckelshaus called the deal “a transformative acquisition,” since “HD Vest and TaxACT operate in adjacent markets with complementary solutions.” HD Vest has about $38 billion in client assets, or about $8.4 million per advisor, many of whom are CPAs.
In the statement announcing that Clendening had joined its board, Betterment co-founder and CEO Jon Stein said the company “aims to be our customers’ central financial relationship, and we believe John’s experience and passion will help us fulfill that goal.” Clendening said in the same statement that “Betterment has clearly established itself as the leader of the space and is the best positioned to create a lasting, nationally recognized brand.”
Two weeks ago, Betterment, which was founded in 2008 and launched its first robo-advisor platform in 2010, announced that it had closed on a $100 million round of financing, nearly doubling the $105 million it had raised in four previous rounds. The group providing the series E financing was led by the Swedish investment company Kinnevik, along with previous investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Anthemis Group and Fransciso Partners.
At that time, Stein told ThinkAdvisor that the fresh capital “signals that more charges are afoot, more development is coming, especially for advisors.” He said Betterment will use the money “to build out more and better advice products” in its institutional platform for advisors as well as new products in its 401(k) platform, which launched in January.
Betterment has $4.1 billion in assets, 155,000 end users and 200 firms using its Betterment Institutional platform for advisors, which was launched in October. Last month it added an account aggregation feature to its platform.