Lex Sokolin’s financial services story starts in high school.
“It was the ’90s, and I made websites as an 18-year-old,” he said. That creative part of his brain got put on hold for four years during his first foray in financial services at Lehman Brothers. While at Lehman, Sokolin was inspired when he had to cull unprofitable accounts.
“From the point of view of a 24- or 23-year-old who needs financial advice and who has at the time a lot of respect for everyone around you — that sucks,” he said. “Essentially, everyone like me is getting fired as a client.”
So in 2010, Sokolin created NestEgg Wealth, a technology company and RIA that helped pioneer online wealth management in partnership with financial advisors.
“The idea for NestEgg was to combine those challenges with the solutions of the consumer web and ETFs,” Sokolin said. “In 2010, this was quite a new idea.”
Between 2010 and 2013, Sokolin said he had to push “very, very hard” to get meetings with investment firms and to get on their radar.
“The term robo-advisor didn’t exist, so people had no idea what this was, and I was essentially getting kicked out of these board rooms where people said, ‘Why would we change our ultra-high-net-worth business with this thing? It’s ridiculous.’”
Between 2013 and now, Sokolin said he’s had more incoming prospects of financial firms than he had in all the years before.
“It’s just this shift in popular perception of where the industry is,” he said.
In 2014, NestEgg was acquired by Vanare, which has helped the platform commercialize and expand.
Sokolin, who is now partner and chief operating officer of Vanare, is known for his tech expertise and his openness to how future technology will change advisors’ world.
Sokolin believes “bitcoin and blockchain” and “artificial intelligence” will be the next evolution in financial services.