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Envestnet Acquires Harvest Savings & Wealth: Tech Roundup

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What You Need to Know

  • Fintech firm fabe has introduced a Software-as-a-Service application for advisors.
  • NICE Actimize launches a new solution for advisors that uses AI to reduce compliance risk.
  • Former Spotify executive Zach pentel joins Altruist as chief marketing officer.

Envestnet has acquired fintech firm Harvest Savings & Wealth Technologies, a provider of automated goals-based saving tools and wealth solutions to banks, credit unions, trust companies and other financial institutions.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“The right financial advice and investment strategies can make a great difference for one’s financial future. However, the path to financial wellness begins with saving,” according to Dani Fava, Head of Strategic Development at Envestnet.

“It is no secret that the U.S. has a savings problem, as a recent Bankrate survey found that fewer than four in 10 Americans had enough savings to cover the cost for even a four-figure car repair bill,” she said in the announcement. “Through this acquisition, our technology can now help reverse the tide, while enabling banks and credit unions to evolve and keep pace with the ongoing fintech disruption in the industry as we incubate tomorrow’s advisory clients.”

Envestnet is “striving to empower intelligent, connected financial lives, creating a holistic view for investments, banking, or savings account balances,” according to Stuart DePina, Envestnet president.

“With this acquisition, we are one step further in delivering fully on this vision,” he said in a statement. “This acquisition optimizes our API-based financial wellness ecosystem, and also helps strengthen our foothold to enable embedded finance, which we see as a key driver of the future of financial services.”

Harvest’s platform unifies a bank’s retail and wealth offering, and offers capabilities including automated micro-savings and digital account opening. Its technology automates forms and processes, improving account success rates and compliance, Envestnet said.

“This enhanced offering will be adapted and made available to users throughout Envestnet’s unified financial wellness platform,” it said.

Fabe Launches SaaS Application for Advisors

Fintech firm fabe launched a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application that it said was created to help independent financial advisors and full-service firms “extract maximum value from acquisitions and sales of their business.”

The new software “implements qualitative and quantitative analysis to separate core high-value and non-core low-value relationships and determine their impact on the overall valuation of an advisory business,” the Mount Kisco, New York-based company said.

The application’s voice-interactive capability and question sequencing “facilitates and expedites the collection of client discovery data,” the company explained. “The technology calculates and displays more than a dozen profitability, productivity and client ratios of similar size firms for comparative analysis, in conjunction with” income statement, balance sheet and cash flow analysis.

“Whether it’s a full-service firm seeking to maintain a competitive posture for high valued recruits or an independent advisor selling their wealth management practice, attaining comprehensive business valuation is a key concern,” according to Andrew Grillo, fabe founder.

“Way too often transactions are inaccurately priced, as traditional valuation models rely heavily on current year’s multiples or discount rates, failing to incorporate the true value of the client relationships that comprise a book of business,” he said in the announcement.

The company’s “unique valuation benchmarks, disruptive technology and end-to-end data-driven process were conceived by a cadre of highly-experienced veterans of the wealth management industry to meet and address a central problem: assess the real value of an advisory business,” according to Claudio Pannunzio, fabe corporate and marketing strategist.

“We have a straightforward mission, to become the industry’s go-to source to determine the most accurate valuation of financial advisory businesses,” he added.

New Solution Reduces Compliance Risk

NICE Actimize introduced SURVEIL-X Suitability, a surveillance and suitability solution for advisors that the risk and compliance solution provider said uses artificial intelligence and reduces compliance risk for advisors and wealth management and insurance firms.

The solution “builds on the capabilities” of the company’s existing SURVEIL-X Holistic Conduct Surveillance platform, it said. SURVEIL-X Suitability combines communications surveillance, sales practices and suitability with Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) surveillance in a single, integrated cloud-native platform, the company added.

There is an increasing number of global regulations and recommendations that are putting pressure on financial services organizations to more closely monitor regulated employees; review their investment recommendations, transactions and accounts for suitability and undue risks; and ensure that mandated disclosures are being properly communicated, the company noted.

In addition to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest, those regulations include Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Rules 2111 and 3110, NICE Actimize said.

“As regulatory complexities grow, it’s placed an enormous burden on compliance organizations and has increased risk exposure,” according to Chris Wooten, executive vice president at NICE Actimize parent company NICE.

SURVEIL-X Suitability “provides coverage for a broad range of supervision and surveillance challenges and ensures advisors are providing advice and selling insurance and other investment products consistent with customer suitability profiles,” he explained. “By automating oversight and supervision of sales practices, SURVEIL-X Suitability cuts down on resource drain and costs, while insulating firms from regulatory breaches, fines and reputational damage.”

SURVEIL-X Suitability includes new risk detection models that detect suitability and Best Interest breaches related to life insurance, annuities, account rollovers and loans on insurance policies, the company said.

Other new capabilities include self-development capabilities for firms to easily create, test and deploy custom analytic models, to address unique business needs and new regulatory requirements; automation of monitoring and supervision of regulated employees, risk scoring of transactions and review of investment recommendations and disclosures; and AI-powered disclosure reviews to assess and confirm that written and verbal disclosures were presented to clients.

Ex-Spotify Exec Joins Altruist

Zach Pentel, former head of global brand strategy at Spotify, joined fintech firm Altruist’s executive team as chief marketing officer.

In the newly created role, Pentel “will help scale Altruist’s brand and marketing organization to amplify their mission of making financial advice better and more accessible for everyone,” the company said.

“Pentel’s experience building successful consumer brands will be critical in Altruist’s long-term strategy to support advisors in finding and serving more clients,” according to Altruist.

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