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Orion Closes HiddenLevers Deal: Tech Roundup

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What You Need to Know

  • Meanwhile, Envestnet hired a new head of market research and announced an expanded partnership with Practifi.
  • Craig Iskowitz has joined the Blockchange advisory board.
  • Foreside introduces a new marketing platform for RIAs.

Orion Advisor Solutions completed its acquisition of portfolio stress-testing platform HiddenLevers, it said Thursday.

The acquisition was first announced by Orion in March.

Orion on Thursday also announced a 12-month roadmap for the integration of HiddenLevers’ enhancements to its wealthtech platform for advisors.

Integration of HiddenLevers’ portfolio analysis modules into Orion’s proposal and account opening workflows will be done in the second quarter of this year. Integration of its Model Blender and automated portfolio insights into Communities, Orion’s open-source model marketplace, will follow in Q3. Integration of HiddenLevers’ risk and return analytics into Eclipse, Orion’s premier trading and rebalancing solution, will follow in Q4.

Q2 2022 will see the integration of HiddenLevers’ drift monitoring and business intelligence screens and alerts into Trends, Orion’s compliance and BI framework, targeted at the emerging needs of RIAs in “high-growth mode,” it added.

Orion and HiddenLevers clients will receive beneficial pricing. Orion will automatically upgrade current Basic and Pro users to an Orion preferred Elite subscription, “combining the institutional risk analytics with a more client-friendly user experience than other institutional risk platforms,” it said.

The Orion preferred subscription features live stress testing with HiddenLevers’ scenarios, recommendation construction, proposal generation, and a custom alternatives builder. Monthly pricing on Elite is now $200 for 1-5 users, $175 for 6-10 users and $150 for more than 10 users. Current HiddenLevers clients who switch to Orion’s platform will receive six months free and discounted pricing, Orion said.

Envestnet Hires New Market Research Head

Chris Shutler joined Envestnet as head of market intelligence after leaving William Blair & Co., where he spent 13 years in equity research, including 11 years as a research analyst focused on wealth management, asset management and financial technology, Envestnet said Thursday.

In the new role, he will “provide timely information and insights for helping Envestnet shape opportunities for achieving its strategic roadmap,” it said. His industry and customer insights will also “enable Envestnet to serve as a thought leader on the wealth management and FinTech trends shaping the future of financial advice,” it said.

Shutler assumed responsibilities from Karen Lanzetta, managing director and head of market research, who retired after 11 years at Envestnet and a decades-long financial services career.

Envestnet also expanded its partnership with Practifi, a business management platform for financial advice that provides automated workflow and unified data solutions. Under the strengthened relationship, Practifi and Envestnet’s unified advice platform are now fully integrated, the companies said in a joint announcement.

As part of the Envestnet/Practifi integration, advisors can save time adding new Envestnet clients by accessing Practifi’s most updated client and member details directly from within Envestnet’s platform and they can also launch new Envestnet proposals from within Practifi and manage them as bespoke services for their firms, the companies said.

As part of the MoneyGuide/Practifi integration, with just a simple click of a button, advisors can, quickly and easily, create and update a client’s key household data in MoneyGuide from Practifi. They can also “maintain a comprehensive client view between systems by linking to, and easily accessing, the MoneyGuide My Plans page showing financial plans directly from the Practifi client record,” the companies said.

Separately, the Envestnet |Yodlee artificial intelligence solution Abe.ai and Lumin Digital, a provider of online and mobile digital banking solutions, announced a multi-year partnership that allows Lumin to offer Abe’s Virtual Financial Assistant to its clients.

Iskowitz Joins Blockchange Advisory Board

Consultant Craig Iskowitz, CEO of Ezra Group, joined the strategic advisory board of Blockchange, the operator of a digital asset management platform for professional wealth managers.

Iskowitz will advise Blockchange on product and business strategy as the company expands to support growing demand for its BITRIA digital turnkey asset management platform (DTAMP) and SMA Partner programs, it said.

BITRIA is an institutional grade solution that Blockchange said enables RIAs to diversify their clients’ portfolios into Bitcoin and other digital assets with “virtually identical processes to those they use today for traditional assets with conventional TAMPs.” The platform is used by “multiple” RIAs and Blockchange said it recently launched a partner program with Arbor Digital and Willow Crypto as the first partners.

Now that the DTAMP and SMA solutions have been “commercially validated, the company is ready to expand the platform’s capabilities and to grow its customer base through well-chosen industry alliances and partnerships,” it said. Those are the main areas in which Iskowitz’s expertise in fee-based advisory platforms and wealth management technology will be focused, it noted.

Foreside Launches Marketing Hub for RIAs

Foreside Financial Group, a provider of governance, risk management and compliance consulting and technology solutions for global asset and wealth managers, launched RevBuilder360, a marketing program it said was “designed to help RIAs elevate their firm’s brand and value proposition.”

The program is offered via a collaboration with the financial services marketing firm Harborside Group.

Many RIA firms have “experienced less than desired organic growth,” according to market analysis from Foreside and Harborside Group. Amid the growing trend of advisors going independent and starting their own firms, many RIAs are looking to attract new assets, the companies said in a joint announcement.

RevBuilder360 supports asset growth and helps firms energize AUM and revenue growth, elevate their brand and value proposition, strengthen their business pipelines, increase client satisfaction and differentiate themselves from rivals, they said.

The new marketing platform enables RIAs to select the investment and financial topics most relevant to their clients. It then provides company-branded content including emails, articles, newsletters and firm profiles to proactively market to new and existing clients.

Skience Expands Leadership Team

Cloud consulting services provider Skience continued the ongoing expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Chris Zuczek to the newly created role of chief product officer.

The addition of the 20-year-plus financial services veteran follows Skience’s appointments of several key executives in sales, operations and product management over the past two years, it noted.

Zuczek previously was chief product officer of Discovery Data, a New Jersey-based provider of data and analytics solutions for financial services and insurance companies. Before that, he was vice president of product management at Albridge Solutions, the data aggregation and analytics subsidiary of Pershing and BNY Mellon.

At Skience, he will report to Marc Butler, its president and chief operating officer. “Zuczek will lead Skience’s product management efforts, overseeing the continued development and enhancement of Skience’s platform to address emerging industry needs,” the company said. “He is also responsible for implementing strategies to ensure that firms and their users have delightful experiences with Skience’s platform and solutions.”

Focus Financial and Connectus Select Addepar

Focus Financial Partners and Connectus Wealth Advisers, a global consortium of wealth management advisors, selected Addepar as their strategic partner of choice for advisors’ reporting solutions, Addepar announced.

The wealth management platform for RIAs also said assets on its platform grew to more than $2.5 trillion, after adding more than $15 billion in assets a week on average since mid-2020. The company had its strongest year to date in 2020 “across all key metrics including client and revenue growth, user and firm engagement,” Addepar said.

Addepar now serves more than 600 RIAs, family offices and large financial institutions across more than 25 countries, it said.

Addepar also announced that David Obrand joined the company full time as president and will “oversee all aspects of Addepar’s go-to-market strategy and execution, scaling its client-centric business by adding further value to existing clients and partners, and thoughtfully expanding that business into adjacent markets and geographies.”

David started serving on Addepar’s board in 2018 as an executive at Valor Equity Partners, where he will remain an advisor, Addepar said.

As part of its planned global expansion, Addepar will open its first office outside the U.S. in 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and will add 15 new Scotland-based employees to its research and delvelopment team, it added.