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Fintech Firm Launches AI-Driven Digital Assistants for Advisors: Tech Roundup

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What You Need to Know

  • Hearsay Systems appoints industry veteran Matt Newman as its chief customer officer.
  • AssetMark and iCapital Network have launched a customized alternative investment service on the AssetMark platform.
  • Broadridge has integrated the compliance tech firm FundApps’ regulatory compliance technology.

The fintech firm CogniCor has launched three new digital assistant modules that use artificial intelligence to help financial advisors and wealth management firms accelerate their productivity.

The modules provide scalable solutions to the “most labor-intensive and time-consuming operational issues” that advisors and other employees at financial firms face and “raise the efficiency and productivity of firms’ internal support functions,” CogniCor said on Thursday.

The digital assistants were built on the Palo Alto, California firm’s CIRA platform, a proprietary system that it said leverages machine learning algorithms to “understand the intent behind user queries and return accurate, appropriate responses or courses of action that directly address users’ needs.”

“CogniCor’s solutions take much of the burden of user support off firms’ shoulders and enables them to focus the core missions of their businesses,” according to Sindhu Joseph, the company’s CEO and founder.

The three newly launched digital assistants are the Forms Assistant, which the company said interprets the user’s intent and finds the forms they need, then pre-fills certain fields and guides the user through the rest; the Navigation Assistant, which users tell what they need and which responds with step-by-step navigation instructions in even complex use cases; and the Smart Call-Routing Assistant, which understands the context and intent of a query, then matches the user with the appropriate expert, CogniCor said.

Deploying CogniCor’s digital assistants can decrease the frequency of calls from advisors and employees to live call-center staff without affecting the critical mid- and back-office functions they need to drive business, the company added.

Signal Advisors Raises $16M for Advisor Platform

Signal Advisors, a Detroit-based fintech startup that distributes annuities and life insurance, has raised $16 million that it plans to use to build an end-to-end platform for independent advisors, it said.

Series A funding of $10 million was led by General Catalyst, which closed in December. It followed a $6 million seed financing round in July, with participation from Detroit Venture Partners, Ludlow Ventures, General Catalyst, Mercury Fund, Annox Capital, SV Angel and others, Signal Advisors said.

The startup’s platform is currently a specialized platform for annuities, but the company intends to use the funding to expand it into a “true end-to-end platform for the independent financial advisor,” it said.

“We’ve seen a lot of capital investment in technologies that promise to replace financial advisors,” said Robert Mylod, managing partner of Annox Capital, who recently joined the Signal Advisors board. “But the bigger opportunity, by far, is to build technology that empowers advisors,” he said in a statement.

Mylod also serves on the boards of public companies including the discount real estate brokerage Redfin, Booking Holdings, Dropbox and Vroom, Signal Advisors said.

Signal Advisors launched its platform its August 2020 and is led by its co-founders, Patrick Kelly, its CEO; Kevin O’Hara, its chief technology officer; and Jacob Cohen, its president.

Kelly started his career as a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual and transitioned to his independent advisory firm, Kelly Capital Partners. O’Hara is a veteran software architect and technologist, most recently leading software development at Bluewater Technologies and the venture capital-backed software-as-a-service (SaaS) company LevelEleven.

Hearsay Names Matt Newman Chief Customer Officer

Industry veteran Matt Newman has joined Hearsay Systems as its chief customer officer. In the new role at the company, he will be responsible for “further developing and enhancing” the company’s customer experience, it said Thursday.

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In the role, Newman will oversee Hearsay’s global customer base and the sales, customer success, alliances, digital transformation and compliance strategy organizations.

He brings more than 25 years of client service to Hearsay. Before Hearsay, Matt was part of the leadership team at ISS, growing the company from its spinoff from MSCI in 2014 to its $2.2 billion sale to Deutsche Böerse in 2021, Hearsay said.

AssetMark Teams With iCapital on Alternative Investments

AssetMark and iCapital Network have announced the launch of AssetMark Alternative Investments by iCapital, a customized alternative investments service on the AssetMark platform.

The solution offers a “curated selection of fully diligenced alternative investments with low minimums and a seamless end-to-end investing experience to support independent advisors in attracting and serving high-net-worth” (HNW) clients, the firms said in a joint announcement.

AssetMark Alternative Investments “augments the investment solutions available” to independent RIAs on the AssetMark platform with alternative investment strategies designed to address the diversification and return objectives of qualified HNW investors, the companies said.

AssetMark Institutional will host its inaugural RIA Summit May 25-26, featuring insights from industry experts and business leaders on how RIAs can build successful, scalable businesses, the companies said.

For example, iCapital will discuss how opportunities in private market investing have evolved and how independent advisors can incorporate these investments into their HNW clients’ portfolios. The company has more than 400 employees and services $73 billion in global client assets across more than 760 funds.

Broadridge Integrates FundApps’ Automated Solution

Broadridge Financial Solutions has integrated the compliance tech firm FundApps’ regulatory compliance technology with Broadridge’s buy-side portfolio and order management solution, the firms said in a joint announcement.

Broadridge’s clients will benefit from a regulatory compliance solution that “addresses managers’ needs across shareholder disclosures, sensitive industry monitoring and position limit reporting, removing operational challenges in their search for alpha,” the companies said.

One Broadridge and FundApps client is BennBridge, a multi-boutique investment firm that strategically partners with fund managers. “We deal across multiple global equity markets and, as a result, are continually faced with changes to regulatory compliance requirements that can create complex challenges,” according to Ben Battye, head of operations at BennBridge.

“By using the FundApps solution, integrated with Broadridge’s portfolio and order management system, we are able to automate many facets of our substantial shareholding disclosure process,” he explained. “This allows us to focus our time on other critical parts of the business.”

The worldwide regulatory landscape has “become increasingly more complex over the past several years, and as firms expand into new geographies, managers need to prove their strict adherence to those regulatory requirements,” according to Eric Bernstein, president of Broadridge Asset Management Solutions. “This strategic partnership allows firms to spend less time on operational and compliance issues and more time on managing assets and outperforming the competition,” he said.

Pictured: Sindhu Joseph, CEO of CogniCor