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Kitces Gives Schwab's iRebal Enhancements a Thumbs Up: Tech Roundup

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What You Need to Know

  • Schwab's enhanced iRebal software won't be made available to Schwab Advisor Services clients until early 2023.
  • Also, GeoWealth nabs $19 million in Series B funding.
  • Vestwell plans to acquire a BNY Mellon unit that manages 529 plans and auto-IRAs.

The enhancements that Charles Schwab made to TD Ameritrade’s popular iRebal rebalancing software received an initially positive response from advisors and financial planners including Michael Kitces, head of planning strategy at Buckingham Wealth Partners.

“Nice facelift on the UI/UX for iRebal!” he tweeted Saturday, referring to the software’s enhanced user interface and user experience. But he added it was notable that, although the revamped iRebal is available now to TD Ameritrade advisors, Schwab said the updated version of the software won’t be made available to Schwab advisors until 2023.

As Schwab continues to integrate TD Ameritrade into its operations, the company intends to expand iRebal to Schwab Advisor Services in early 2023, it said.

Since announcing in 2020 that iRebal would be retained as part of the combined Schwab Advisor Services/TD Ameritrade Institutional advisor custody platform, Schwab has invested in iRebal’s modernization and development, it said in announcing the enhancements last week.

As part of that process, Schwab “actively incorporated feedback from independent advisors and reflects Schwab’s overall efforts to continue to integrate technology from both firms and deliver an industry-leading experience,” it said.

The enhancements highlighted last week by the company include: a new, widget-based homepage dashboard view that gives advisors faster access to the information and the ability to toggle deeper if required; a new grid interface; a new grid interface designed to give advisors greater flexibility with data; improved navigation, editing and reporting.

GeoWealth Nabs More Funding

The GeoWealth turnkey asset management program for advisors raised $19 million as part of a Series B funding round led by Kayne Partners Fund, the growth private equity group of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, the companies said Thursday.

The round also included an unspecified follow-on investment from J.P. Morgan Asset Management, a strategic investor in GeoWealth since 2018.

Since GeoWealth’s Series A funding led by J.P. Morgan in December 2018, platform assets have increased over 300% to $16.7 billion while assets under management have grown over 700% to $7.3 billion, according to GeoWealth.

Vestwell to Acquire BNY Mellon’s 529 Plan, Auto-IRA Unit

Vestwell plans to acquire Sumday, a subsidiary of BNY Mellon that manages and administers 529 college savings, 529A ABLE, and Secure Choice/Auto-IRA state-sponsored savings programs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BNY Mellon will act as the preferred servicing agent for the state programs managed by Vestwell, whose fintech engine powers workplace savings programs, the companies said. Services offered include custody, fund accounting, recordkeeping and, where applicable, sub-advisory services via BNY Mellon’s Lockwood Advisors affiliate.

“Vestwell will continue to play an integral role as part of BNY Mellon’s investment portfolio of fintech companies to enable client growth strategies and better business outcomes, the companies said.

Once the deal closes, Sumday will become a Vestwell subsidiary and be rebranded Vestwell State Savings. Its technology, overall program management responsibilities and team will transition to Vestwell, led by Douglas Magnolia, who will assume the role of president, Vestwell State Savings.

Snappy Kraken Launches New Tool

Snappy Kraken announced Marketing Opportunity Score Assessment, a new personalized and free tool that it said firms can use to determine their marketing weaknesses and opportunities. The tool also provides suggestions on how to improve in problem areas.

“Financial advisory firms can take a short, 28-question survey that will define and quantify the impact of marketing on their bottom line in less than five minutes,” according to Snappy Kraken. The survey covers key areas of marketing including social media, video usage and lead generation.

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When an advisor completes the survey, a 15-page report is generated and shared with them containing an individualized action plan based on each firm’s current marketing status and challenges.

Envestnet Makes New Hire

Dawn Newsome has joined Envestnet as chief business operations officer, working to ensure the firm “remains well-positioned to continue building and expanding its financial wellness network,” it said.

Newsome, who works out of the Berwyn, Pennsylvania office, reports directly to Bill Crager, Envestnet CEO and co-founder. She will work with all divisions to help the company “deliver on its objectives, reach its financial milestones, and continue to grow its market share,” according to Envestnet.

She will also “drive Envestnet’s more immediate priorities and initiatives, including efforts to operationalize new ventures that support its expansion,” it said. Newsome has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and joined Envestnet from inter-dealer broker TP ICAP, where she was CEO of the Americas.

FeeX Partners With PFG

Priority Financial Group partnered with fintech firm FeeX, who will power PFG’s Retirement Plan Center, the firms said on Wednesday.

The Center will allow advisors to securely trade and manage clients’ held-away assets wherever they are held. PFG advisors “can now provide this added value to their clients while also utilizing asset location and other strategies to provide a more holistic and personalized service to their clients,” the companies said.

As part of the partnership, FeeX and PFG will be hosting joint virtual events in the coming months, they said.

Smarsh to Buy Digital Safe, Its Entreda Buys Pivva

Smarsh is acquiring the Digital Safe archiving and risk management portfolio from Micro Focus for $375 million, following required customary regulatory approvals, expected in the first calendar quarter of 2022, Smarsh said Wednesday.

“The addition of the Digital Safe customer base, technology and team of subject-matter experts strengthens Smarsh’s position in Enterprise Information Archiving and accelerates execution of its global growth strategy,” it said.

Separately, Smarsh’s Entreda cybersecurity subsidiary said it acquired Privva, whose cloud-based platform helps companies conduct cyber risk assessments to manage third-party vendor and internal risks. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

“The acquisition deepens the already-close relationship between Entreda and Privva, which have collaborated as strategic partners for more than two years,” the companies said Monday.

Going forward, Privva will do business under the Entreda brand, with Privva CEO and founder Ishan Girdhar continuing to lead it.

Entreda said its Unify platform, which includes Privva’s solutions, has been a core component of Advisor Group’s CyberGuard program.

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