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Ainslie Simmonds, President, Pershing X

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Edward Jones to Plow $1B Into Tech This Year: Tech Roundup

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What You Need to Know

  • ProShares launched a Metaverse ETF.
  • Pershing X teams with incubator tech firm Albridge.
  • Lincoln Ross named CircleBlack CEO and president, replacing Alex Sauickie.

Edward Jones is investing $1 billion in 2022 in technology infrastructure, digital initiatives, virtual business enablement tools and various test and learn pilot programs that it said are “designed to grow its impact and deepen client and financial advisor relationships.”

Edward Jones advisors throughout the U.S. and Canada are piloting new prototypes that “may be scaled to Edward Jones’ nearly 19,000 financial advisors and more than 7 million clients across North America,” the company said Tuesday in a news release.

The company is also implementing planning tools with Envestnet | MoneyGuide that Edward Jones said will help its advisors “deepen the discovery process and begin to build and manage financial plans with their clients.”

MoneyGuide capabilities will enable Edward Jones branch teams to “address a broader range of client needs and goals beyond retirement and education,” Edward Jones said.

Edward Jones’ U.S. advisors will test and learn other ways in which the company might integrate MoneyGuide tools in the future with the goal of scaled adoption by 2025, it said.

Edward Jones also recently acquired a minority interest in Mesa, Arizona-based Public Safety Financial, owner of an RIA that serves first responders and government employees. “This strategic investment will help Edward Jones better understand unique goals of the first responder client segment in the U.S. and co-create business plans that more completely address their needs,” it said.

Edward Jones expects to make additional announcements “in the months to come as it continues to activate its purpose and accelerates its journey toward delivering on human-centered complete wealth management,” it said.

The firm also announced it hired David Chubak as head of wealth management. Chubak joins the firm from Citigroup’s retail services.

ProShares Launches Metaverse ETF

ProShares launched a Metaverse ETF (VERS) on the New York Stock Exchange with a 0.58% expense ratio, saying Thursday that the new exchange-traded fund was “designed to give investors access to leading companies shaping the next frontier of digital interactions.”

ProShares’ VERS ETF tracks the Solactive Metaverse Theme Index that relies on state-of-the-art algorithms designed to capture the metaverse investment opportunity as it evolves, ProShares said. The index tracks 40 companies spanning a broad range of industries including social media and gaming companies.

ProShares launched the first Bitcoin futures ETF, the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO), in 2021, it noted.

“VERS is the latest addition to ProShares’ growing lineup of thematic funds, which make it easy to invest in long-term, transformational trends such as the increasing influence of e-commerce, on-demand services, big data, and nanotechnology,” according to the firm.

Pershing X Teams With Albridge

Pershing X, BNY Mellon Pershing’s new business unit unveiled last year, partnered with the incubator tech firm Albridge to “bring unique strengths across fintech and advisory to help win the race for talent,” according to Pershing X.

“Advisors will be able to overcome the challenge of managing multiple and disconnected technology tools and data sets fueling business growth,” Pershing X said. “Data will be one of the critical areas that will differentiate Pershing X in the market.”

Pershing will undertake an “ambitious modernization and expansion of the Albridge platform and capabilities to power Pershing X,” it also said.

The first Pershing X product launch is “currently slated for later this year,” according to Ainslie Simmonds, Pershing X president.

“Albridge is the data engine that will power Pershing X apps,” she explained, telling ThinkAdvisor: “We will improve our data aggregation capabilities by focusing on alternative investments,” including environmental, social and governance, banking/credit and digital assets.

“The integration of Albridge and Pershing X will enable us to deliver a multi-custodial data management platform that powers the Pershing X advisory platform,” she said. “Improvements to data aggregation, performance reporting and data insights capabilities … are planned.”

Pershing X has “prioritized its people strategy, driving accelerated growth of the team to several hundred experts since announcement of the division in October,” she added.

CircleBlack Hires New CEO

CircleBlack appointed Lincoln Ross as CEO and president, also electing him to serve as a director of the company, which offers a cloud-based software platform for advisors.

Ross, previously chief of business operations at Envestnet, has replaced Alex Sauickie, CircleBlack’s former CEO and president, who resigned to pursue other interests.

“Ross plans to build on the momentum the platform has sustained since its founding in 2014, cultivating new partnerships and expanding capabilities,” according to CircleBlack.

“The platform now boasts over 20 direct data aggregation interfaces, bi-directional integrations with 11 best-in-class solutions, over 300 model marketplace portfolio solutions and over 50 interoperable API-driven modules,” it said.

Refinitiv Partners With Vestorly

Financial markets data provider Refinitiv entered into a new strategic agreement with Vestorly, an artificial intelligence-driven content curation and marketing platform, to offer wealth management firms and advisors with personalized content and marketing tools.

The deal with Vestorly “supports Refinitiv’s focus on enhancing the advisor experience and giving customers access to the analytical data and advanced marketing tools needed to help them build trusted relationships and strong businesses in this time of unparalleled change,” the firms said in a joint announcement.

UX Wealth Adds StockSnips

UX Wealth Partners added StockSnips as the latest AI-driven investment strategy available on its model marketplace.

The AI-based portfolio uses news sentiment as a factor for portfolio construction, alpha generation and risk management, the companies said in a joint announcement on Tuesday.

StockSnips’ AI Sentiment US Equities All Cap selects the US large-, mid- and small-cap equities that the firms said “intrinsically have a high news media sentiment quality factor and a favorable sentiment momentum signal.”

(Pictured: Ainslie Simmonds, president, Pershing X)