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Morningstar Launches Analytics Lab: Tech Roundup

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What You Need to Know

  • Morningstar launched Analytics Lab, a new capability for analysts and data scientists in its Morningstar Direct investment analysis platform.
  • An advisor spoke approvingly of Raymond James' recent tech investments.
  • RIA in a Box announced a partnership with InvestorCOM on rollover compliance tools.

Morningstar launched Analytics Lab, a new capability for analysts and data scientists in its investment analysis platform, Morningstar Direct.

The news follows Morningstar’s launch of interactive research functionality last year.

Analytics Lab allows users to investigate Morningstar data and research more deeply to discover new opportunities for investing success, the company said Tuesday.

Analytics Lab provides users with access to the development platform behind the prebuilt Morningstar research and data sets, enabling them to create custom notebooks in a hosted environment, combining Morningstar data with Python programming language, the company said.

Advisor Upbeat About New Raymond James Tech

Margaret Folk, an advisor with Raymond James Financial, gave a thumbs up to the $500 million investment that Paul Reilly, the firm’s CEO, said the company is investing in technology this year.

“The world is getting smaller almost in that we can have clients all over the place,” said Folk, who has been an advisor with the firm since March 2016 after completing its financial advisor trainee program.

The firm’s mobile app “continues to [get] better from a technology perspective,” she said at last week’s Elevate national conference in Nashville, Tennessee, pointing to the addition of a capability allowing texting through the app as one of the standout features added in the past couple of years.

“I know a lot of clients want to text me and from a regulatory standpoint we can’t do that. so it’s nice that” Raymond James tries to “stay up as much as possible with technology,” she told ThinkAdvisor, calling the mobile app the “biggest piece for me” when it comes to the company’s tech offerings.

Also helpful is the marketing materials that the firm provides via LinkedIn, she added.

RIA in a Box Partners With InvestorCOM on Rollover Tools

RIA in a Box on Wednesday announced a partnership with InvestorCOM, a provider of regulatory compliance software for the financial services industry.

The new offering will make it easier for advisors and advisory firms to comply with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Labor PTE 2020-02 rollover requirements that are scheduled to go into effect July 1, RIA in a Box said.

With the partnership, independent advisory firms and registered investment advisors will have access to InvestorCOM’s RolloverAnalyzer technology.

RolloverAnalyzer, RIA in a Box said, was specifically developed to support financial professionals when making best interest rollover recommendations by:

  • Comparing the rollover environment against current levels of service, client fit and costs.
  • Integrating plan and industry average data, saving the advisor time in searching for data using third-party websites.
  • Electronically document and disclose best interest recommendations directly to clients.
  • Providing native recordkeeping and oversight functionality needed for compliance teams.

ICapital to Buy Simon Markets

ICapital entered into a definitive agreement under which it will acquire fintech firm Simon Markets.

The merger stands to significantly “enhance the alternative investing experience for advisors and their clients,” the companies said in a joint announcement Wednesday.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022 after necessary regulatory approvals have been granted, they said. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Morgan Stanley and UBS Investment Bank are serving as financial advisors to iCapital, while Goldman Sachs is serving as the exclusive financial advisor to Simon.

The Simon technology platform facilitates structured investments and annuity products with more than $48 billion of issuances in 2021. “Through deeply embedded technology, Simon delivers integrations across 50 plus product manufacturers and 50 plus wealth managers — including the largest IBDs, bank/regional broker dealers and private banks, and more than 100 RIAs, as well as platform access to more than 100,000 advisors,” the firms said.

As part of the agreement, Jason Broder, Simon CEO, will join iCapital as managing director, head of iCapital Solutions and member of the operating committee. He will oversee the combined platform’s integration, market development and sales of iCapital’s full suite of tech offerings, the firms said.

ICapital will also “extend offers of employment to the nearly 200 Simon team members,” they added.

WisdomTree Partners With Fireblocks on Blockchain App

WisdomTree Investments on Monday announced a new relationship with custody technology platform Fireblocks for the upcoming blockchain-native mobile app WisdomTree Prime.

“Individual digital asset wallets available to users of WisdomTree Prime will include multiple operational and security controls,” the companies said in a joint announcement.

The integration of Fireblocks’ Multi-Party Computation wallet technology is expected to offer WisdomTree Prime users an extra layer of security when it comes to the management of their private keys for transacting in select crypto assets including Bitcoin, Ether and tokenized versions of physical assets such as gold, they said.

A ”small-scale beta launch” of WisdomTree Prime is targeted for this summer, with the goal of using this technology in its larger rollout planned for later this year, the companies said.

At launch, WisdomTree Prime is expected to feature a core suite of products and services. A continual rollout of new products and services via WisdomTree Prime is planned, including debit cards and other financial services offerings.

Wealthcare Announces New Platform Partner

Wealthcare on Thursday announced a new partnership for its GDX360 wealth management platform: Pontera, which is adding held-away account management to the goals-based planning solution.

The addition offers an additional tool for Wealthcare’s advisors to help clients in meeting their life goals, the companies said in a joint announcement.

Noting that clients increasingly ask advisors to offer customized plans that include their retirement assets to achieve better outcomes, the firms said that, with the new partnership, Wealthcare “strengthens its commitment” to providing its advisors with the “resources they need to scale their business, create enterprise value, and improve client outcomes.”

Pontera (formerly FeeX) provides a “critical link to enable advisors to manage and trade 401(k) and other retirement accounts,” the companies added.

XML Launches Wealth App

XML Financial Group launched a client wealth management app on Android and iOS mobile devices, it said on Monday.

The new native channel for clients and prospects enables users to view their finances anywhere they have an internet connection, the firm said. Users can explore firm podcasts, webinars, blogs and other resources while receiving real-time push notifications and alerts from XML as new events and content become available, it said.

XML and its affiliated broker-dealer, XML Securities manage about $3 billion in client assets, it said.

Lumiant Enters U.S.

Lumiant, an advice and ​client engagement platform that helps advisors to connect with families around their values and financial goals, announced its launch in the U.S.

The company serves almost 4,000 families worldwide through its platform and was developed to deepen client relationships and assist advisors with communicating their unique value while delivering customized financial advice, it said.

AIX Integrates With Sycamore

The Alternative Investment Exchange platform is integrating with Sycamore Co., a cloud-based, data-driven financial services software company that helps independent broker-dealers and RIAs increase the efficiency of their operations workflows, reduce compliance and regulatory risk, improve client onboarding experiences, and streamline actionable insights, the companies said.

The new partnership immediately provides advisors using Sycamore with an alts experience that the companies said Wednesday is “fully integrated with their client account information and reporting.”

“A single-sign-on between the two systems allows advisors to work seamlessly and efficiently from a single point of access,” according to the firms.

The partnership was sparked by joint AIX-Sycamore client Infinity, a wealth management firm that provides affiliated financial advisors flexibility and regulatory support for their practice management. Infinity selected Sycamore and AIX as best-in-class technology solutions empowering advisors to better serve clients.

 (Image: Shutterstock)