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Technology > Investment Platforms

UBS Backs Ethic Asset Management Platform: Tech Roundup  

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What You Need to Know

  • UBS made an unspecified investment in Ethic that was part of a $50 million Series C funding round by the fintech firm.
  • Hearsay will launch new functionality in early October to help advisors comply with the SEC’s modernized Marketing Rule.
  • Wealthtech management consulting firm F2 Strategy launched an Executives-in-Residence program.

UBS became the latest company to make an investment in Ethic, the developer of an asset management platform that enhances personalization for financial intermediaries.

The unspecified UBS investment was made through the wirehouse’s venture and innovation business, UBS Next, Ethic said Wednesday.

The UBS investment was part of a $50 million Series C funding round that Ethic said it closed on. The round was led by the Jordan Park Group and included UBS for the first time, according to Ethic. Also participating in the round were existing investors including Kapor Capital, Nyca Partners, Oak HC/FT, Sound Ventures and Urban Innovation Fund, Ethic said.

The new capital “will support Ethic’s ambitious growth plans, including expansion into new markets and products, and continued investments in its platform experience,” according to Ethic.

“Through UBS Next, we encourage technology-driven innovation and support ideas that have the power to shape the future of banking to meet clients’ evolving needs,” Mike Dargan, UBS group chief digital and information officer, said in a statement. “Through our investment in Ethic, we also aim to increase access to customizable, sustainable investment offerings to a much broader set of investors.”

Ethic, which noted it is also an RIA based in New York City, has grown quickly since its Series B raise in 2021, surpassing $2 billion in assets and expanding its team headcount by over 70%, it said.

Hearsay Adds Testimonial Support

Hearsay Systems announced Thursday it is expanding its compliance capabilities to help advisors and other financial professionals “make the most of testimonials and endorsements.”

The new functionality will launch in early October and was designed to assist advisors and firms in adhering to the SEC’s modernized Marketing Rule that goes into effect Nov. 4, according to Hearsay.

Under the Marketing Rule, endorsements and other testimonials written about advisors and shared publicly by the advisor via social media are treated as ads, Hearsay noted.

“This is significant because financial professionals are increasingly operating in a social world driven by likes, comments, and shares,” it said, adding: “Testimonials and endorsements are critical tools in an advisor’s marketing toolkit.”

F2 Strategy Expands Knowledge Base

Wealthtech management consulting firm F2 Strategy has launched an Executives-in-Residence program that it said Tuesday includes a team of industry experts and ex-wealthtech executives who will “further innovation for the industry at large.”

The participating professionals have “gained a great amount of experience in their careers and join F2 as they transition toward a new venture or as they are looking toward their next chapter upon retirement,” the firm said.

The first cohort includes: Koley Corte, senior strategy and marketing executive leader; Bharat Kumta, senior IT and product leader; Dave Malone, a business executive with 35 years of financial industry experience leading large teams through growth and rapid technology change and helping wealth management firms achieve their business goals; and Michael Zebrowski, a financial services and software executive.

Malone was vice president of business initiatives at RBC Wealth Management Canada, while Zebrowski was founder and CEO of Advisor Innovation Labs, which was acquired by Envestnet, and is a former eMoney chief operating officer.

The EIR program provides C-level executives with a “unique opportunity to network and drive change outside of the traditional corporate full-time role structure,” according to F2. In the program, participating professionals can “engage in cutting-edge client work, research, or mentorship, depending on their current career goals and passions,” it said.

“Experience is a key factor in driving technology transformation, so we developed our EIR program to attract the best and brightest minds to benefit both our clients and the wealthtech ecosystem as a whole including private equity firms, other consulting firms, companies looking to engage in mergers and acquisitions or performing an executive search,” according to Doug Fritz, F2 CEO and co-founder.

The EIR program can feature as many as a dozen members at any given time and there is a 12-month timeframe for an EIR professional’s residency tenure, F2 said. Founded in 2016 in San Francisco, F2 now has 23 employees and works with firms representing $1.6 trillion in assets under management.

Vestwell Rolls Out 2 New Products

Vestwell, the small business retirement plan provider and individual savings platform, announced two major Third Party Administrator product launches on Monday: a TPA partner product (Vestwell Flex) and a TPA portal.

“Vestwell recently piloted two new TPA programs to meet the unparalleled demands of administrators and retirement plan advisors,” according to Richard Tatum, president of retirement services at Vestwell.

“Administrators, frustrated with operational inefficiencies that prevented growth, needed a modern solution. We also saw demand from retirement plan advisors to use Vestwell as a fully unbundled platform, which led us to launch Vestwell Flex,” he said in a statement.

He added: “TPAs are a critical part of the retirement industry, helping service businesses and savers. But, often legacy technology holds back the level of engagement possible. These new solutions allow TPAs to expand growth, engagement, and service at a rapid scale.”

With Vestwell Flex, Vestwell provides administration services including eligibility calculations, distributions, loan approvals, and notice and electronic disclosure delivery, the firm said.

Meanwhile, TPA partners handle plan design and consultation and provide a “streamlined” sign-off process, it said, adding: “Advisors and their small business clients select from a set of TPAs based on their needs.”

Vestwell’s TPA Portal supports plan design and setup, along with key insights needed to monitor and continue to service a plan throughout its lifecycle, the firm said.

Vestwell now has almost 25,000 small business clients and $27 billion in assets in all 50 U.S. states, it said.

FP Alpha Makes its Largest Integration

FP Alpha, an artificial intelligence-driven holistic planning solution for advisors and other financial professionals, announced an integration with PreciseFP on Tuesday that it said will allow advisors to “expedite their workflows by auto populating the client data they have in their platforms in FP Alpha and turn it into actionable advanced planning.”

The latest integration is significant because it enables critical data including client details, assets, liabilities and insurance policy information to be imported from PreciseFP, which specializes in data gathering and onboarding of clients, and flow “directly into the FP Alpha platform to further automate the advanced planning process,” the companies said in a joint announcement.

“Thousands of advisors already use PreciseFP to onboard clients,” the companies said. “Advisors can now leverage client data to fill fields within FP Alpha in seconds.”

They added: “This not only gets the advisor out of the data entry business, [but it also] eliminates the need for the client to enter data multiple times and in different locations.”

The integration also enhances Estate Planning Module, a component of the FP Alpha platform that summarizes and visualizes clients’ estate plans, then identifies major estate planning opportunities, allowing advisors to “quantify the value of their advice with estate tax reduction strategies,” according to the firms.

(Photo: Shutterstock)


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