The week saw more downsizing from a prominent technology company.
No, I’m not talking about Elon Musk firing significant portions of employees at Twitter offices around the world. Chime, one of the biggest names in digital banking, announced Tuesday that it was laying off 12% of its workforce as a result of “current market dynamics.”
The company joins other fintech startups with once-high valuations that have been slammed this year, including Swedish payments firm Klarna and buy-now-pay-later company Affirm Holdings, according to Reuters. In the wealth space, Canadian robo-adviser Wealthsimple let go of 13% of its employees.
This was something many at the Charles Schwab Impact conference wanted to talk about — when this tightening will reach the adviser fintech market, and which companies will be most affected. My answer is that it’s already here. Startup Tifin laid off 10% of its workforce in June, and others may have made moves without alerting the press.
Not everything is doom and gloom. SoFi Technologies stock surged this week after it reported a smaller-than-expected third-quarter loss and 424,000 new customers, while Envestnet actually beat earnings expectations and posted positive net asset flows despite the market downturn’s impact on net income, according to Citywire RIA.
However, there’s likely more pain coming, to use the parlance of the Federal Reserve. While adviser fintech companies have raised significant capital and have a wealthy customer base of financial advisers, the woes of the current economy will start impacting fintech sooner or later.
Please let me know what you think on Twitter or via email. In the meantime, here are some of the rest of the fintech stories you may have missed this week.
ENVESTNET UPDATES USER EXPERIENCE
Turnkey asset management provider Envestnet rolled out a series of updates across its technology ecosystem throughout the quarter to give financial advisers greater visibility into clients’ finances. The enhancements include new reporting views and a prospecting center in MoneyGuide, as well as new features for the MyBlocks product on debt consolidation and life insurance assessment.
These announcements come alongside new integrations between Envestnet Tamarac and the company’s insurance exchange, credit exchange, and two third-party cryptocurrency companies. The company has been criticized in the past for its ability to bring together its vast menu of products, so it’s likely encouraging for advisers to see these improvements.
ADDEPAR ENHANCES WEALTH TECH AT HSBC
HSBC U.S. Private Banking, the bank’s wealth and personal banking business, selected Addepar as its new client performance reporting provider. Addepar will provide comprehensive portfolio views and in-depth analytics, as well as improving HSBC’s capabilities to report on private and alternative investments.
Portfolio management and reporting remains one of the most contested markets in adviser fintech. Addepar remains a relatively small player, according to the 2022 T3 Inside Information survey of adviser technology (though it should be noted that Addepar primarily serves private banks and family offices rather than the RIA market), but in 2021, it acquired trading and rebalancing software AdvisorPeak. Landing the HSBC U.S. wealth business, which has about $65 billion in assets under management, is a big win for the company.
FLX NETWORKS SECURES $10 MILLION
Investment manager Barings, fintech company Broadridge Financial Solutions and insurance firm Allianz Life Ventures have invested $10 million in FLX Networks, a technology company trying to modernize engagement between asset and wealth managers. The fundraising values the company at $50 million and will go toward building new technology and hiring.
The company claims it has surpassed $1 billion in investment product sales on its platform and has collectively saved asset managers $10 million in discretionary costs. According to Tom Bavin, Barings’ head of corporate and product strategy, FLX simplified the way his firm delivers investment strategies to wealth managers.
INVESTMENT CONSULTING FIRM LAUNCHES OCIO
Taiber Kosmala & Associates, an independent investment consulting firm advising on $15 billion in client assets, launched Taiko, a boutique outsourced chief investment officer solution designed for RIAs, national advisory firms, broker-dealers and trust companies. Taiko combines institutional research and Taiber Kosmala’s unique consulting strategy to provide advisers with investment portfolios, a personalized back office and an integrated technology stack.
Taiko is hoping it can stand out in an already crowded TAMP marketplace by offering something different — outsourced investments and technology that’s custom tailored to each unique adviser. As the company’s PR team put it, Taiko is an option for advisers who disdain traditional TAMPs. Given how much we talk about the investor demand for personalization, it makes sense that advisers are demanding it from their providers as well. Maybe that will be enough for Taiko to cut through.
HUBLY RELEASES AUTOMATED TASK MANAGEMENT
To help financial advisers better assign and manage tasks, workflow fintech Hubly announced a new product, Service Teams, that will automatically assign tasks to team members based on role, workload and client needs. Service Teams can be synced with CRMs, and custom roles can be created to assign to team members who do specialized tasks. The software will also reroute tasks if an employee is away.
Teaming is increasingly popular at wealth management firms as advisers are asked to provide a greater number of clients with a greater variety of services beyond just investment management. Every firm wants scale, but keeping track of each individual task can get crazy. A program like this that can intelligently assign tasks makes sense and can also help hold accountable anyone who’s slacking on the job.
[More: Schwab’s Bernie Clark addresses questions, concerns about TD integration]