Let's make a collective decision to see the glass as half-full. While physical banking (7,000 US branches gone during 2012-2017) and employment in the sector (425,000 jobs lost since 2013) has been contracting, digital commerce, banking, and investment management have been growing. Even DFA is finally giving in and lowering fees on their $600 billion institutional mutual fund family. Of course, Fintech has been a slow and gradual transformation, not a rapid disruption. We can make a choice to bemoan the loss of the past, or a choice to express an excitement for the future and participate in its making. Which side are you on?
In this conversation, we chat with Jason Wenk, who is the Founder & CEO at Altruist. Apart from this Jason is a writer, self-proclaimed math geek, and investment systems developer. He began his career at Morgan Stanley in NYC at age 20, working on investment research and asset management systems development. After this Jason founded FormulaFolios: quantitative, computer-driven investment models based on academic research to help remove emotion from investing. FormulaFolios would later develop into a standalone asset manager and go on to rank as a fastest-growing private company by Inc. magazine 4 years in a row, reaching as high as #10 in 2017.
More specifically, we discuss all things wealth tech, as well as, serving people with financial planning, financial advice, and generally improving their financial health.
According to a new report by CB Insights the most recent 5 quarters show that big investments in fintech companies from banks has slowed down; banks are instead beginning to develop and update core technology in house; Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and others have all developed and released their own digital investing and advising services; service provides like Diebold are offering the banks a chance to move all infrastructure online so they can focus on customer facing tools; banks are still working through transformation as almost all have now realized if they do not upgrade legacy tech they will be left behind. Source.
Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and others have launched or will launch their own robo products to compete with slicker startups; after seeing the success of startups in the space the banks realized they needed to improve their offerings to keep customers and attract newer, younger ones; the trend to move away from white labeling technology to building their own is a recent one as some traditional players like UBS, State Street and John Hancock are still using services from SigFig, Motif or NextCapital. Source.
In this week’s PeerIQ Weekly Update the company covers the recent spate of bank earning reports, securitization news and issues another round of hiring updates; banks have seen a continued drop in fixed income and commodities trading revenue, picking up the slack has been lending and wealth management; Citigroup and Morgan Stanley had strong reports while Goldman Sachs and American Express missed the mark; SoFi is issuing a $720mn securitization deal, Moody’s rated the A classes AAA; PeerIQ also lists five new hires stemming from the $12mn round last summer. Source.
I examine the unbelievable transformation and restructuring happening in high finance. Global bank HSBC is planning to lay off over 10% of staff, looking at reductions of 35,000. E*TRADE is being acquired by Morgan Stanley, integrating its 5,000,000 accounts and $360 billion of assets into the Wall Street investment firm. Legg Mason and its $800 billion of assets are being folded into Franklin Templeton for $4.5 billion, less than what Visa had paid for fintech data aggregator Plaid and half of what Robinhood is likely valued privately. How do we make sense of these developments? How do we appeal to the heart?