AssetMark. Get Set. Go. Taking RIAs to the next level

In 2020, assets managed by SEC-registered investment advisory (RIAs) firms increased by 13.2% to $110 trillion, while the number of advisors grew by 2.9% to 13,880, according to the July-published “Investment Adviser Industry Snapshot 2021” from the Investment Adviser Association and National Regulatory Services. The report notes that over the past seven years, the number of SEC-registered investment advisors has increased, while the number of brokerage firms has declined.

“SEC-registered investment advisers range in size from local boutiques to multinational corporations,” the Snapshot 2021 indicated.

Most investment advisors are small businesses, with 50 or fewer employees and one or two offices. For these smaller, boutique firms the focus is on client attraction, client retention, and increasing their assets under management. In short, it’s about building the business— but RIAs do not need to go it alone. Help is at hand.

Concord, California-based AssetMark is a leading provider of extensive wealth management and technology solutions that power independent financial advisors and their clients. Through AssetMark, Inc., its investment advisor subsidiary registered with the SEC, AssetMark operates a platform that comprises fully what it describes as “integrated technology, personalized and scalable service and curated investment platform solutions designed to make a difference in the lives of advisors and their clients.”

Earlier this year, AssetMark launched a holistic solution that provides RIAs with a comprehensive set of products, operational support, technology, and community resources to support their growth, efficiency, and scale in a new regulatory, competitive, and virtualized landscape.

“The growth of hybrid RIAs and independent RIAs over the last 10 years has outpaced other channels in both advisor headcount and advisor managed asset growth,” said AssetMark CEO Natalie Wolfsen. “AssetMark Institutional is designed for these growth-minded RIAs whose continued success depends on embracing the rapid change that’s impacting our industry,” she explained. “This means gaining access to the right service, resources, tools, and capabilities that allow RIAs to focus more time on serving clients and less time managing the technology, operational demands, and other critical resources they need to run their businesses.”

Said another way: AssetMark’s latest offering can allow RIAs to perform at a higher level than ever before. Launched with more than 350 RIAs and over $7 billion in assets already working with the company, AssetMark Institutional supports the daily business needs of RIAs while they build the businesses they envision for the future. The personalized service includes:

● Ready-to-use, integrated technology, including portfolio management, reporting, proposal systems, billing, and more
● Access to multi-custodians and turnkey operational support to help RIAs function more efficiently, so they can focus on serving clients and prospecting for new ones
● A curated suite of investment solutions, providing RIAs the flexibility to manage their portfolios, outsource their portfolio management, or use a combination of those
● Financial planning resources designed around clients’ total wealth management needs
● Client experience and engagement resources, including an investor portal where clients can access the latest details about their portfolios
● Access to a community of peers and events designed around the advisor’s business goals and more
● Business consulting and practice management resources to help RIAs gain efficiency, refine their strategy, and create greater value for clients

While the RIA channel continues to experience steady growth, Cerulli Associates warns in its recent U.S. RIA Marketplace 2020 report that success over the next decade will depend on how well RIAs are able to wield technology to achieve scale.

AssetMark Institutional, perhaps not coincidentally, was launched about a month after Wolfsen was named its new CEO in February 2021. In her prior role as AssetMark’s Executive Vice President and Chief Solutions Officer, Wolfsen led the company's Strategy and Solutions Group, driving the development of solutions and services for financial advisors. She has 25 years of experience in investment product management, investments, digital product development and marketing.

“We remain committed to our mission of making a difference in the lives of advisors and investors and intend to build on our stated strategy of supporting independent financial advisors, broker-dealer relationships and RIAs on our platform by delivering new, tailored solutions, technology and services to help them achieve their clients’ financial goals,” Wolfsen said.

Most recently, AssetMark launched Alternative Investments by iCapital Network®, a customized alternative investments service on the AssetMark platform. The solution provides a curated selection of fully diligenced alternative investments with low minimums and a seamless end-to-end investing experience to support independent advisors in attracting and serving high net-worth (HNW) clients.

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