WisdomTree invests $20 million in robo-adviser Vanare, now AdvisorEngine

Asset manager takes 36% stake and its ETF models will be made available through the digital platform, which has changed its name

Nov 18, 2016 @ 1:04 pm

By Liz Skinner

ETF provider WisdomTree Investments has invested $20 million in robo-adviser Vanare, giving the asset manager a 36% stake in the automated platform that some advisers use to digitize their practices.

Vanare, which also announced Friday it's changing its name to AdvisorEngine, allows advisory firms to offer their clients access to whatever investments the firms want, and will continue to be an open architecture platform, said Rich Cancro, founder and chief executive of AdvisorEngine.

However, if an adviser seeks help choosing investment options, AdvisorEngine will make WisdomTree's asset allocation models available, he said.

For its part, WisdomTree will introduce the robo-adviser technology to its clients, according to the deal announcement.

“I have never seen anything like the last 18 months, with every type of financial services firm wanting to transform their digital experience,” Mr. Cancro said. “The financial investment and strategic relationship with WisdomTree will enhance our execution and allow us to grow.”

AdvisorEngine has $1.5 billion in assets and 30 registered investment advisers as clients. Custodians TD Ameritrade and Pershing have chosen the firm as a digital offering for their adviser clients.

AdvisorEngine expects to add broker-dealer and bank-based advisory clients soon. In fact, the firm will use the $20 million in new funds to hire more sales and training staff, as well as to further develop the platform, Mr. Cancro said.

Both AdvisorEngine and WisdomTree, which has $39 billion in assets under management, are based in New York.

Other asset managers have invested in robo-advisers, most notably BlackRock's purchase of FutureAdvisor and Legg Mason's investment in FinancialGuard, both last year.

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