News that Envestnet CEO Jud Bergman died in a car accident Thursday along with his wife, Mary Miller, shook the financial advice industry.
As the leader of the largest turnkey asset management platform and adviser technology provider, Mr. Bergman was not just admired and respected for his work, he was beloved for his humor, kindness and passion for history and chess.
On Friday, financial services leaders paid tribute to a man many say was a true visionary, whose innovations revolutionized the wealth management industry.
"Our community will always remember him as a warm, caring individual whose genius lives on in the company he founded and the lives he influenced," said Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein, who held a moment of silence for Mr. Bergman and Ms. Miller Friday morning at his company's Fearless Investing Summit.
"You know, I recently had the privilege of moderating an event panel that included Jud, and I'll never forget someone pulling me aside and saying, 'I'll bet you anything Jud finds a way to talk about the game of chess no matter what question you ask him," Mr. Klein recalled. "And sure enough, it wasn't more than an answer or two into the panel that he started talking about how chess strategy could teach us something about where financial services was headed."
When Mr. Bergman launched Envestnet in 1999, it was among the first web-based wealth management platforms.
When he was profiled by InvestmentNews in 2016 as one of the members of its inaugural list of industry innovators, Mr. Bergman said the concept of online software took a few years to catch on.
Today Envestnet is the market leader among turnkey asset management providers with a 36.7% market share, according to Cerulli Associates. Envestnet has 3,500 institutional clients, counts 96,000 financial advisers on its platform and serves more than $3 trillion in assets.
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"Looking back, I'm not sure there's anyone who has made quite as many chess moves in financial technology as Jud has, and each move has driven the industry forward and elevated the profession of financial advice," Mr. Klein said.
Prior to starting Envestnet, Mr. Bergman served as managing director for mutual funds at Nuveen Investments and was a member of the company's Investment Management Committee.
Mr. Bergman received a bachelor of arts in English from Wheaton College and got an MBA with a concentration in finance and accounting at Columbia University.
In 2018, Ernst & Young recognized Mr. Bergman as Entrepreneur of the Year.
Gavin Spitzner, president of Wealth Consulting Partners, worked at Envestnet following the company's acquisition of Prudential Wealth Management Solutions in 2013. He called Mr. Bergman "bold and transformational," but what Mr. Spitzner will remember most is Mr. Bergman's "gentle spirit and endless curiosity."
"As great of a leader and visionary as Jud was in our business, that all pales in comparison to the generosity of spirit he displayed and the genuine interest he took in people," Mr. Spitzner said.
Lori Hardwick, chairman of Riskalyze and CEO of Wealth Tech at RedRock Strategic Partners, was one of Envestnet's founding partners and said in blog post she is "personally devastated" by the news of Mr. Bergman's death. She will remember him "as the independent and free spirit genius who personally influenced me to achieve my true potential," she said.
"He inspired one of the most influential and successful fintech platforms to date because he wasn't afraid to imagine what could be," Ms. Hardwick said. "He will be truly missed."
Leaders from across the industry paid tribute to Bergman and his wife on social media.
Ann & I are saddened to hear of the tragic passing of our friends, Jud & Mary. Our prayers go out to their loved ones.
Drunk driving is a serious matter. No one should EVER take a gamble on their life or the lives of others by driving even after 1 drink.https://t.co/qvHV6uBUfp— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) October 4, 2019
This is one of the saddest things to happen for our industry. I love this man and admire him as a friend and aspiration. I will miss my lovely long dinners with him. A genuine renaissance man for the ages. God bless you and your amazing wife. https://t.co/svKLQHmkl8— Joe Duran (@DuranMoney) October 4, 2019
Devastating. Jud was a giant of a human, a gentleman, kind soul, and inspired the wealth management & fintech world to push the boundaries. I'm forever grateful for the personal conversations & help he gave me through the years. Such a massive loss. https://t.co/NtIo2G7Stf— Aaron Schumm (@AaronSchumm) October 4, 2019
Vestmark and CEO @john_lunny send our deepest condolences to the Bergman family and to the Envestnet community. The loss of Jud and his wife Mary is extremely tragic and heartbreaking. Jud was a wonderful leader and set a great example in our industry. @ENVintel pic.twitter.com/wcPkJwmC5n— Vestmark Inc (@Vestmark) October 4, 2019
HighTower is profoundly saddened to hear about the death of our friends Jud Bergman and Mary Miller-Bergman. We send our deepest condolences to their family and the whole Envestnet community.— HighTower (@HighTowerAdvsor) October 4, 2019
My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire @ENVintel team, the Bergman family and the loved ones of the others that passed. We lost one of the greatest minds and biggest hearts in our industry yesterday. Jud and Mary will be sorely missed.— Angela Pecoraro (@AngPecoraro) October 4, 2019
I knew Jud when he first started Envestnet in 1999, and I thought he was crazy. It turns out he was just a visionary well ahead of his time. Our profession had a major loss - my thoughts go out to his family, his partners, and his investors. https://t.co/A8hVrNHFlQ— Ron Carson (@rchusker) October 4, 2019
Jud Bergman, wife Mary Miller-Bergman die tragically in San Francisco head-on car collision, stunning a devastated #RIA business community by @RIABiz https://t.co/UUtU3Fexwu Wow, what awful news to wake up to this Friday morning! Stunned, so sorry for this!— George Papadopoulos (@feeonlyplanner) October 4, 2019
My heartfelt sympathy to the Bergman family and to the Envestnet family: Jud Bergman, wife Mary Miller-Bergman die tragically in San Francisco head-on car collision, stunning a devastated RIA business community https://t.co/6lybJ1nMyT— Joel Bruckenstein (@FinTechie) October 4, 2019
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Envestnet founder and CEO Jud Bergman and his wife Mary Miller. Our deepest condolences to the Bergman and @ENVintel families.— LPL Financial (@LPL) October 4, 2019
Jud Bergman was a titan in the financial planning community, and I am mourning the loss of both him and his wife Mary.— Ric Edelman (@ricedelman) October 4, 2019