Veteran Goldman Sachs executive to head United Capital FinLife tech

Goldman plans to grow the business of licensing technology to independent RIAs

Nov 5, 2019 @ 12:01 am

By Ryan W. Neal

Goldman Sachs is officially an adviser technology vendor.

The bank announced at Schwab Impact that it has named Rachel Schnoll, a 20-year Goldman veteran who most recently served as head of retail product strategy for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, as the new leader of FinLife CX, a white-labeled version of the client engagement technology developed by United Capital and licensed out to independent registered investment advisers.

Following Goldman's acquisition of United Capital in May for $750 million, many wondered what it would mean for the FinLife Partners program. Some speculated Goldman would eliminate third-party partnerships and make the technology proprietary, or sell it, or spin it off into an independent company.

[Recommended Video: Amy Webber on Goldman Sachs United Capital deal and RIA valuations]

Instead, Goldman intends to put resources behind developing the technology and attracting more RIAs, Ms. Schnoll said.

"Technology is at the heart of everything we do, and more and more at the heart of what advisers do," she told InvestmentNews.

About 50 firms currently use the FinLife technology, firms ranging in size from $100 million in assets under management to those with several billion dollars in AUM, but Goldman sees an opportunity to grow by making it easier for firms to access the platform and use it across their businesses.

To that end, Ms. Schnoll is implementing a new pricing structure that eliminates household fees. Now firms will play a flat fee of $12,500 per adviser. Other than pricing, there will be no service changes for existing FinLife CX customers, she said.

[More: Why we sold to Goldman Sachs]

While Goldman makes investment strategies and services from its private bank, GS Select, available to independent advisers, licensing out a technology platform is a new role for the company.

"We're excited about that. It's something we think is important and we did not have," said Ms. Schnoll, who will work with Mike Capelle, United Capital's chief platform officer, and his team of 200 developers.

[More: United Capital letting more advisers use this part of its technology tools]

Beyond the pricing structure, United Capital unveiled numerous enhancements to its client portal and client engagement tools, as well as new integrations with client relationship management (CRM) and financial planning tools.

United Capital also launched a new digital marketplace for advisers to access products and services beyond traditional portfolio management, such as securities-based lending through GS Select.

"This is just the start of the value and capabilities we will add to our offering by leveraging the scale and resources of Goldman Sachs," said United Capital CEO Joe Duran in a statement.

While the firm plans to make more Goldman products and services available on FinLife, Ms. Schnoll said it will remain open architecture.

"Choice is paramount to RIAs," she said. "Whether its your tech stack or your investments, we will always continue to offer that choice."

Register today for the InvestmentNews Future of Financial Advice event on Nov. 20.

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