When it was announced that Prumentum Group, a Silicon Valley-based firm, would join forces with St. Louis-based RIA Plancorp to launch BrightPlan, a new hybrid robo-advisor, it may have looked superficially like another effort by an advisor to upgrade its technology and keep up with the Vanguards and United Capitals of the world.

Under the surface, the deal was unusual for many reasons. One, Plancorp’s employee ownership had sold Prumentum a 40% stake in the RIA in hopes of cementing a long-term relationship. Two, Plancorp has gradually made clear plans to shift its wealth management business onto the human-artificial intelligence BrightPlan platform to create a more efficient firm capable of serving a larger segment of individuals with goals-based financial advice.

The Prumentum-Plancorp relationship, hinging on BrightPlan, could portend a new trend of synergistic mergers between tech firms and financial advisory practices. Plancorp will provide the human advisor workforce for BrightPlan and create portfolio strategies that will eventually be used on the platform.

“This was very much a deliberate strategy that my co-founder and I started executing about three years ago,” says Marthin De Beer, CEO of Prumentum. “We wanted to base BrightPlan on proven advice and a recipe that works.”

After spending years developing its software, Prumentum’s leadership started a search for a financial planning partner—a search that coincided with an attempt by Plancorp’s leadership to find planning-oriented technology that could scale and democratize their services.

For De Beer, a former Cisco executive, BrightPlan was about bringing fiduciary financial advice to a larger segment of people. Plancorp covered all the bases in Prumentum’s search: It was a long-established, planning-oriented independent advisory with a history of innovation and a future secured by a strong succession plan.

“To me, financial planning is almost like a human right,” De Beer says. “We now have two great firms now working together in this hybrid approach to bring this great tradition of financial advice to everyone.”

At its birth in 1983, Plancorp was an early independent fiduciary advice provider. The company’s founder and chairman, Jeff Buckner, envisioned the firm as a financial advocate for the wealthy and the emerging affluent. In the firm’s marketing materials, he claims to have not understood what was meant by fiduciary advice; rather, he was mimicking his family’s work ethic and business values.

Plancorp has left a trail of innovative thinking: It was an early adopter of Dimensional Fund Advisors’ factor-based products. Plancorp was also one of the first financial planning firms to test portfolios with a Monte Carlo simulation. Plancorp has also been certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) for a decade, one of the first firms to receive the certification. It also was one of the first to eschew asset-based minimums, preferring instead a minimum quarterly fee of $1,250.

First « 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 » Next