CircleBlack’s founder and CEO John Michel passed away in July of last year, but nearly six months into the tenure of new CEO Alex Sauickie, Michel's vision of wealth management software that could connect everyone with investments and money in the way of their choosing lives on.

Kingston, N.J.-based CircleBlack has thrived with Sauickie in the CEO role in part because he has enthusiastically embraced Michel’s passion for developing a cloud-based platform that allows advisors and clients to take their financial information anywhere and that plays well with all of the other technology advisors want to use in their day-to-day business.

CircleBlack is a software-as-a-service wealth management platform enabling a complete overview of an advisor’s or firm’s book of business and investor portfolios, aggregating data feeds from custodians, direct holdings and held-away accounts. It also offers advisors the ability to generate performance reports, as well as basic billing, access to clients’ 401(k) investment choices, portfolio rebalancing and a model marketplace.

Immediately upon becoming CEO in September, Sauickie had to deploy funding from private equity firm Long Arc Capital, which acquired a majority interest in CircleBlack in June of 2020.

“That really has allowed the company to invest and expand in a way that it couldn’t do for its first seven years,” said Sauickie. “We’ve been spending our time on adding to the product and really focusing on expanding the breadth of data available.”

He said CircleBlack has also been hard at work adding new third-party integrations to maintain its founder’s vision as a unifying technology for financial advisors and their firms.

Sauickie says he’s also taken on Michel’s role as chief evangelist for the platform by trying to make connections with new and potential clients.

“He was a visionary and was thinking years ahead of where the industry’s technology was,” said Sauickie about Michel. “I think CircleBlack has kind of made its own category. Though we’re usually compared to a typical all-in-one solution, the difference between us and the typical all-in-one is that we’re a unifying best-in-breed solution. We aren’t just a one-stop shop where advisors take what we have, and we’re not trying to be.”

While a lot of fintech companies have been adding to their platforms through mergers and acquisitions to create a platform that does everything, CircleBlack dedicated itself to pursuing integrations with third-party fintechs at an early stage.

For example, Sauickie points out that rather than settling on a single CRM system, advisors are using Salesforce, Redtail and Wealthbox. Rather than make an acquisition or partner with one of those providers, CircleBlack has chosen to integrate with all three.

In addition to a recent integration with Wealthbox, CircleBlack has added Riskalyze and risk tolerance software developer Totum Risk. And it has two more risk-management providers in its integration pipeline. It is also adding account-opening platforms.

“We want to give advisors multiple opportunities to choose which technology works best for their firm,” Sauickie said. “From our perspective, we’re indifferent. We’re very much the Roku of wealth management platforms.”

He’s referring to the video streaming service Roku, a “connective tissue that brings together all of the different streaming channels,” said Sauickie.

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