Savant Wealth Management, a fee-only registered investment advisor, has partnered with fintech company Pontera, to allow it to access and execute trades in its clients’ held-away assets.

For 20 years, Rockford, Ill.-based Savant has included clients’ held-away assets as part of their overall portfolio. The problem was since the held-away accounts were separate, the Savant advisors could not execute trades without the client’s assistance.  

New York-based Pontera is providing a platform to allow Savant access to those accounts without having to go through the client or impersonating the client, said Kevin Hrdlicka, chief operating officer at Savant.

“We can, without ever accessing their client credentials, log in and pull in the data feed of that outside account,” he said. “Then we can, through the technology, actually make trades within it.”

Previously, at best an advisor would look at the statement and make recommendations on what the client should do to re-balance the account. However, without being able to gain entry to the account, the advisor could not verify that the client executed the changes the advisor recommended.

“[Savant] still does all the advisory work and all the wealth work,” said Dave Goldman, chief business officer of Pontera. “But instead of the manual process they were going through and doing it one at a time for each client and for each 401(k), they’re doing it through our secure portal.”

Savant’s advisors will gain greater control over their client’s assets and the ability to provide a bigger picture about where a client stands in their retirement plan. The clients will see an improvement in the efficiency of their advisor as well as more productive interactions.

“For Savant’s clients, they’re going to get a higher level of service because rather than the Savant team spending their time doing manual tasks, they’re going to have more time servicing their clients while still getting the benefits of still having these accounts professionally managed,” Goldman said.

Clients will get more out of their advisors because of the partnership, Hrdlicka explained.

“It’s more holistic financial advice for the clients,” he said. “It brings all of the accounts on one platform, and it pulls into our portfolio management and trading systems as if it’s no different than a traditional brokerage account.”

Savant manages more than $20 billion in assets under management, with about $300 million in held-away assets. 

The partnership is the latest in a series of seven acquisitions that Savant has engaged in this year. Its acquisitions have included Basil Financial Group, Paragon Financial Advisors, and Raymond F. Book's tax and RIA businesses.

As for Pontera, Goldman acknowledged that many firms, like Savant, understand the importance of held-away assets including 401(k) plans for the overall financial picture and seeking help in managing those assets. Savant is just the latest deal it has reached with other firms including OneDigital, Benjamin Edwards, Sanctuary Wealth, and Wealthspire this year to work with them on those firms’ 401(k) plan assets.

“As defined contribution accounts become a larger percentage of retirement savers’ assets, it’s important that they’re part of your overall financial picture,” Goldman said. “We’re working across the industry with firms of all shapes and sizes because it’s important that there’s a path to a better retirement for American workers and there is one way to help them get there.”