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Advisor Innovations: Jason Wenk on Scaling Advisor Technology the Right Way



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Founder and CEO of Altruist, Jason Wenk, to talk about the state of advisor technology and the move toward consolidation of onboarding, custodial services, trading, account management and portfolio reporting with digital applications. Wenk explains why the current state of advisory technology needed a kick to bring it closer to what advisors, and clients, expect. He shares his journey as an advisor and an entrepreneur, why he started Altruist, how it has evolved, and where it is aiming to go in the next few years.

Jason discusses:

  • The problems with the current slate of advisor technology that Wenk set out to solve with Altruist (hint: Smooth, free-flowing integrations between separate components in a tech stack is largely a myth.)
  • Why custodial services cannot scale by charging advisors a basis point fee—and in fact why that kind of structure, advocated by some RIAs,  would hinder custodial innovation and the democratization of financial services.
  • How an ability to sustain lower margins than other custodial services in the market allows him and his team to continue innovating new features on the platform.
  • Why Altruist charges new advisors nothing until they reach 100 accounts, and how the platform is designed to help advisors scale their practice alongside the platform. 
  • How Altruist is misperceived by some as a tech platform for new advisors launching practices, when in fact it has multi-custodial capabilities and advisors at RIAs with over $10 billion serving HNW clients just as efficiently—In fact, Wenk still advises 11 HNW clients himself. 
  • Wenk’s experience starting his first RIA, and building the technology he needed when he couldn’t get it from the marketplace—and his current relationship with FormulaFolios after the merger with Brookstone Capital Management.

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About Our Guest:

Jason Wenk is a fintech executive, writer, self-proclaimed math geek, and investment systems developer. He began his career at Morgan Stanley in NYC at age 20 as one of their youngest professional employees, working on investment research and asset management systems development. Jason entered the industry with a technology background, and one of his first experiences was to watch the stock market implode following 9/11.