When Financial Technology Partners With Compliance. GeoWealth and Foreside Interview

This summer, GeoWealth, financial technology and turnkey asset management platform (TAMP), announced a strategic alliance with Foreside Financial Group (“Foreside”), a global provider of compliance technology solutions and product distribution services to the asset and wealth management industries. Through this partnership, financial advisors that are either breaking away and becoming independent, or are founding a registered investment advisory firm (“RIA”), will have access to the full, turnkey investment, technology, and compliance infrastructure they need to successfully launch their businesses. In this article, we discussed the details of the partnership with Colin Falls, President of GeoWealth, and Mark Alcaide, Senior Managing Director at Foreside.

First of all, congratulations on the successful partnership! This achievement has followed as a result of a great job. Why have Foreside and GeoWealth formed a strategic relationship?

Mark Alcaide
Mark Alcaide

MARK: Establishing a new advisory business can be overwhelming. Advisors need trusted, experienced partners to guide them and give them the tools to be successful. By forming this partnership, Foreside and GeoWealth have made the critical elements of establishing and running an RIA in a compliant manner accessible to all investment advisors.

When did you understand that your clients will benefit from the partnership? Was this a response to any event?

COLIN: From the GeoWealth perspective, it is always beneficial to have a trusted compliance referral at the ready, should one of our existing clients ask for guidance. However, we are very excited about this partnership for our new clients most specifically. For advisors looking to start a brand-new RIA, we view a coordinated offering of turnkey asset management technology, registration, and compliance as enormously beneficial. And it goes without saying that the current market environment and general uncertainty of the period has made this even more relevant.

MARK: Our clients value the role that Foreside can play in pointing them towards best-in-class providers in the Wealth Management space. Whether it’s asset management platforms, electronic communications surveillance providers, you name it, our role can be to help cut through the noise in the marketplace amongst competing offerings to help our clients move forward quickly, particularly new registrants.

How are your clients are expected to use the new capabilities?

MARK: While GeoWealth is a robust portfolio management platform from which any investment advisor would benefit, the sweet spot for GeoWealth’s capabilities is with newly formed investment advisors, as well as established advisors seeking turnkey back office solutions. We see the pace of new IAs increasing, and so this partnership is well positioned to meet that demand.

Foreside offers a broad spectrum of compliance capabilities. Is this partnership focused on one of them in particular? How can the partnership help your existing and new clients?

Calin Falls
Colin Falls

COLIN: The advisors and firms we already work with would be most interested in the compliance services Foreside provides. Foreside’s compliance consulting programs are ideal for those who are established RIAs and broker-dealers as well as those contemplating creation.  Foreside’s comprehensive and proactive compliance services are packaged in the form of PartnerPrograms, which offer tailored programs priced to suit the various client needs and provide a selection of service levels for the continuous support of the firm’s compliance needs.

How can Foreside’s clients benefit from this partnership?

COLIN: GeoWealth’s offering provides immediate scale opportunities for Foreside’s clients. Our modern, all-in-one platform is a terrific solution for advisors and firms seeking additional efficiency and those that are open to outsourcing investment management responsibilities or back and middle office functionality.

Are there any more ideas on how GeoWealth and Foreside can further the collaboration and deliver more value to its clients?

COLIN: We feel that many advisors that are trying to adopt a standardized investment management offering are doing so primarily for scale and for compliance. Since GeoWealth and Foreside can collaborate and offer both without sacrificing either, this will be a huge value to firms and their clients.

MARK: Foreside’s Consultants are responsible for learning the business of each of their clients, resulting in a truly personalized experience and customized compliance solution. One element of understanding a client’s business model is understanding the technology deployed, and making recommendations for improvements, or technological enhancements, to strengthen the tools used by the firm in meeting its compliance and recordkeeping obligations. Foreside’s strategic partnership with GeoWealth provides Foreside’s clients with access to a robust solution to help meet a firm’s regulatory requirements.

Do you have more partnerships in the pipeline for GeoWealth, for Foreside? Companies from which industries do you want to integrate with?

COLIN: When describing opportunity in the market, the elephant in the room is always “breakaway” advisors coming from wirehouses and other broker-dealers. As we all know, these advisors require a coordinated offering of services to facilitate a smooth transition to an RIA. Together, GeoWealth and Foreside fulfill unmet needs in the way of registration, compliance, operational infrastructure, and investment management technology. There are other services, however, that “breakaway” advisors could benefit from. For example, financing and lending, alternative investments, marketing, and more. Potential partnerships that complete the coordinated offering have a lot of potential.

MARK: Foreside continues to evaluate ways to provide enhanced technological solutions and strengthen the Foreside client experience. Strategic relationships, like this one, grant Foreside’s client’s access to a full suite of complimentary services, providing a wholistic solution to successfully operate a financial services firm.

About GeoWealth

GeoWealth’s cloud-based financial technology platform empowers advisors to grow faster and to serve their clients more efficiently. With over 500 advisors and more than 75,000 accounts on its platform today, GeoWealth provides advisors flexible portfolio management, performance reporting, billing and risk profiling. GeoWealth also offers a diversified lineup of turnkey model portfolios. More information is available at http://www.geowealth.com.

About Foreside

Foreside delivers comprehensive advice and best-in-class technology solutions to clients in the global asset and wealth management industries. Foreside distributes more than $1 trillion of product through their 20 limited purpose broker-dealers. For 15 years, Foreside’s suite of services and platform-based model have helped automate and simplify compliance and marketing for clients. Foreside works with pooled investment products, investment advisors, broker-dealers, global asset managers and other financial institutions.

By harnessing state-of-the-art technology, Foreside helps firms address and shape today’s regulatory environment, drive operational efficiency and growth, and focus on value-adding work. Foreside is headquartered in Portland, Maine, with numerous regional offices, including New York and Boston. For more information on Foreside’s suite of services, please visit www.foreside.com.

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