Chatham-Based Invessence Making a Splash on the International Stage
October, 3 2018 | Prashant Mehta
By ESTHER SURDEN, Oct. 2, 2018, 10 p.m.
When NJTechWeekly.com recently spoke with Michael Frank, COO of Chatham-based startup Invessence, he was bullish on the companyâ€™s progress.
The company sells white-label versions of its custom robo investment adviser to banks, brokers, asset managers and financial institutions worldwide, and the technology is gaining traction.
â€œWe are one of the only digital wealth management technology providers with clients in the U.S. and Asia,â€ Frank told us.
The company had just finished helping UOB Kay Hian (Singapore) introduce its new robo site, UTRADE Robo, based on Invessence technologies, to over 1,600 sales reps. UOB Kay Hian is a subsidiary of the Singapore-based United Overseas Bank (UOB), a global investment bank with a market cap of $37 billion and net income of over $2 billion.
According to Frank, the site is now open for sales reps to start client trials, and already has close to 1,000 registered accounts. UTRADE Robo lets clients create a global portfolio using the Invessence optimizer. A client can build a goal-based portfolio strategy in accordance with their risk profile, open an account electronically, have it funded, and have automated re-balancing. All the back-office functions are also automated. UTRADE Robo also lets clients invest in multiple currencies.
â€œThey are in 18 different countries in Asia,â€ and the company plans to roll it out throughout Asia, he said.
More locally, he added, Invessence built a platform for 200Deep, a white-label site of Bell Rock Capital, which is a registered investment adviser (RIA) firm based in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. 200Deep is a hybrid digital advisory solution that provides both online and traditional in-person investment services to partner banks looking to expand their product offering into wealth management.
Leveraging the investment expertise of Bell Rock Capital and Invessenceâ€™s core technology, the service provides a white-labeled solution that enables banks to offer online investment management and comprehensive in-person advisory services to clients of all asset sizes. The platform will automate account opening, funding and re-balancing and back-office processes, utilizing multiple model portfolios with a tiered pricing structure.
Bell Rockâ€™s targeting of banks makes sense because people are tired of earning less than 1 percent on their deposits, and are transferring their assets out of banks and into the market. So, â€œfor banks, itâ€™s a no brainer,â€ Frank said. â€œAll of a sudden, you are in the asset allocation business. You have your own digital adviser platform.â€
Discussing the future of Invessence, Frank noted that â€œthere are a lot of insurance companies, ETF [exchange-traded fund] providers, banks and other financial service providers who are or will be looking to get into this business,â€ and there are also plenty of strategic investors who might be in the market to buy, pair up with or partner with a white-label digital platform startup like Invessence.
Frank says that Invessenceâ€™s secret sauce is how easily the platform can be customized to fit the needs of its customers. The company has taken business away from robo advisor competitors who canâ€™t meet their customersâ€™ specific needs, he noted.