Investment Product and Service Launches

Morgan Stanley at Work unveils participant aggregation platform; Broadridge launches next-gen client communications experience; GMO launches asset management platform for RIAs; and more.

By DJ Shaw

Broadridge Launches Next-Gen Client Communications Experience

Fintech firm Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. has launched Wealth InFocus, a new “wealth communications experience” designed on a foundation of investor research.

Cetera Financial Group is the first user of the new solution.

“Wealth InFocus is a cutting-edge communications experience that is already improving client engagement, enhancing investor connections with advisers and driving digital transformation, which makes Cetera even more unique in a crowded, legacy landscape,” said Tom Gooley, chief operating officer of Cetera.

Wealth InFocus is designed to take an investor-centric approach by consolidating, aggregating and presenting the most important information across various account and regulatory communications, including statements, confirms, proxies and prospectuses. Replacing traditional static communications, Wealth InFocus creates a new holistic experience, making it easier for investors to consume and better understand account details while providing advisers with new opportunities to reinforce their value and communicate directly with their clients.

Morgan Stanley at Work Unveils Participant Aggregation Platform

Morgan Stanley at Work has announced the rollout of its new Corporate Retirement Portal, an innovative technology solution designed to provide Morgan Stanley Wealth Management plan advisers with a consolidated view of workplace retirement plans and participant data via the firm’s modern wealth platform, WealthDesk.

Plan advisers have historically used third-party tools and resources to manage their clients’ retirement plan assets held away at recordkeepers. The new Corporate Retirement Portal allows them to have access to a comprehensive view of their clients’ retirement plan accounts, inclusive of the services provided to held-away retirement plans and plan sponsors. Plan advisers can now work seamlessly with plan sponsors and provide participants targeted financial education through Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s Next Best Action, an engagement tool that powers scalable customized content delivery.

“In today’s economic environment, punctuated by rising inflation and market volatility, plan sponsors and participants alike are looking for a helping hand in maximizing retirement benefits,” says Brian McDonald, managing director and head of Morgan Stanley at Work. “The Corporate Retirement Portal allows plan advisers to deliver personalized financial education and content to help participants navigate the complexities of retirement planning and savings.”

In compliance with the recent Department of Labor cybersecurity guidance for plan sponsors, service providers and plan participants, the Corporate Retirement Portal ensures the firm’s clients’ data is transferred in a secured fashion, and the right safeguards are in place to protect their information. This includes encryption of sensitive data, including client data, plus annual cybersecurity training and awareness for all employees with access to the firm’s systems.

The launch of the Corporate Retirement Portal comes on the heels of Morgan Stanley’s recent acquisition of nonqualified deferred compensation provider American Financial Systems in June and strategic alliances with recordkeepers Vestwell and Empower Retirement in June and August 2021, respectively. In addition, the firm announced three strategic product enhancements to its stock plan platforms Equity Edge Online and Shareworks to deliver time and cost savings to stock plan administrators and participants.

Broadridge Launches Multi-Jurisdictional Private Equity Platform

With the aim of leveraging blockchain technology to alleviate the complexities faced by asset managers with funds in multiple geographies, Broadridge Financial Solutions has released a multi-jurisdictional version of its private equity platform, Private Market Hub, now available to funds domiciled in North America.

Broadridge’s new capabilities allow all stakeholders in a fund’s lifecycle to participate around a common set of data and workflows via a unified user interface, irrespective of the fund’s jurisdiction. Northern Trust, the cornerstone client, has gone live with the first group of North American clients.

Private Market Hub automates and unifies workflows between front-, middle- and back-office functions while simultaneously protecting the integrity and sovereignty of data. It brings together ecosystem participants around a consistent, secure, real-time view of data—reducing friction for fund managers, investors and administrators and enabling easier auditability.

The platform is enabled by distributed ledger technology, which streamlines traditionally disconnected and inefficient processes and facilitates greater visibility across the ecosystem.

GMO Launches Asset Management Platform for RIAs

Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. LLC, a global investment manager, has announced the launch of Nebo, or Needs-Based Optimization. Nebo is a new, technology-driven asset allocation and portfolio management platform for registered investment advisers that streamlines and automates the process for delivering custom and personalized portfolios to their clients.

Nebo’s approach is built on the idea that the main investment risk to clients is not short-term market volatility, but rather not having the financial resources to meet the moment, both in the short and long term.

At the heart of the Nebo framework is a proprietary multi-period shortfall optimizer that constructs portfolios which minimize this critical risk. In doing so, advisers are able to directly align the client’s financial plan with their portfolio, resulting in portfolios that are better customized to the needs and circumstances of each client, all delivered through an open-architecture platform. With Nebo, advisers will be able to scale their financial planning and investment operations by having a comprehensive digital platform that can serve as the system of record for their portfolio construction and management activities.

“Nebo allows advisers to maintain their investment philosophy while adding intellectual rigor to the choices they make for their clients and the testing they can do to be confident that those choices best serve their clients’ needs,” says Martin Tarlie, member of GMO’s asset allocation team and Nebo product lead.

Nebo is born of nearly a decade of GMO research focused on solving for optimal portfolio construction that seeks to minimize shortfall risk, further enhanced by a three-year process of user-led development with a cohort of early adopters.