Soon enough, the wealth management industry will have to contend with the widespread adoption of blockchain and artificial intelligence, says Lex Sokolin, chief operating officer of wealth management tech firm Vanare.

Sokolin hopes he can be in a position to help the industry grapple with those future challenges -- which is why he will be leaving his daily role at Vanare to take a full-time research role in London studying global financial technology.

"I've been focusing my thoughts about our industry as a whole," Sokolin says, "[to understand] what's changing at the core of the economy, where one thing disconnected from another can impact in a Butterfly effect how people buy investments and move money."

Lex Sokolin, Vanare's chief operating officer, is taking a research role in London with a focus on blockchain and artificial intelligence.
Lex Sokolin, Vanare's chief operating officer, is taking a research role in London with a focus on blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Sokolin will remain on Vanare's board of directors, involved in the firm's strategy and vision. But stepping in to help the young company scale and manage product growth is Ken Manning, an industry veteran who most recently was managing director of mobile design firm Reimagine.

Vanare in 2014 acquired NestEgg Wealth, the online wealth management platform Sokolin founded. Manning can help Vanare grow further, Sokolin says, noting that its institutional platform client prospect list doubled after it was selected to join Pershing's custody platform in May.

The firm is in a good position compared to its market competitors, Manning says, because it has been dedicated to serving institutional needs.

"Enterprise is a whole different bag of hammers, with much greater levels of complexity and product demands than what comes in dealing with consumers," Manning says. "The question whether some of these guys are up to that -- from my experience, firms that are consumer and try to pivot into the enterprise space, it usually doesn’t work out well."