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Envestnet banks on subscription revenue after MoneyGuide deal

It’s not just RIAs that are keen on ramping up their subscription fees.

After cementing two blockbuster deals in the first half of the year, Envestnet is landing larger enterprise clients willing to pay for more services on an ongoing basis, CEO Jud Bergman told analysts on a second quarter earnings call. The leading turnkey asset management platform increased subscription-based revenue 33% from the year-ago period, due in part to the acquisition of Schwab’s PortfolioCenter in February and PieTech’s MoneyGuide in March.

Of the $228 million in adjusted revenue, about $11 million came from MoneyGuide and PortfolioCenter combined, said Chris Curtis, CFO of the Wealth Solutions business in an email. Overall subscription growth increased 18% if you exclude contributions from the two acquisitions.

Envestnet’s main targets are firms willing to pay at least $100,000 per year, Bergman said. Less than a decade ago, the average advisory firm paid less than $20,000 annually.

“We think that there is significant upside in the revenue-per-advisor on the subscription side,” said Bergman. “And that's the result of bringing out new products, new offerings and we expect that that's going to continue.”

Envesnet revenue IAG 030119

In fact, adjusted subscription-based revenue accounted for 57% of adjusted net revenues for the second quarter, according to Envestnet CFO Pete D’Arrigo. “We do continue to diversify the markets we are addressing and the products we're offering within that segment beyond just investment managers,” D’Arrigo said during the call.

Although terms of the PortfolioCenter deal were undisclosed, the transaction was “immaterial” to Envestnet’s overall balance sheet when it was acquired in February. The goal was to transition existing PortfolioCenter clients onto the Tamarac platform and upsell them to premium products.

However, Envestnet’s rival firms had the same idea, leading to a veritable feeding frenzy. Morningstar, Orion Advisory Services and Black Diamond all slashed prices or offered significant discounts on similar portfolio management software. In total, Black Diamond said it onboarded more than 400 firms that had previously used PortfolioCenter through the end of March.

So, how did Envestnet fair?

Envestnet  CEO Jud Bergman
"Jud had the optimism of a true entrepreneur: He believed," says former Financial Planning editor, Marion Asnes.

On the earnings call, Bergman cited 50 new long-term contracts that had been tacked on since the deal was announced in March. “Annual subscription revenue will increase meaningfully for these firms once they fully leverage Tamarac's platform offerings,” he said.

Subscription-based revenue is expected to climb to $101 million on an adjusted basis next quarter, up approximately 34% compared to the prior year period, D’Arrigo said.

The other blockbuster deal, a $500 million play for MoneyGuide, combined the largest financial planning tool provider by market share with the leading TAMP by assets. Experts predicted the deal had the potential to form a new giant in the marketplace. MoneyGuide’s software suite — including MoneyGuideOne, MoneyGuidePro and MoneyGuideElite — gives Envestnet access to more than 150 wealth management data and technology providers and tens of thousands of financial advisors already using the tools.

Nearly two million financial plans had been created using MoneyGuide solutions in the 12-month period ending in March, according to the company. Envestnet also signed its first international client from MoneyGuide.

The Chicago-based TAMP has $3.3 trillion in platform assets and 11.5 million investor accounts, according to Bergman. Nearly 100,000 advisors now use Envestnet's wealth management technology. Envestnet Yodlee's data aggregation platform has more than 24 million active users.

However, Envestnet will have to contend with headwinds, Bergman said. An ongoing dispute with a technology provider has caused some loss of revenue for Envestnet | Yodlee after the vendor pulled its technology from the Envestnet platform. The data analytics startup FinApps filed a lawsuit in August claiming Envestnet stole trade secrets including its proprietary technology. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company hired Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, to litigate the case.

Bergman expects the dispute to negatively impact revenues through the end of 2019.

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