Envestnet looks outside the advice industry to fill top tech role
Envestnet went outside of the company, and the entire wealth management industry, to find a successor for its retiring chief technology officer.
The company’s new CTO is Robert Coppola, who most recently served as chief information officer of public relations software firm Cision. He replaces current Envestnet CTO Scott Grinis, who will retire in 2021 after 20 years at the company.
Coppola plans to build on what his predecessor started while consolidating Envestnet’s engineering and technology teams across the globe, according to an emailed statement to Financial Planning. Combined with a more open, flexible approach to development, Envestnet can improve customer experience and bring new products to market quicker, Coppola says.
Prior to Cision, Coppola was general manager at IT and consulting firm R&D Executive Services, where he focused on growth and M&A across a variety of industries, including financial services, according to his LinkedIn page. Coppola also spent four years as CTO and CIO at S&P Capital IQ and S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Coppola will report to Envestnet President Stuart DePina. “[Coppola’s] track record of developing and managing technologies and large engineering teams … will drive the ongoing evolution of our leading fintech platform,” DePina said in a statement.
Envestnet is one of the wealth management industry's largest technology providers and turnkey asset management platforms, serving more than 105,000 advisors at banks, broker-dealers and RIAs.
By going outside company walls, Envestnet CEO Bill Crager is sending a clear message about his vision for the firm, says Will Trout, director of wealth management at Javelin Strategy and Research.
“These [aspirations] center on growth and transcending the TAMP model which has served the firm well but is ultimately somewhat limiting in terms of the size of the RIAs and others who will use it,” Trout says in an email. “If anything, the objective here is to create a product and technology juggernaut that can more fully meet the needs of large broker-dealers, not just around investments but around retirement income and other planning-related functions.”
He points to the 2019 launch of the Envestnet Insurance Exchange and the hiring of Dani Fava as head of strategic development as additional evidence. The firm is hiring “leaders with the vision to help Envestnet compete with … Tegra 118, Charle River and other platform players,” Trout says.
In addition to Fava, Envestnet has made a number of recent additions to its leadership team. The firm appointed Jason O’Shaughnessy as Yodlee’s head of international sales, Dana D'Auria as co-chief investment officer and Donna Peeples as chief relationship officer.
When asked about the hiring activity, an Envestnet spokesperson said the firm “has spent most of the year aligning the organization to drive our strategy forward.”
“Functions are now organized across all business lines to facilitate internal and external communication and to bring to bear the full capabilities of our company,” the spokesperson said in an email.