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Merrill upgrades reporting for its wealthiest clients

Merrill Lynch is upgrading services for its wealthiest clients by becoming the first wirehouse to adopt the leading turn-key asset management platform’s RIA tools.

Merrill Private Wealth Management, the wirehouse’s division focusing on clients with a higher net worth, is partnering with Envestnet to supply the firm’s Tamarac platform to more than 200 advisory teams. The RIA-focused technology specializes in portfolio management, reporting, trading, rebalancing and client portal solutions.

The bank hopes to reach ultrahigh-net-worth clients who have complex investing needs, says Don Plaus, head of Merrill Private Wealth Management.

Tamarac is also a good fit for clients who hold assets with multiple custodians. “This would allow them to have a holistic view,” Plaus says.

The leading TAMP by assets, Envestnet, reaches almost 100,000 advisors at more than 3,800 of the largest banks and brokerage firms. The fintech company's market capitalization is over $3.5 billion.

“We’ve had the opportunity to plan ahead to bring on new clients,” Andina Anderson, executive managing director of Tamarac. Envestnet started out providing products to small RIA firms and this partnership is an exciting step for the company, she says.

Tamarac will slowly roll out to 200 Merrill teams over the next year, Anderson says.

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Envestnet has been recently trying to cater to more UHNW clients and partnered with former eMoney CEO Edmond Walters to create Appraise Labs, a software startup tackling estate planning. The new advisor technology caters to clients with at least $25 million in investable assets.

A key part of Tamarac is the ability to create a private wealth report with information on asset performance, regardless of the custodian. Advisors also have the ability to customize the reports for clients, including information about how the markets impact returns, and will be branded with Merrill Lynch’s name.

Merrill decided to add Tamarac after advisors asked for improved software, according to Plaus. “They wanted access to sophisticated reporting,” he says. Previously, advisor teams were using Merril’s in-house account aggregator, My Financial Picture.

The new features come at no cost to the client.

This is one of the recent technology upgrades made by the wirehouse. Earlier this month, Merrill added human advisors to their robo service, creating a hybrid option for investors. Bank of America, which bought Merrill in 2008, expects to spend 10% more on technology in 2019, according to this year’s first quarter earnings report.

Bank of America has over 19,500 advisors and manages over $2.8 trillion in client assets, according to the firm. It has a market capitalization over $267 billion.

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