Pursuing employer retirement plan assets paid off handsomely for Financial Engines.

Now Silicon Valley-based hybrid advisor Personal Capital is taking the same route, announcing a partnership with benefits firm Alight Solutions and asset manager AllianceBernstein.

Employee plan participants will have the opportunity to use Personal Capital’s tech platform to plan for retirement while factoring in other financial inputs, such as outside investment accounts and daily budgets goals, says Personal Capital CEO Jay Shah.

The tech firm’s digital tools will be bundled with customized retirement portfolios built by AllianceBernstein, and it will be offered to companies serviced by Alight, which has 1,400 clients, almost half of them in the Fortune 500.

"The hybrid model is what we deemed to be the winning model from day one," says Personal Capital CEO Jay Shah.
Personal Capital CEO Jay Shah


The new offering will be called WealthSpark, but will be a co-branded product that will explicitly state it is “powered by Personal Capital,” says Shah. The firms declined to discuss pricing for the offering.

WealthSpark’s capability will be similar to Personal Capital’s free personal finance tools. An employee will be able to keep track of their retirement funds and of their spending, and build a goals-based retirement plan.

Any assets under management at WealthSpark will not be reported as part of Personal Capital’s AUM, which currently stands at over $6.5 billion. Back in August, the firm reported $4.9 billion in AUM.

“What we gain through Alight and WealthSpark is the opportunity to span over 1,000 (plan) sponsors, and they are deployed across half of the Fortune 500, in terms of companies that are supported through these plan sponsorships and all the participants they support through these retirement plans,” says Shah.

Shah, who has been at the helm for just one year, has overseen a growth spurt that saw Personal Capital take $40 million from IGM Financial, part of Power Corporation of Canada based in Montreal, last August. The funding was an extension of IGM’s commitment of $75 million to Personal Capital in May 2016 as part of a Series E fundraising round.

In a competitive market that saw a deal to merge 401(k) digital advice platform Financial Engines with Edelman Financial Services on Monday, Shah acknowledges the need for independent digital advice platforms to continually broaden their offerings.

“The key impact of this partnership for Personal Capital will be increasing the number of Americans with access to our financial tools beyond the 1.6 million we serve today,” he says.

Sharon Adarlo

Sharon Adarlo is a Financial Planning contributing writer in Newark, New Jersey. She has also written for The Wall Street Journal and about science and engineering for Princeton University. Follow her on Twitter at @sharonadarlo1.