Goldman Sachs Tightens Grip on ‘Jewel’ of United Capital

Rachel Schnoll, the head of Retail Product Strategy for GSAM, was named head of the RIA’s FinLife product and “everything is on the table.”

(Bigstock photo)

(Bigstock photo)

Six months after its stunning $750 million purchase of United Capital, Goldman Sachs is making changes at the RIA as it begins to execute on its vision.

On Tuesday, it assigned a managing director and 20-year employee from its asset management business to grow FinLife CX, United Capital’s collection of tools used by its advisors and other RIAs.

Rachel Schnoll, a managing director and the head of Retail Product Strategy for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, was appointed head of FinLife CX, which she called “the jewel within United Capital.” Her position is a new one and she will work collaboratively with existing employees focused on its development, including Mike Capelle, United Capital’s chief platform officer. She will remain in New York City and travel periodically to United Capital’s Newport Beach, Calif. headquarters.

“I’m greatly honored to be given this role. I love the platform and I love what it does for advisors. I think we can make it even better,” Schnoll told RIA Intel.

Her explicit task is to grow FinLife’s suite of tools used by both United Capital’s advisors and other RIAs and some changes have already been made. There have been about 50 FinLife partnerships with RIAs. But to improve the platform, that number will need to grow, generating more revenue to invest back into the platform, Schnoll said.

The first order was to simplify its pricing in hopes of drawing more users. Previously, RIAs that used FinLife CX were charged a fee per advisor and a fee per client household on the platform.

Now the service starts at $12,500 per advisor (for a minimum of four advisors at an RIA) and includes discounts as the number of advisors increases. The household fees have been eliminated and should save advisors money. For example, the new pricing structure will cost a group of four advisors working with 200 households half as much to use FinLife. There is no limit on the number of households an advisor can add to the platform, Schnoll said.

Other changes are coming. Capelle and his expanded team of 200 software developers since the acquisition will be working on FinLife.

United Capital debuted Tuesday what it calls MarketPlace, a curated offering of products and services beyond traditional portfolio management and financial planning. MarketPlace already includes GS Select, Goldman Sachs’ digital securities-based line of credit business, and will likely include insurance and “maybe wellness” in the future, according to Schnoll. In the long-term, FinLife will integrate with retail banking and a robo advisor by Goldman Sachs, which are also new ventures for one of Wall Street’s most recognizable investment banks.

Goldman Sachs is also on a mission to improve the availability of its investments to United Capital’s advisors. The more accessible products, tools and resources are across the bank, the better. “Everything is on the table, and certainly on an investment product side,” Schnoll said.

FinLife will slowly become available to advisors within the bank’s Private Wealth Management division later this year and in early 2020.

“One of the things that I’ve learned about RIAs is that they like choice,” Schnoll said, adding that advisors at United Capital appreciate her respect for that and have embraced the acquisition of the RIA.

“So far, it’s a big success. It’s a great cultural fit between United Capital and Goldman Sachs.”

Schnoll served as head of Retail Product Strategy for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where she led a team responsible for the development and ongoing product strategy of mutual funds, collective trusts, and closed-end funds. Ms. Schnoll joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 and was named a managing director in 2013.

Earlier this year, Schnoll was among defendants in a high-profile lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs. In the complaint, a former vice president alleged he was fired after he complained to the bank’s employee relations team that he was being discriminated against for being openly gay.

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