Why AssetMark Acquired Financial Planning Software Firm Voyant

Texas-based Voyant has only one client in the U.S. AssetMark plans to change that.

(Illustration by RIA Intel)

(Illustration by RIA Intel)

AssetMark, one of the largest turnkey asset management platforms, said Monday it acquired financial planning software firm Voyant, a Texas-based company with only one client in the U.S. but a growing business internationally that made it an attractive seller.

The TAMP acquired Voyant for $145 million, funded with $120 million in cash and $25 million in AssetMark stock. The transaction is expected to close in the middle of this year. Voyant will remain a separate, wholly owned subsidiary of AssetMark (ticker: AMK) but will be integrated into AssetMark’s systems and infrastructure after the close.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” Natalie Wolfsen, AssetMark’s incoming chief executive, told RIA Intel about the deal.

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Wolfsen, who was named the new CEO to replace Charles Goldman last week, said AssetMark began talks to acquire Voyant last fall for three primary reasons.

The software firm has a compound annual growth rate of more than 40% over the last four years and has scaled while doing it; its margins are expanding, Wolfsen said. It will contribute immediately to AssetMark’s earnings per share, the company said in a statement about the deal.

Shares were unchanged at $24.85 in after-hours trading.

Voyant’s financial planning software and client engagement tools pair well with AssetMark’s philosophy and how it envisions advisors will help investors in the future. Historically, financial plans are formalized with an advisor and only revisited periodically, leaving opportunities for clients to stray from the paths advisors helped them set, Wolfsen said.

Now, and increasingly in the future, tools like Voyant’s will help inform clients of changes to their daily spending that might not be aligned with their goals. In turn, advisors will have another reason to engage clients, beyond routine meetings or when a client contacts them about a major life event.

The addition of the software company will also diversify AssetMark’s revenue and geography. Unlike AssetMark, which charges advisors a percentage fee based on the assets they manage, Voyant charges flat subscription fees for its products which aren’t directly impacted by markets or interest rates.

Founded in 2006, Voyant is headquartered in Austin, Texas and some financial advisors might not be familiar with it — it only recently added its first client in the U.S. But it has operations in the U.K., Ireland, Canada and Australia and counts some of the biggest financial institutions as clients, including Toronto-Dominion Bank, Lloyd’s Bank, BMO, CIBC and others. A total of about 20,000 financial advisors use the software for account opening, collaborative financial planning, and to offer self-service solutions for their clients.

Although Voyant will remain an independent subsidiary of AssetMark, the company’s respective software services will be integrated, benefitting their products and sales. “AssetMark’s sales and marketing knowhow has the ability to help Voyant drive new client growth. Additionally, AssetMark’s strong U.S. presence, well-known brand and deep relationships provide a tailwind for Voyant’s U.S. expansion,” AssetMark said in a statement.

“We believe in AssetMark’s financial wellness vision and look forward to partnering with them to provide a broad set of value-added solutions for their clients,” David Kaufman, CEO of Voyant, said.

AssetMark had $74 billion in platform assets at the end of 2020 and has been outspoken about two types of companies it is seeking to acquire: sub-scale TAMPs and technology companies that will help it differentiate its services from other TAMPs. Most TAMPs provide, to some degree, both outsourced investment management services and technology solutions to financial advisors but not many have their own financial planning software, like Voyant. Envestnet, the largest TAMP, owns MoneyGuide whose software is one of the most popular in the U.S. for financial planning.

Wolfsen will officially take over as AssetMark’s CEO March 3. Goldman will no longer be a member of its board of directors, but he will assist in the transition and serve as a consultant to AssetMark for one year.

Michael Thrasher (@Mike_Thrasher) is a reporter at RIA Intel based in New York City.

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