In this interview with WealthTech Club, d1g1t’s CEO Dr. Dan Rosen unveils the history of the company, its current focus, and discussed various industry trends.
The d1g1t wealth management platform provides transparent portfolio management services to professional advisers and their individual investors. Designed and supported by the strongest financial engineering team in the industry, the platform is powered by advanced analytics and risk management tools only used by the most advanced hedge funds, institutional investor and traders in Wall Street and around the world.
An Internationally recognized Quant and Fintech entrepreneur, Dan Rosen, CEO and co-founder of d1g1t, is also an Adjunct Professor of Mathematical Finance at the University of Toronto, and was the first Director of the Center for Financial Institutions at the Fields Institute. He has worked with numerous financial institutions around the world, lectures extensively on risk and portfolio management, financial engineering, and Fintech innovation, and has authored numerous research publications and several patents. In 2010, he was inducted a Fellow of the Fields Institute for his “outstanding contributions to the Fields Institute, its programs, and to the Canadian mathematical community”. Dan was the co-founder and CEO of R² Financial Technologies, acquired by S&P Capital IQ in 2012. Prior to this, he was part of the executive team at Algorithmics (acquired by IBM), where he had a successful career over a decade.
In this interview, Dr. Rosen unveils the history of the company, its current focus, and industry trends.
What was the history of d1g1t’s creation? Why did the company decide to focus on wealth management?
Dr. Dan Rosen: I’ve worked with the firm’s two co-founders for over 20 years in various roles. We are all veteran entrepreneurs with a passion for building innovative, forward-thinking companies that can help others.
We targeted wealth management because we felt the existing tech offerings were lacking. Too often, firms must contend with siloed, outdated and costly to maintain systems, especially compared to other segments of financial services – including banks, pension funds and institutional asset managers – which have traditionally enjoyed much better technology support.
We truly believe we have created the first enterprise wealth management platform that includes advanced analytics and risk management tools that are on par with those used by the top global banks, trading desks, private equity firms and hedge funds.
How has your company evolved, and what are the biggest achievements that you have already accomplished?
Dr. Dan Rosen: In 2016, we started with a handful of early adopter clients, focusing primarily on independent firms that work with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients. Those relationships helped drive the product’s vision and define the specific usability, functional and technical requirements.
The strong word of mouth from those early adopter clients led to rapid growth in the Canadian market. Over 2018 and 2019, we tripled our client base. From there, our offering began attracting strong interest from “aggregator” firms, which soon became a significant channel for growth.
In late 2019, d1g1t signed its first U.S. client. That deal was the impetus for many more in 2020, despite the pandemic hampering marketing efforts. Over the last 12 months, we have doubled our revenues and increase headcount by over 50%.
We now have over 60 employees and support relationships with some of the top wealth management firms, multi-family offices, RIAs and broker-dealers in North America that focus on serving high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth investors.
What features give your platform the greatest advantage over competitors? Why?
Dr. Dan Rosen: It’s not really any one feature that sets us apart. It’s the whole platform. From the beginning, we knew we needed to offer more than just a reporting solution.
That’s why we focused on creating an end-to-end solution, supported by advanced analytics, that empowers advisory firms to scale up the high-value human services that will set them apart in an increasingly automated and digital world.
What partnerships and integrations does your company have? What are the planned partnerships for the nearest future that you can already share in public?
Dr. Dan Rosen: We recently partnered with Conquest Planning to deliver an integrated solution that combines our wealth management platform with its financial planning application. The solution will allow advisors to address all their needs in one place, rather than toggling back and forth between competing systems.
This came on the heels of an agreement earlier this year with Private Client Resources to integrate its digital consent technology, global feeds and alternative investment data capabilities into the d1g1t platform. This is important because it lets advisors and firms normalize client data from multiple sources, including custodians, broker-dealers, funds and off-book assets in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Soon, we expect to announce a market data provider partnership.
What is your team? Who are the key personas for your product, and how do they affect the business?
Dr. Dan Rosen: Everyone in our organization is crucial, but our three co-founders are me, Benoit Fleury and Philippe Rouanet.
One thing that sets our platform apart is that everyone within a wealth management firm – from C-suite executives to risk managers to compliance professionals to advisors – uses it. This not only yields sophisticated data insights that enable each professional to perform at the highest possible level but it helps firms provide a first-rate client service experience.
What is your engineering team? What technologies do they use, and how do they accomplish their daily activities? What’s your software development process?
Dr. Dan Rosen: We have about 25 professionals on our software engineering team, most of whom have advanced post-secondary degrees in quantitative finance or computer science.
The platform was built from scratch, leveraging the latest cloud-based technologies. While it is a software-as-a-service offering, it is delivered via a dedicated environment for each client, with data management maintained by the d1g1t support team
We develop software using an Agile approach, with a seamless migration of clients to new versions. With a few exceptions, new functionalities are provided at no additional cost
Ultimately, there is one single software platform configured uniquely for each client’s business. It provides an intuitive, business oriented workflow and is not a “cobbling” together of separate modules.
Do you exchange knowledge and experiences within your team? Is it necessary for engineers to understand finance to build a successful product?
Dr. Dan Rosen: Virtually every day. Our engineers are highly experienced, having worked on teams that have developed enterprise risk and portfolio management systems for banks, asset managers, hedge funds and regulators worldwide.
In our view, yes. This is a critical differentiator because the team truly understands the business needs of investment professionals and has an in-depth understanding of financial analytics.
In what way do you gain insights from your clients to help you enhance the service? What features did you implement after clients’ requests, if any?
Dr. Dan Rosen: Many of the version changes we make are driven by client requirements and joint prototyping. One of our core philosophies is that all benefit from the expertise and the needs of others.
What are the challenges d1g1t faces the most? What future steps are you going to undertake to overcome them?
Dr. Dan Rosen: Our biggest challenge moving forward could be effectively managing growth. We expect our business to expand rapidly in the coming months as new markets begin to adopt our platform, so in scaling up are business we must be smart about how we invest in leadership, people, infrastructure and processes.
Are there any trends you can see in Fintech? Are there any trends in 2021 that nobody speaks about?
Dr. Dan Rosen: There’s been talk for years that financial advisors will eventually become antiquated. d1g1t, however, passionately believes that financial advisors continue to be irreplaceable, especially for high-net-worth and ultra-high net worth individuals and families. Still, technology is vitally important, empowering advisory firms to scale up the high-value human services that will set them apart in an increasingly automated and digital world. Without quality tech tools and solutions, firms will lose advisors and clients to competitors with better offerings.
For the original article in WealthTech Club: https://wealth.insart.com/d1g1t-financial-advisors-continue-to-be-irreplaceable/