Jason Wenk is the founder and CEO of Altruist, the only modern custodian built exclusively for RIAs. Before Altruist, Jason spent the better part of twenty years building two multi-billion dollar RIAs. Hailing from Michigan, he now lives in Southern California (where he can run year-round).
The best chapters in the history of business are the David vs. Goliath showdowns. Innovation leads to success, success leads to inertia, inertia hinders innovation — that’s when challengers, upstarts, and disruptors step in. Mostly to get squashed, occasionally to be acquired, and every now and then, to reshape a market.
Some industries are more difficult to disrupt than others.
When the underlying technology is hard to build — for complexity, regulatory, supply chain, capital, bureaucracy, or a host of other possible reasons — new entrants face a steep uphill battle, and since the risks often outweigh the rewards, institutional giants aren’t incentivized to innovate. In financial services we see a lot of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” (Parts of Social Security, the IRS, and most of the banking system still run on COBOL, a coding language created in 1959).
This is an unfortunate reality for the customers of these institutions, who are stuck with no choice but to accommodate tech and service models that haven’t changed in decades. It can be hard to feel proud of the client experience you're delivering when you have to deal with tons of paperwork, clunky integrations, and terrible customer service.
Despite the efforts of countless fintech companies, features, and incremental improvements will always come up short.
Because these problems are structural. They have to be addressed at the level of clearing and custody.
The initial Altruist Platform helped us tackle some critical RIA pain points – we created fast, digital account opening and brought tech for account management, trading, reporting, and billing into a single, intuitive solution at an industry-low cost. The next chapter of Altruist is about bringing some long overdue disruption to the hard-to-build space occupied by custodians.
So, after years of planning and thousands of hours of building, we’re excited to announce Altruist Clearing.
Altruist Clearing is the only self-clearing custodian that's fully digital, vertically integrated, and built exclusively for RIAs.
Let’s break those down a bit further.
To deliver the speed and automation that RIAs need to scale their practices, our clearing and custody offering had to be digital-first. (Some clients will always want paper, and we’re happy to help you serve them too).
Digital infrastructure means we can further automate critical workflows like account opening and billing. It means we’ll be able to help you deliver better client outcomes with tax management, cash management, and planning insights. It allows us to bring an RIA-specific product set to market, faster—developing features that retail-focused custodians will never prioritize, like easier compliance reporting and enhanced team functionality.
A vertically integrated platform gives RIAs the ability to bring more of their business operations into one place, with less complexity and lower costs. Alongside Altruist’s core set of tools for account opening, funding, trading, reporting, and billing, we’re expanding our third-party integrations and developing an open API so that firms with the development capabilities can connect and build as they see fit.
Finally, the third core principle—my personal favorite: Altruist Clearing is built exclusively to serve RIAs. We’ll never compete for your clients, advisors on Altruist play an integral role in shaping our product roadmap, and we’ve built a service experience that gets frequent, unsolicited praise (you can see more here, here, here, and here).
Our mission at Altruist has always been to make independent financial advice better, more affordable, and accessible to everyone.
There’s a chance someone out there could misinterpret that — it’s not about pushing advisors to do pro-bono work or lowering their fees. It’s about putting the best tools into the hands of RIAs to help them run great businesses. And in doing so, creating more impactful outcomes for firms and clients.
Building the Altruist Platform was a great place to start. Altruist Clearing empowers us to provide maximum value to independent financial advisors, and in doing so, brings us closer to accomplishing our mission.
Altruist Clearing is a marketing name of Altruist Financial LLC. Altruist and our affiliates did not pay for the above-listed testimonials, but we do earn revenue from financial advisors who use our platform. These customer reviews may not represent the experience of others and aren’t a guarantee of results, but we’d love the opportunity to show you firsthand.