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Deals Of The Day: The Latest In Wealth Management M&A – Orion, Redtail Technology, IQ-EQ

Editorial Staff April 21, 2022

Deals Of The Day: The Latest In Wealth Management M&A – Orion, Redtail Technology, IQ-EQ

The latest mergers, acquisitions and corporate actions in and around the North American wealth management industry.

(Updates with comment on the Orion/Redtail deal.)

Orion Advisor Solutions, Redtail
US wealthtech firm Orion Advisor Solutions has agreed to buy Redtail Technology, a web-based client relationship management software firm serving the wealth management industry. 

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022 when customary closing conditions, including regulatory clearances, are complete. After the deal is closed, the firms’ offerings are expected to come to market “quickly” as APIs [application programming interfaces] and integrations are already in place, the businesses said in a statement. 

“As open architecture platforms, Orion and Redtail will continue to support their existing technology integrations for clients,” the firms said.

When the transaction closes Redtail co-founder and chief executive Brian McLaughlin will become Orion’s president of CRM reporting to Orion CEO Eric Clarke. At that time, McLaughlin will join Orion’s executive team and its board of directors. In addition to McLaughlin, Redtail’s executive leadership team and employees will continue working from their existing locations as part of Redtail, which will become a brand entity of Orion.

“This acquisition presents a game-changing opportunity for growth-focused independent advisors, as it will make our robust tech stack ecosystem even more valuable. Redtail has long been a valued technology integration partner to Orion, and we share a core value of being committed to serving independent advisors,” Clarke said. “The addition of Redtail to Orion will further enhance our user experience. By embedding Redtail’s highly regarded, next-generation CRM software with our portfolio accounting and advisor technology, we will connect the advisor-client journey with a highly integrated, most-in-one technology suite.”

McLaughlin said: “We created Redtail nearly two decades ago to enable independent advisors to provide differentiated client experiences and better manage their client base through systematized and, therefore, repeatable processes. Our aim has always been to free advisors up to spend more time engaging with their clients and prospects in meaningful ways.”

"In general, we like the merger. The clients ‘fit’ and Orion is getting a long-overdue piece of their puzzle filled. It won’t help those already on Saleforce/Wealthbox/Dynamics but Redtail has a long-standing client base and this might keep more of them on the platform," Doug Fritz, founder of F2 Strategy, told this publication. "My biggest concern here is ‘what’s next’ for functionality, integration and making the lives of advisors easier to grow and manage their books."

Fritz said he regards the deal as a response to firms such as Salesforce growing fast. "Redtail is well-integrated but [has] fairly basic CRM functionality," Fritz continued. 

Redtail is the lowest cost CRM provider in wealth, he said. As for Orion, it is making "another play in becoming the `App Store'. A CRM was the missing piece, he said, and the transaction is about "making the one-stop shop play". "Redtail seems to be a ‘fit’ for Orions smaller rep and RIA shops. They will likely have a large percentage of mutual clients and this should be seen by the industry as a plus for those firms," Fritz added.

Investor services group IQ-EQ has rebranded its US-based firms after a raft of acquisitions in recent months. The firms that will now take the IQ-EQ name are Blue River Partners, Constellation Advisers, Concord Trust Company, and Greyline Partners.

IQ-EQ now offers services including fund administration, middle office and trade support, outsourced chief financial office, accounting and chief operating office work, regulatory compliance, cybersecurity, IT solutions, open architecture independent trustee services and tax consulting, and compliance.

“We are a significant force in the industry and stronger now as one business than we have ever been before, better able to serve the US market, as well as global clients, with our signature, high-touch service. We have significant market ambition in the US and look forward to exciting times ahead for our 550+ team,” Mark Fordyce, IQ-EQ’s regional chief executive, the Americas, said.

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