My guest today is Jason Wenk. Jason is a fintech executive, writer, self-proclaimed math geek, and investment systems developer. He has been working within the financial advise world for over 19 years and has witnessed how underserved the everyday investor is again and again. This motivated Jason to create several successful companies that provide an avenue “to do more good in the world.” Most recently, he founded Altruist to build a fully-digital brokerage platform with commission-free trading. “Altruist is on a mission to make investing fair for everyone, allowing real people to earn more while paying less.”
In this conversation, we do things a little differently than our past episodes and Jason shares with us the story of who he is and how he has built several successful companies, all while flying under the radar in the finance network. We discuss how the old way of doing business is coming to an end, and that Jason can see a potential for millions of people in need of advice gaining access to quality client care, while keeping it reasonably priced. We talk about the current systems being non accessible to the blue collar worker, and Jason asks the question, “Are you wanting to help people or are you wanting to only help RICH people?”
Don’t miss one of our favorite moments, when Jason shares the impact fair investment practices for everyone could have in the lives of families and the advisors who are serving them. Jason mentions that all that he has created has been due to observing a pain point he wanted to fix. He encourages that if you see something you don’t like or something that isn’t working that you would make a plan to fix it, change your direction. As you think about this conversation, what comes to your mind as pain points or areas of dislike in your current work? How can you make a shift to change for better outcomes that are good for others and make you feel proud?
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Connect with Jason
Jason Wenk: 00:00:05 You know, when we think about like why we do what we do, most of us say, well I want to help people. Well, you wouldn't want to help people or just want to help rich people. You know, I mean, that's kind of what's happening is the RAA is just have people going up, market up, market, not market. Um, and you know, now it's the point where like, there's big cheerleaders for this idea that, you know, financial advisors, so just abandoned her entire business model and the scope, you know, retainer fee or bill on networks or incomes and you know, which all lovely theories, right? But, you know, why are we having to make all of those decisions? And a lot of it's because, you know, our businesses are incredibly inefficient.
Patrick Brewer: 00:00:53 Hey everyone. Welcome to the model FAA podcast. Today's guest is Jason Wenk. Jason's a prolific entrepreneur. He's the founder of multiple companies and his most recent, technology venture is called altruist, which we're going to learn a lot more about today. But I'm just super excited to have Jason on the show. He's someone that I've admired from afar for a number of years. Uh, I think he's one of the most prolific entrepreneurs in the space and nobody really knows about him. So I'm excited to be hopefully one of the first people to really interview Jason and get a sense of what he's been working on, where he came from, and just some of the cool stuff that, uh, he's got in store for us. So, Jason, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Jason Wenk: 00:01:42 My pleasure. And, uh, I gotta say, man, you just nailed that opening so you're not many people can just off the cuff be so endearing, but man, you're making me kind of blush here. So it's a very lovely intro, real pleasure and big fan of your work as well.
Patrick Brewer: 00:01:46 Thanks brother. Yeah, I guess that's my superpower is just like going and nailing those weird things on a, on audio and video. So again, I just appreciate you coming on man. And, like I said, I feel like most advisors don't really, I don't really know who you are. Like when you go to a conference and you say like, Michael Kitces or you say Carl Richards or you know any of these other guys, I'm Josh Brown. And then you say Jason Wenk. And they're like, well, I know the other three but I'm not, I don't really know Jason. Like who's Jason Wenk? And it's like, well, he's built like way more companies that are more valuable than every one of the other guys that I just mentioned. Like, why don't we know who this guy is?
Patrick Brewer: 00:02:22 So, um, why don't you, let's just get started. I don't usually do like the regular interview style podcast just because I like to kind of focus on the meat of what people are working on and just their direct contributions and you know, help them, you know, help the audience apply their knowledge. But I think in this case it would make sense just for the listeners to, to get an idea of like where you came from, how you think about things and just some of the, the stuff that you've worked through and where you're at today. I think it's a cool story. So I'm hoping it's a cool story cause I don't really know it, but um, I'm guessing it is. So why don't we start there man. Like let's not from maybe like birth to now, but just like maybe, maybe talk me through like your start in the financial services industry and then we'll just kind of see where it goes.
Jason Wenk: 00:03:07 Got it. Yeah. Cool. So happy to share, you know, the story and I think, um, it is funny, you know, to give you like a, a story before the story as having dinner with an advisor. This may be a couple of weeks ago and you know, he's fairly well known, we'll say like in the twitter world and lots of followers and really, really lovely. A guy like great human, just really, become a friend. And I really enjoy, um, you know, kind of kinda chatting and hanging out with them. But, but it was interesting, you know, you've got to send to me. Um, you know, we knew that there's some conferences that I was going to be at.
Jason Wenk: 00:03:43 You saw I was going to speak at one and he says, Hey man, uh, you nervous at all? You have to speak at a conference, you know, and and I kinda looked, I was like, nah, not really man. Like, why, why? Yes. He's like, well, you've never spoken to conference, have you before you, so it was just, it was an interesting conversation. We had to go, like, kind of like back this whole thing out then. And I guess, you know, my response was like, listen, I've only ever spoken at my own conferences. Yes. I've never, like, I don't really go on the conference, you know, whatever. Um, like all in and just like, you know, go and travel the world and speak on other people's stuff. But, um, so, so I'm happy, I guess that I'm unknown and, outside of a very, very small community that, that, um, that goes by stuff.
Jason Wenk: 00:04:21 Well, I’ve been doing this for a long time, man. It's, it's weird. Um, it's super strange actually that I'm 39 years old and I've almost been in the business 20 years. I started, you know, when I was still in college and, but not like some people, some people would be like, Oh yeah, I started in college. I was like selling life insurance, you know, door to door or something like that. I had a really unusual kind of interests of business, but, kind of a shortened version is, I grew up in a very rural area in West Michigan, was, quite, you know, I didn't think of myself as poor, but we certainly weren't rich. You know, we didn't have a ton and at very, very hardworking, blue collar family and a very hardworking blue collar area.
Jason Wenk: 00:05:09 I had, you know, the, the good fortune of getting our first home computer in the mid nineties, and I just embraced sort of this, idea that, you could do things on a computer versus, you know, having to go and like, you know, swing hammers and, you know, use wrenches and Jack and all that stuff. Right. So, um, so became sort of a self-taught, um, you know, hacker I guess the best way to explain my, my engineering skills that look in a lot of things. Um, and it's, you know, serves me very well. The, my entrance into the industry was, writing, um, productivity applications, uh, at a large wire house. Um, led to eventually a full time job by, uh, moved to New York, was trained there, um, worked in Chicago for awhile. And you know, by the time I was 21, I was basically completely jaded and burnout.
Jason Wenk: 00:06:03 And that was the last job I ever had. So I learned really quickly, you know, I really, I think kind of coming into this space more as an analyst or engineer, um, my way of doing things is quite pragmatic. You know, I'm not, you know, I wasn't like a natural salesperson or anything like that. I just was, you know, good at mass I guess. And, uh, and I can, could do things that, you know, probably were, again, today engineers would look at as being very, very rudimentary, you know, but at the time, you know, in the late nineties, early two thousands, there just weren't that many people, building technology for wealth management. They just was it for those who weren't around back then, you know, like Morningstar was still sending CD ROMs. Like that's how you got your Morningstar reports.
Jason Wenk: 00:06:54 It's crazy. You know, it, there's a different world than we live in. So, so, so I kind of entered from that side, um, right, the tech kind of side of the industry. Um, and then what I found was that, uh, you know, a lot of things didn't make sense to me. I didn't understand the way financial advice was delivered. I like the way the investments recommended. Like all those things seemed really archaic. So, I decided, you know what, I want to go out on my own and my very first adventure, um, you know, people don't find it on LinkedIn and you know, it's kinda like, uh, the one I don't talk much about, but I remember just brief first venture was building an automated like investment allocation platform. I wrote the code myself, uh, even built the website and just did everything, everything myself.
Jason Wenk: 00:07:42 It was real ugly. Um, but basically what it was designed to do was to get consumers, I thought, Hey, why can't we just build something that will show people how they can allocate their 401k's but not really as an advisor, just as like a subscription service. You know, they pay 40 or 50 bucks a month. And again, there's a lot of stuff like that out there today that's really crappy. But when was this? This is like 2000 a long time ago. We had like 2002, we're still dialing up like 56 K modem style. Yeah, it was, it was the, um, you know, the real wild, wild West. Right. But, so what's cool is I learned a lot about marketing, you know, because I, I built this product and I was like, I've got to figure how to sell this thing. And so I was using ad words and overtures and these different, like it very much ages me.
Jason Wenk: 00:08:26 Right. Um, but, uh, but I found like I could acquire customers for a certain dollar amount, so I learned very early, um, what CAC was costs of acquisition. Um, and then I knew what my lifetime value was. I get people to pay for a subscription service, I'm auto billing them every month and I knew how long on average they'd stay stick around for. Yup. And, um, so I learned some very early business principles that it's ironic. Most financial advisors I think today still don't know, just self employed people that, you know, do financial planning or whatever. Um, but very few people are, are really, um, you know, entrepreneurial. They don't, they don't know much about business necessarily. Um, and so again, I would never set out as a business person. That's how I got into this space. Um, and then from there it was like, you know, I just kept thinking like there kept being bigger problems.
Jason Wenk: 00:09:14 Right. So I just, I would notice like that business, you know, was actually very lovely. Um, there's like a cool business. I'm super low maintenance, made nice monthly cashflow. Um, but it wasn't really helping people's kind of what I discovered. Um, and the LTV would suggest that people would cancel their subscriptions before they would've had it long enough to really get enough benefits, even though it made money for me, it didn't really help people in a meaningful way. Um, and that's what led me to go into being a financial advisor, you know, sort of learning that part of the business. Um, and go over you was real challenge.
Patrick Brewer: 00:09:46 How old were you when you started the advisory side?
Jason Wenk: 00:09:49 Um, so I started my first, I searched a, I first joined the independent broker dealer. I was probably like 23, you know, um, I started my first RIA when I was 24. Oh. And, uh, you know, so it's funny nowadays, you know, there are a number of younger advisers, but, um, uh, but yeah, I've been in RIA only for 15 years. Um, and uh, it started fairly young. Um, and that was a business that, you know, today's known as retirement wealth advisors, so wealth management firm sort of platform. Um, and uh, you know, there was a lot of, a lot of interesting things learned over that which led into other businesses and other businesses. But yeah, man, it's been a long winding road to get here, but that's how it all started.
Patrick Brewer: 00:10:28 Nice. I've noticed you've done some really cool stuff over the years, like building your wealth management firm. I mean, one thing that I, I saw, uh, just doing some summary level research was the annuity reviews that you would do like through, I think it was called like annuity Gator or something like that. And it was brilliant because you've got this army of insurance, these insurance professionals that are just, you know, sponsored by the insurance companies and the insurance companies are spending millions of dollars on marketing trying to drive their, their sales force to like sell more. Allianz two to two. And you, I think, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seemed like you created these long form videos and like explanations on how people should go about selecting and thinking about these annuities. And they were like very in depth and I think it looked like it drove like a lot of traffic to your, your RIA and allowed you to, to kind of grow and scale. Can you like talk me through one if I'm going down the wrong path here, cause I dunno if that's all that's true. But um, and then and to like what, what did you do to grow the RAA cause like age 25 starting your own RIA 15 years ago. Like that's not really a thing. Like not many people did that. So I'm curious to see, like how did you, what, what, what mechanisms did you use for growth?
Jason Wenk: 00:11:41 Yeah, yeah. So, so I'll, I'll, I'll, I'll start by just saying like, you know, in the first couple of years I use some offline marketing. I got pretty good at that too. Um, you know, so back in those days, you know, you could very effectively sort of cost-effectively and time effectively do seminars, you know, in person, like face to face stuff. Um, so we did some of that, did really well with it for, you know, probably two to three years. Um, and, uh, you know, built the RIA. I think it took four years roughly to get it to 100 million in assets. Um, and I kind of did that, like I'd call it the old fashioned way. And I just, I knew my numbers and, um, and just was really religious about, you know, um, you know, executing, right? So, so that was kind of that. But then I quickly kind of like realized like that a lot of those things don't scale.
Jason Wenk: 00:12:29 And, and I really was ambitious about I want to do to, to um, you know, impacted more people. I want to go help more people. Uh, and what I find is that a lot of the best advisors, um, I think like you Petrick like I talked to a lot of financial advisors and financial planners. Um, and it's really a shame, you know, when I meet the really good ones, you know, there's, there's been a handful of met over the years where like I personally would hire them because I just feel like, wow, these are the type of people that just, they really get it. There's services awesome. Like what they do is so helpful. Um, but most of those advisors, they'll come a point when they hit a capacity. So if they're practicing, right, like they can only serve so many people and then eventually if they want to go beyond that, they have to sort of shift into becoming a business owner.
Jason Wenk: 00:13:15 And in many ways they then struggle cause a lot of times the best, like real tactical, like advice givers aren't always the best at managing people and enterprises. So, um, so I found like in my case, I felt like [inaudible] was a pretty good advisor and I really cared about people, but I wanted to be able to help more people. So, um, so I wanted to scale that digitally and start doing all relationships virtually. Uh, and I was very early to that gaining as this is like 2000, uh, probably eight, you know, until I was an agent, you know, and no one was doing it. So, so today it's funny, right when we, when we hear about like the prolific content creators today and no disrespect to all those people because, um, I feel like they're, they're probably doing meaningful and helpful work. Um, but very, very few have ever figured out how to turn that into actual business, um, in a meaningful way.
Jason Wenk: 00:14:09 Um, you know, so it shouldn't take a million social followers to do like, you know, 100 million a year of business. Um, you know, like, I've don't think I've ever had more than a thousand social followers in my life, but I've had many years doing over a hundred million dollars. So, so what I learned very early on, um, was that you could create content content for the hell of it, you know, um, or just as a popularity contest or whatever. Um, but I wasn't really interested in that. And again, these are reasons why, like I flew so under the radar because what I found was that, um, I wanted to create content that got people to take action, right? So, so like, yeah, I knew to Gator you, you did a really good job by the way of explaining it. Um, I've started it originally just on own blog, Jason, link.com and um, and started doing, among other things, annuity reviews.
Jason Wenk: 00:14:58 Um, what's interesting, right as you think about reviews, you know, you've got companies like Yelp today, multibillion dollar companies, and what's made them kind of what they are, um, are reviews. Um, you know, you look at Amazon, a big part of like their marketplace, what made them, what they are are reviews, you know, so, so the, the thought process is pretty simple. It was just like, what if I knew what people were curious about, you know, learning more with their money, very detailed, so very long tail, which just means like, I would like whenever I see advisors, they do this and I, I, um, again, I applaud them for their effort, but I try to coach them a little bit and say, Nope, you don't need to be, um, a highly ranked for the term financial advisor because like, who cares? You know, like that's not how people hire financial advisors typing that in and people would look, well, I want to be number one for, you know, Los Angeles financial advisor.
Jason Wenk: 00:15:52 You'd be like, yes, still, like that's a total waste of your time. Like they'll do it. Um, I wanted to be number one for was when I knew somebody had like maybe a half a million bucks and they needed help with it. Um, and so yeah, like the, the basics hijacking traffic. You think about it when people, um, when someone's trying to sell you something, one of the first things we do, uh, and this is like a new thing this has been going on for over a decade, is we go Google, right? We go home and we type in like, is this product good? Right? So the example I give people a lot is that if someone's shopping for a TV and they type in flat screen TV, it's, it's wasteful. Don't ever try to bid on that or try to rank high for that. But if someone types in like Vizio 55 inch ultra high definition, four K smart TV, blah, blah, blah, right?
Jason Wenk: 00:16:38 Very long and detailed and they put it in like price or best deal or reviews or whatever, right? It's like really close to making a decision and they're looking for, um, either like affirmation or allaying their fears, right? Like that's what they're there for. So, yeah, we started creating these. I say we, I sort of fighting these reviews, um, and you know, just took a very analytical approach to it created like 50 plus minute videos where I would walk through the testing because I wanted people to, um, feel like they could trust the content. It was real, like I'd spend, you know, two, three hours kind of researching and building and modeling out the crediting methods and the all the riders and reading the, you know, um, this disclosure documents from the various products and kind of translating into English. Um, and so what was crazy is like I could write a post, like you mentioned Allianz two 22.
Jason Wenk: 00:17:33 Anyway, all I need is a huge company, right? But I think I actually ranked higher than them for many years. Um, though, maybe still do to this day. I don't know. Um, and uh, and so when people were looking for information about those products, like they would find my site, right? And, and I would talk about, Hey, look, there's good and bad and you know, and when you're the first to do something today, there's probably a bunch of copycat things. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Trying to do that stone yard now. Yeah. You right. But, but what's cool is like when I was doing it, um, it was life changing, you know, um, there was the, the quantity of people that needed and wanted help, um, was more than, you know, a dozen people could've never kept up with them. It was so many people and this was from writing like two or three blog posts.
Jason Wenk: 00:18:15 So it was definitely a springboard. Um, you know, really changed, uh, the philosophy of the firm. Um, and all of a sudden, you know, we were doing 2 million a month and 4 million a month and 5 million a month in and it was all free. It was all virtual. Right. I mean, there was no office and you know, it's, what's audited is that was again, a decade ago. Um, and so, yes, I'm really proud of some of those things. I mean since then, I've given that website away. So, um, those who don't know me well, um, you know, I, I, uh, I guess you said I was a great entrepreneur. Quick guns for brewers aren't always great. Um, you know, uh, you know, I guess at managing their personal wealth, they're great at building stuff, right. But, um, I got tired of it actually. It became something where I felt like, you know, there was others, other things that I wanted to do. I didn't want to be known as the annuity review guy type of thing. I felt like it was a really worthwhile venture and so I gave it to two friends of mine for nothing. So I didn't sell today, to my knowledge, that website still drives over a hundred million dollars a year of business. Um, and uh, yeah, I probably should've sold it for a few million bucks or something, but I gave it away to free up time to pursue other projects.
Patrick Brewer: 00:19:27 Wow, man. Yeah. I mean, when I first stumbled across you years ago, this was prior to altruist and some of the other things that you've done. Um, you know, the first thing I found out was this, the annuity strategy, and it's probably the, the most brilliant strategy that has ever been done honestly in the wealth management space, because you've got multi-millions on the backs of insurance companies, be it being spent on advertising. So they're essentially like a free, you know, paid advertising channel for you. And then you've got a sales force that is going out and you know, creating curiosity and building relationships, but they can't build trust because they're product salespeople. So you essentially have a free marketing budget, a free sales force, and then you have an interested customer who's already been somewhat educated on the benefits. And then all you're doing is just bridging the gap between where they're at from a pain problem standpoint to trust. It's, you know, giving them a solution. So, yeah, I think that's awesome. So that spring boarded you in the RIA, I know that you have lots of advisors now that are part of RWA. Was that pro the primary feeder mechanism for kind of scaling that up and getting all the other advisors to join RWA or like where, where did you go from there?
Jason Wenk: 00:20:35 Yeah, so, so, um, so, so I, I actually, I took two years kind of off. Um, uh, and, um, you know, I was, I was pretty burnt out. I was, uh, you know, in my late twenties still, but I've been, you know, kind of going pretty hard for a few years, working hard, you know, just for a few years. And so I thought, you know, I want to take a couple of years and just kind of work part time and, uh, enjoy my kids and, and uh, you know, uh, and so, yeah, so that's a couple of years basically kind of very below the radar and I had a really nice, you know, kind of book of business. All my clients were virtual so I could kind of go work and do what I wanted whenever very much, you know, work part time. But when I found was that I start getting kind of bored. Um, and, uh, yeah, I wanted to, I wanted to be productive and I felt like I had a lot of gas left in the tank.
Jason Wenk: 00:21:22 I just needed that little recharge. Um, and that was the last time I ever took a recharge. Right. So, um, but it was really cool to be able to do that. Um, and it sort of spurred the next venture, which, um, yeah, retirement wealth definitely grew and still was growing while I was kind of, you know, um, uh, you know, only partially sort of, uh, running it. Um, but, uh, what happened was kind of strange. You know, I, I, I just, I speak very little at conferences and, uh, although I'm quite open, you know, it's, uh, it's always funny. Sometimes the device will reach out to me and you know, like, shoot me an email or whatever, LinkedIn or Twitter DM or something, and then I write him back and I'm like, Oh, Holy shit, I didn't like expect you to do that. Um, but, uh, I really do like to help and help other people and share.
Jason Wenk: 00:22:04 So I start getting more and more people kind of curious about my story, reaching out and, um, and uh, you know, how can I plug in, how can I plug in? And, uh, at that time, you know, we built, because my, my background really, again, was, um, I consider myself a Quan. That's how I would've, you know, described my job to people's, I built algorithms to do mash, um, on an automated basis. And so much of the way that I broke down, you know, sort of, uh, you know, in a very, um, you know, kind of a statistic driven way, insurance products, never each sort of actuarial method of breaking it down. I did the same with investment portfolio. So, so when I was running retirement wealth, we had these, you know, investment portfolios that were, you know, fairly automated and we kind of developed a brand, you know, that we called them, we called them FormulaFolios.
Jason Wenk: 00:22:52 Um, and so people were joining retirement wealth and, uh, and using our portfolios and, um, you know, using our brand and marketing. Uh, it was, it's a pretty, you know, it's kind of like a turnkey platform before turnkey platforms were really a thing. Um, I'm sorry, say that again. What, what year is this? How long ago was this? Yes, it's been like around 2000, uh, 10, 11 time period. Yeah. So I, uh, I, I turned 30 in 2010 and a 2011 is when I formed FormulaFolios is its own company. And because what we realized with, with that was like, you know, we were talking about wealth, you know, it was a, a platform, basic people could become IRS and they could do all their business there and you know, but we weren't really, um, was really designed to serve like our IAS or other broker dealers, like broker dealer reps and all these things.
Jason Wenk: 00:23:39 So we thought, let's just like spin off FormulaFolios make it [inaudible] make it into a tamp, a true kind of proper independent, um, eh, can work with like other advisers and, uh, and we'll build some marketing tools and it's sort of philosophically the, the, the thought was this, right? Um, if you go ask lots of advisors and maybe you've already done this since you work with a lot of advisors, um, Hey, what is your number one biggest problem? And so what we found is more often than not, their biggest pain point was, Hey, I need more clients. Um, if I could get in front of more people, you know, I feel like I could do the rest really well. So, so, so we feel like, okay, we, we, we, we'd found some really smart ways to help, uh, fix that, you know, pain point. But then if people aren't having that problem, right?
Jason Wenk: 00:24:23 So if someone is, so the alternative, right? If they're like, Hey, getting clients in the issue now, what's your biggest pain point? It would be like, look, running my business, scaling my business, hiring people. Like, it's all the operational stuff, right? Sort of like scaling business. And so we thought, let's just build a platform that really addresses those two problems. Let's get you as many clients do you feel you can handle, let's help you operationally handle as many of those clients as you want. Right? So to build and really scale your, your business. Um, and so from a flows we started, uh, legally in 2011 started working with advisors in 2012. Um, and uh, and when I did that for seven years, six years, I should say until 2018. Um, and it was a really good run. You know, we built a lot of really cool technology and we did this very under the radar.
Jason Wenk: 00:25:08 So in whatever there is today, amount of a million advisors, you know, we only only work with a few hundred advisors. So it's like, it was like this mega network or anything. Um, and really, um, there's probably only a hundred, 150 that were really what we call, like, you know, with us for more than a few years. The company was adding advisors so fast that like a few hundred is a bit of a misnomer. Um, you know, in the early days there was 10, you know, then there was 50 and then there was a hundred. Right. So, um, so really kind of scaled it up. It was a fun, a fun run. Um, and uh, you know, I felt like, again, solved some problems. We were able to expand the network, really built some cool like automated digital marketing to help advisors get in front of more people. And you know, the company grew to around a hundred employees and a few billion in assets and, uh, and was growing very, you know, a hundred million or so a month.
Jason Wenk: 00:25:56 It was really, um, going well. But I, I just started like, um, realizing like, Hey, we're still barely scratching the surface, you know, of like what's possible. And on top of that, you know, we're building all of this on really dated infrastructure that's not good for advisors or for their clients. And that's what led me to step down from a retirement wealth and partner flows in launching another company. Right. So, so kind of the path, you know, like [inaudible] you know, at some point I'm going to be so old, I guess I won't, we'll do the same more. But every few years you have an epiphany that like things should be better. Um, and that you should go do something more meaningful. And I think, you know, entrepreneurs, if they're leaving one company to go do another one, it's um, hopefully it's not cause they're chasing money or fame or something like that, but it's because they're realizing that there's bigger problems to solve. Um, and uh, uh, and, and they're doing that more for their own like internal legacy, like the legacy of their family or something. Not really like the financial legacy. And that's certainly the kind of phase of life on that kind of that midwife where I want to go do really big important things that need the industry needs.
Patrick Brewer: 00:27:03 Cool. So if we back up a little bit then I want to talk about altruist and how you structured that and you know, what problems you're solving there. So with FormulaFolios, I mean, I'm just curious on how you grew that so fast. I mean, if you're not cultivating a strong personal brand, you're not doing a lot of like, you know, marketing to the advisor community to get them educated on the formula folios offer and like, you know, the value proposition. Like what, what was the process for like getting these advisers to use the tamp? Like use all the infrastructure?
Jason Wenk: 00:27:31 Um, yes, I think, um, so, so two things like similar to how, like I mentioned, you know, the a, the way annuity Gator and, and other things like that work, right? It's like, um, you know, pushing your message out in front of the wrong people might get you. Again, a lot of fame or notoriety or public attention. It doesn't grow businesses. Um, right. So in marketing we just didn't go message to market match. Like you only really want your message to reach the market that you want to respond to it. Um, so for form of a fully, as a couple things, we have to understand for anyone who is out there building a tamp business is, uh, if you're building a tamp, you know, turnkey asset management platform, you're asking somebody, in our case, we were acting as the money manager, we were doing the financial planning, we were a fully outsourced solution.
Jason Wenk: 00:28:20 Hmm. Right? So a fully outsource solution means if someone wants to manage their own money, not a good fit, uh, somebody with a, um, you know, like, uh, I guess like a, a large ensemble or team already. Um, probably not a good fit. Um, we think about the problems we're solving, right? Helping advisors grow, um, who's that willing to appeal to? Well, and adviser really wants to grow. So if somebody already, whatever at $1 billion and they're just dealing with operational headaches, probably not a good fit. Right? So, so we were very good at targeting the ideal advisor that we wanted to work with. And so our target market was really, it was kinda like the neglected, it was the people that weren't being that much paid attention to. So our target was an advisor that had, I'd say like, you know, five to $50 million in assets and they wanted to 10 X their business.
Jason Wenk: 00:29:10 So we weren't, you know, everybody should be able to like in like one sentence bill, say here's who I work with and here's what I do for them. Right? So ours was like, our mantra was we work with advisors with five to $50 million, I want to 10 X their business. Right. How do we do it? Two ways. One, we fill their calendar with more people in a really cost efficient way through primarily digital marketing. And then we give them back off the support technology solutions that allow them to scale that thing up 10 tenfold. Right? So we very good at knowing who our market was and as a result, you know, if you weren't in our market, you didn't know who we were, you know, so, so that's kind of how we, how we operate.
Patrick Brewer: 00:29:44 Cool. Man. So throughout these transitions, I mean, did you have any growing pains as you sh you shifted from, cause like it sounds like every couple of years you evolved, so you were, you know, Jason doing the, you know, the ones and twos on the technology side and you evolve to the advisor side, you'll evolve to, you know, providing infrastructure, shared infrastructure services, tamp services, marketing for advisors. And it sounds like now you've evolved more to the entrepreneurial solve really big problems with tech in the financial services space. Like with evolution comes challenge, right? It makes some people uncomfortable. It makes the team feel like what's going on. Like what, what challenges did you face throughout these evolutions? Cause I mean, having done this myself to a degree, like I know there's challenges. So like what, what things presented themselves, like, you know, growth opportunities for you or like what did you see as you started to kind of move through these different entities?
Jason Wenk: 00:30:37 Sure. Yeah. So, um, obviously, you know, when you look back it doesn't seem like it was that hard, you know, so, but there were many. Um, there were many tough days, right? So, so one thing that's like interesting in my ventures, um, you know, up until recently I bootstrapped all of them paid for them personally. Um, and you know, growing a company, um, you know, from like zero in revenue to 50 million in revenue and doing it like, you know, five years or so, that's really hard. Um, and it's not a person that does that. It's really a collection of, of people. Um, and so, you know, challenge along the way. Hiring great people is, is tough. Um, you know, if you've never done it before, it gets easier the more you do it. Um, and, uh, I think a lot of advisors, they get, uh, fooled into hiring bottom up.
Jason Wenk: 00:31:30 Um, when, you know, your most bet, always better off hiring top down in my, my experience, um, which in other words just means don't go hire somebody because you can get them for 12 bucks an hour. Like, you know, go get somebody who's great and moves the needle and doesn't need a ton of oversight, you know, and can actually add value versus like, just require babysitting. Um, but you know, advisers don't work that way. Um, and so, you know, like there's like totally, you know, use the term, um, evolution, right? Like I would say nothing necessarily came easy. Um, uh, but, uh, I very much, you know, believed in what I was doing and I think if anything that, that sort of super power I had was I could get other people to believe it too. Um, and, uh, if you can do that and you get the right collection of people all believing in something that's worth while, like, you know, you can overcome a lot of headaches, you know, and there's a ton of headaches in our industry. Um, and, uh, and I've dealt with probably most of them, uh, as a spec, maybe you have to,
Patrick Brewer: 00:32:27 yeah, man for sure. Hey, model FAS, I know that you're enjoying this episode. I wanted to talk to you about a program that we're releasing. It's called the model FAA accelerator. It is an intensive experience where we're going to bring you to Austin, we're going to help you
Speaker 4: 00:32:40 solve the biggest problems in your practice. How to pick a niche, how to build a consistent marketing strategy, a sales process that actually converts and how to scale it all up. So if you're curious about that, go to www.modelfa.com forward slash accelerator book your call and we'll talk to you soon.
Patrick Brewer: 00:32:59 I mean, usually what I noticed with superpowers comes like one major blind spot. It's almost like, you know, the Marvel movies, you know, like they're really strong but they're, you know, susceptible to something like D. have you noticed like you have one specific blind spot that you've been trying to hire other people to share up? Like what, where do you feel like your major blind spot is?
Jason Wenk: 00:33:17 Yeah. So, so I think, you know, um, I've gotten pretty good at understanding, you know, sort of my entrepreneurial weaknesses, you know, which, which I think, you know, anybody who's, you know, thinking years ahead, you know, there's more of a macro thinker, um, they need some really, really good micro kind of task managers, you know, great operations people, so you can have a phenomenal COO that just is a great at, you know, sort of the minutia and execution like that super complimentary. Um, but I'd say like, my biggest weakness, uh, you know, candidly is that, um, and this maybe sounds big headed, but I'm really nice, you know, I, um, I'm nice to people. Um, I root for people. Um, I give my time away probably more than I should. Um, and, uh, and so there's some people out there in the world who will take advantage of that. Um, uh, fortunately my wife is the polar opposite. Um, that's your bullshit that doctors like, you know, on fleek. So she's at Salada the, you know, the bad actors out for me. But you know, I think anybody who, if you want to be that compassionate leader that people love to follow, it's a common weakness, um, to be, uh, you know, easily taken advantage of. Um, so, so having somebody to help you with that is really critical.
Patrick Brewer: 00:34:39 Cool, man. Um, that makes sense based on how quickly you move. I mean, you've got to have some level of, you know, leadership skills in order to advance and evolve that quickly. So it's pretty impressive that within 10 years you've been able to get all the way through to the point where you're, now you're, you're launching altruist and you said you bootstrapped everything, including altruist.
Jason Wenk: 00:34:57 Yeah. So up until this venture, right. Um, you know, so, so tackling, um, you know, like the biggest problems in the RIA space are quite capital intensive. And so I've been very fortunate to have been able to raise money quite easily. You know, fortunately too, you know, once you've done a few successful ventures, you know, you, you build some credibility, um, and industrials are very eager, you know, to work with you. Um, so have an awesome, uh, a partner in, uh, an altruist. We were working with Ben rock, which is the Rockefeller family's venture fund. Um, and just really great. Our partner there is fantastic serves on our board, Nick vine. Um, and so just very, very supportive, um, of sort of our mission, which is really, you know, in, in the RIA custody space. And even really, I would call it the major tech side of, of RIA business, which is like the largest sort of, you know, portfolio management, software's the really, really expensive stuff, so to speak.
Jason Wenk: 00:35:55 Um, you know, it's way overdue, you know, for, uh, you know, beyond, uh, you know, evolution. It's like to the point where it needs like mass disruption of sorts because, um, you know, the direct to consumer side is moving very quickly. Um, and net advisers, you know, we're all kind of neglected. Um, it's funny, it's so where all the money's at equally, um, far larger amount of assets flowing to traditional RIA, RIS than robos. I mean, but, um, but it's, uh, there's not very good tools, you know. So consequently what's happened with the, you know, advisers is, um, and this is like a is is, is tough. I, I suspect be curious to, of your take on this metric, but the, um, you know, because we have really bad technology and it's very inefficient to be a financial advisor like your, you know, we, we can only systematize things to a degree and then we're really forced into some tough decisions if we want to scale a business.
Jason Wenk: 00:36:51 And one of those tough decisions is we have to start instituting minimums and then we have to start raising those minimums and raising those minimums. And for anyone who, you know, no pun intended, but as like an altruistic bone in their body. Um, you know, when we think about like why we do what we do, most of us say, well, I want to help people. Well, you really want to help people just want to help rich people. You know, I mean, that's kind of what's happening is the RAs just have, keep going up, market up, market, not market. Um, and you know, now it's the point where like, there's big cheerleaders for this idea that, you know, financial advisers, so just abandoned her entire business model and just go, you know, retainer fee or bill on networks or incomes and, you know, which all lovely theories, right?
Jason Wenk: 00:37:36 But, you know, why are we having to make all of those decisions? And a lot of it's because, you know, uh, our businesses are incredibly inefficient. Um, and, and there's only so much that we can move the needle through, you know, like smart processes and procedures and, you know, in Indiana, someone actually like radically changed the, you know, the, the biggest sort of elephant in the room, which is like, why can't we open accounts digitally? Why has it taken our to open accounts for, you know, a household like, you should take five minutes, you know, why do we have to buy external software? And these are like, you know, there's actually great answers for all this stuff, right? Um, and it's, it's all greed really. And it's very easily document then screed. So, um, yeah, so, so this one I needed somebody who had, um, you know, uh, an equal passion for disruption and bedrock was really gained for that. Um, so we were able to put together an awesome team. We've been crankiness. It's been a lot of fun. So do you think that's the primary barrier as far as scaling up and serving that lower end of the market? Um, in lower,
Patrick Brewer: 00:38:36 and not to me meant disrespectfully, but just the idea of people that have less assets in income and haven't been traditionally been served by, call it a fee only expert advisor is opening accounts faster and just doing things quicker on the operational side. Cause I feel like the, the primary issue is just the fact that there's only so much hours in a day, right. And the human being requires human attention. So obviously they're going to get some of that back if they can, you know, facilitate the opening of accounts and the operational scalable. Like what about for an adviser who's already got somebody at 20 bucks an hour, who's trained on TD Ameritrade? They can open up the accounts and really their primary issue is just managing their own time and energy better so that they can meet with more people. Um, I mean are you, are you seeing that as the primary barrier in front of advisors to work with the smaller accounts or what, what, what are your thoughts there?
Jason Wenk: 00:39:24 Yeah, so I don't think it's just, um, time, but I mean certainly time's a big element. So like, you know, if we think about the economic model of, um, uh, of a traditional RIA, so, uh, so let's say one, you know, the time it takes to take really good care of a client, um, is really high. So some of it's like, yeah, then the communication time, but the communication is not crazy high, right? Like if you're doing great work and you've systematically done things well, like you might need to spend a couple of hours with a client. And so that means we should be able to, uh, engage, you know, in hundreds of clients in a year if that's all we had to do. Right. But we have to do more than that cause really getting taken care of a client also involves opening their accounts, dealing with like cashiering, like needs.
Jason Wenk: 00:40:12 Um, it also means we should be reviewing their accounts from time to time, like doing their entire financial situation, trying to find opportunities to make improvements. Um, you know, that just again, takes time. You know, when the, are there opportunities to do tax loss harvesting on that takes time. Should clients have, they already contributed what they should to their retirement accounts for you? What right. So I do on and on and on. Interestingly, beyond all those elements, you know, I'm paying that person 20 bucks an hour. That's not cheap. That's 40 plus thousand dollars a year. Um, you know, once you factor in benefits and you know, uh, taxes and da da da da. So, so, so if I have to, um, one pay somebody 40 grand to do these manual tasks, which still means they're manual, they're not like efficient. So there's going to be a lot of mistakes.
Jason Wenk: 00:40:56 Um, and that me as the advisor do the higher value, not administrative things. I have to spend twice as much time, essentially two hour minutes, four hours to properly do my job. I'm really limiting how much I can scale. So I think the challenge, like we've actually built a few um, uh, algorithms that will help us justify like, you know, as an advisor, like what we should and shouldn't be doing. But um, but I think it's very feasible, like our kind of mission as well. What if we can help advisors serve five times as many clients that do today and still work less. Like in order as they do a better job sort of five times as many people and not take an additional hour of time. Um, that's very doable, but it's not doable with today's technology infrastructure. Um, but both, it's beyond account opening. It's also like rebalancing accounts and trading accounts and like all these things.
Jason Wenk: 00:41:43 Yeah. You can outsource that. Cool. Pay somebody 15, 20 basis points for it. Yep. Try to scale that up. It doesn't scale. It's not future proof. Right. So there's so many things we have to do there. And then for clients, the current model is really broken to, part of why it's challenging to take smaller accounts is let's say you're paying a portfolio accounting provider 50 bucks a year, you know, just to do the billing and reporting and all your mining accounts. Even if it's 20 bucks a year, if somebody comes to you and has a $10,000 account or worse yet, what if they only have their great longterm potential client, they've got $500 a month they can put away. Right? There's just not good ways to do that. And especially to do it under one roof. Like, you know, today an advisor might have to outsource that small client to some like digital, you know, betterment for advisors or something and then a whole different, you know, kind of, uh, you know, packages they do for like middle tier clients and then like an whole nother one they do for larger clients.
Jason Wenk: 00:42:38 Right. Um, that's not scalable. That's not very efficient either. So a better solution would be, what if you could have, you know, no account minimums. It didn't really make a difference one way or the other. You know, again, onboarding a client was about 10, 15 minutes managing all of the intricate sort of money management decisions were almost entirely automated, but might review, take a few minutes, a month of review, you start adding those things up and then you start compressing the economics of it. Now you can really grow and you don't have to pay somebody 20 bucks an hour because you could just get an actual advisor in double or triple the size of your business and do it at scale really efficiently if you want it to. Right. So today we're, we're boxed into like decisions that really, um, we accept because there are no alternatives.
Jason Wenk: 00:43:25 Um, but they're not really like these aren't optimal solutions. Right? It's just like what we have available. Yeah, no, I get it. I understand. So how does altruist make money then? So it sounds like it's a, is it a free tamp? So you're doing all the investment management and the trading and things. Where's the advisor doing that as the platform doing that? Like, how is, how is revenue generated for the softwares and then the company so we can continue to operate. Yeah. So, so it's not a tamp at all actually. It's, um, so think of it as like an alternative to Schwab or fidelity or TD Ameritrade. So it's just an alternative to your custodian. Theoretically someone could run a tamp on it if they wanted to, um, or an adviser could just, you know, um, sign up and you know, run their business on it.
Jason Wenk: 00:44:04 Um, so, so in terms of like, you know, the, um, uh, the revenue model, so some, you know, I guess a moment of education for those who aren't familiar, you might be, but not everybody will be. Um, your custodian is robbing you blind if they're charging commissions or they're giving you, you know, a list of commission free ETFs to choose from and you accept that as their, as thorough solution. Um, and so, and what I mean by that is like, if look at like Schwab, you know, they make less than 10% of their money on commission. So the commission is just there to make you or your clients believe that's how they actually generate revenue. Um, similarly with like, you know, Oh, Hey look, we've just added more commission for ETFs. What that really should mean is we've just found more ETF companies willing to pay us rev share so that we can give them to you for commission free.
Jason Wenk: 00:44:54 And you know, they have higher expense ratios so they're actually worse for your clients. But don't bind that. Look at us, we've given you more commission free ETFs. Um, those don't help clients scan and just, you know, is more of a revenue generator. Um, and similarly with things like whole shares, like why shouldn't people have to buy whole shares? Well, whole shares are pretty handy. So our commissions, if you want people to carry large amounts of cash in their accounts, so you know, Schwab and their last quarterly report showed that their average cash balance in a brokerage account was 16%. Right? Their default sweep option pays, let's call it 10 basis points, and they're making 220 and a credit spread. So that's an enormous amount of revenue. I want to say it was around 60% of their revenue was coming from the cash in people's accounts.
Jason Wenk: 00:45:42 So, you know, as an advisor, like I think what we have to kind understand is that, um, th that's just we, we accept it because there's no alternatives. The alternative is that the, the, you know, sales reps at those custodians will say things to you like, Hey, um, you know, we can do asset-based pricing but I don't know, like it's like literally, you know, moving heaven and earth to give you it for like 10 or 15 basis points. Um, when they realistically should be giving it for free. There should be zero charge. Everyone should have asked the base pricing. Um, so they make money on payment for order flow. They made money on securities lending. It's the, the, it's a laundry list, um, account closings, huge money maker for custodians, right? Client closing an account, boom. They end with a a hundred dollars account closing fee.
Jason Wenk: 00:46:30 So there's just, it's a litany of things that they do in somehow as advisors, we've just grown to accept that because they're all kind of the same. There's not a lot of options. So as a custodian, our investment platform allows advisors to buy and sell any ETFs or equities. They want all commission free, all with fractional shares. There's a model trading engine, so it's very, very easiest. One wants to manage their own models, their own allocations of models like sleep based trading, um, making set up autopilot type rebalancing. There's no fixed connection. There's no FTP uploads and none of that. And it's like literally straight through processing built in and it's very beautiful. It's very simple. Like the UI is simple and elegant. So, so one of the things that we're doing in terms of like how we make money, we make money in some of the similar ways that brokers will make money, but we'll make less of it because we're not doing things like rev share, not doing silly commissions, not doing a lot of the things that are really, um, I think, um, uh, very disingenuous practices, uh, that somehow we accept as being okay.
Jason Wenk: 00:47:34 Um, and even little things like cash, right? We'll make some money, cash, we'll pay higher yield than everyone else. Like there's things that we can do. Um, and in our case, you know, w by, by building everything from scratch, having no really bad legacy infrastructure that's very hard to maintain single, you know, point API is like, there's just a lot of bad things going on like with traditional, um, old, you know, dated kind of infrastructure that makes it to where they have to have a lot of employees to do a lot of manual things. And like most of that can be automated. So it's a very Robinhood like experience. But for advisers, you know, where you can just very quickly and easily do what you need to do, manage your entire business and pay, um, you know, nothing for most things. And there'll be a few things that people will have, uh, like we will have account closing fees, you know, we will have an IRA fee and things like that, but, um, but a lot of things like that we, um, except today as being, OK, well we'll be, uh, eliminated and then all the software's included too, right?
Jason Wenk: 00:48:32 Um, whole nother conversation, right? That do it on that rabbit hole. But, um, the big software companies that are doing a lot of the portfolio accounting and, um, portfolio management advisor are like, well, how could you guys give that away for free? It's like, listen, man, your current custodians given away for free too. There's not giving it to you. They're soft dollar in all their biggest customers. Um, and so, you know, it's only six words, you know, for them it's beautiful. They don't have to build the software, maintain it. They create a competitive marketplace. Meanwhile, all the biggest firms are getting soft dollars. Go pay those things. So the software companies, they're fat and happy getting their payments directly from the custodians. Custodians are happy, everybody's winning and the RAs clients are paying for all this. The RAs are paying for all this through shit margins and bad, you know, operations. So w you know, there's so many things that need to be fixed. Um, and again, we're just kind of scratching the surface of it, you know, now and this year and then we'll continue to kind of iterate, evolve the platform. But uh, yeah. Nice that that's me getting excited about what we're doing. So sorry for like filling you with like a really long,
Patrick Brewer: 00:49:32 I dunno, I feel like I, you know, I asked you all these questions about what you were doing before, which I know is painful when you're an entrepreneur and you're onto the next thing and you're super passionate about it. So I appreciate you, uh, you share in the first 30 minutes about kind of what got you to this point, but I can tell this is definitely a, this definitely strikes a chord for you. So it sounds like to me, new age, custodial model, you know, you're, you're stripping out some of the unnecessary, you know, features and benefits, you know, things that the, that the custodians like TD and Schwab and those who have just come to accept as you know, part of doing business. Um, and I totally agree with the, the revenue sharing and the NTFS and I've, I saw that I used to work at DFA and Vanguard, so I saw that on the other side of the table and you know, companies would pay to be on the platform and I'd be talking to custodians and broker dealers and they're like, sorry, you can't come on our platform unless you're willing to write us a big check.
Patrick Brewer: 00:50:18 And I'm like, what the hell man? Like I've got pretty good funds. Like, why do we have to write you a check? And they were like, that's just how we do business. It's just cost of doing business. It's like, all right, well that doesn't seem very fair to anybody, but sounds, sounds cool guys. Um, so, uh, fundamentally I understand the model. I think it's cool. I think it's a good build, a big build. Um, I mean, how long before you have this thing fully operational and like you'll, let's say, rolled out to thousands of advisors around the country. Is it like kind of a staged deployment or where are you at with it?
Jason Wenk: 00:50:49 Yeah, so started this company in September of 2018. Um, we're in beta, you know, it took us about 10 months to get to beta on some features. We're still working with FINRA and the sec on the regulatory approvals. Um, a lot of our backend engineering is in place, so like all of our microservices architecture for the nerds out there to listen to your podcast. Um, so, so we, we built a really like lean and main cloud based, um, you know, uh, microservices structure, which means like all API for everything structure and really kind of elegant and rapidly expandable and secure. So, so a lot of that hard, heavy work is in place. Um, and now it's really kind of like the home stretch to going from private beta to public beta to a public release, which will probably happen. Um, somewhat dependent on the regulatory approvals, but I, I'd be, I'm optimistic it'll happen in like the middle of Q4 20, 19.
Patrick Brewer: 00:51:51 Okay. Well it's coming up. It's right around the corner, probably like two months from when this episode drops. So good stuff. Are you, um, so you're building this platform, you're gonna have a number of advisors join. It sounds like you're not gonna have a lot of friends. So, uh, so who are your friends? Who are your allies here? Cause what I'm hearing is every single software provider considering, I'm assuming custodians, like I don't know what margin a custodial platform runs, but I'm assuming based on their number of people that work for their companies and you know, their expense accounts and all this stuff that I see at these stupid conferences, it's pretty good. And you're making pretty good money doing, doing this and disintermediating a adviser, custodial platforms, and you can turn around and you can reinvest in technology to make the advisor's life easier. Uh, and you're monetizing those relationships differently from the tech providers. So, I mean, are these guys going to be knocking on your door trying to like kill you or like what, like who, who is, who is a friend of Jason winking and who, who is being exterminated from this new venture?
Jason Wenk: 00:52:47 No, I mean, I, I, um, so I would say that it will be very few enemies. Um, and I like to think there'll be lots of friends, right? There's hundreds of millions of people who need access to better financial advice and we'll make it more accessible in through humans. Um, so if you're a human, you were a friend of mine, I guess, uh, that cares about other humans. But, um, but what I would say is that, you know, um, yeah, like we've, I think we've all given the incumbents plenty of time to do what's right. Um, and at some point, if they're not willing to, then, then someone needs to sort of stand up to the silent bullies. Um, uh, they act like we're all their friends. They host these conferences and throw these parties and give us schwag and all of these things. And, and actually I've met many wonderful people that work for the companies themselves.
Jason Wenk: 00:53:38 Um, but you know, if they haven't done much to enhance the fairness of advice and the way that it can be distributed and the access of it to the people who really need it, um, you know, then, uh, shame on them, you know, like it's, it's, it's totally fine by me if they're not happy with what we're up to. Um, and for a lot of the FinTech companies, you know, some of the ones that made it, you know, and they kind of got big, um, I think they may have just lost their way. Hopefully this serves as a reminder to them, um, of, of really where technology should play in our industry. Um, it shouldn't become like something where we get kinda, uh, you know, jaded and sucked into the dark side, um, of, you know, the way finance, you know, has been for I think, you know, many, many years.
Jason Wenk: 00:54:25 Um, you know, we have a huge, uh, list of advisors waiting for this to be done. Right. So I think we're on to something. Um, uh, the, the, um, you know, sort of the beta launch, we had an expectation on it. We thought, well, if we could get, you know, 50 people interested that have $1 billion of assets, boy, that would be great. Um, and, and I think we did that in under four minutes from the moment we opened the beta. Um, and, and then far exceeded our goals by, you know, uh, multiple orders of magnitude. So, and, and that was, uh, anything and I was all done just in a few days. So, so w w w I would say like, um, advisers as a whole are very eager to have alternatives. They just didn't know that they existed because until now they really haven't. Um, and, and I'm hopeful that the customer's still the same way.
Jason Wenk: 00:55:15 Um, you know, I think what advisors maybe don't realize is that, you know, the custodians, um, I was venturing a guest very much depends on the products that someone uses. But if someone's using like, you know, a kind of a mix of like the commission free ETFs and, um, you know, some mutual funds and then maybe some agency securities and some individual stocks and has a 5% cash position and right, like, that's like their overall blend. Um, your custodians probably earning 50 or more basis points off your business. Um, and, and again, that's being paid for by somebody. Um, right. And it's typically, again, it's being sort of by way of the advisor essentially being paid for by your clients. Um, if you can give your clients better outcomes, so not just lower prices, but if you can also automate, um, you know, AI can be friendly enough to do a lot of the things that, you know, we should be doing for clients every day, but we just don't always have time to, or we don't have technology that really allows us to, um, we can give clients better advice, lower costs at scale that creates happier people who want to refer you more.
Jason Wenk: 00:56:18 Business grows your business. It creates really desirable unit economics and we can transform, you know, kind of the RIA space. It's already really good. There's so many good people who are here for the right reasons. We just have to give them better tools. Right. I think to get them at scale and then hopefully it'll people like yourself that are, um, I've done a little bit of advisor coaching and in my days I understand you do a lot of that as well. We need better coaches to show advisors what's possible, um, and kind of how to get there. Um, so, you know, I, I think there's going to be plenty of room for friends or the good news is that I'm pretty, again, I've said the term reclusive. Um, um, I shunned myself in, you know, months. And so I, I'd say that like, um, I don't care if I have a lot of friends, you know, frankly, but I do want to make a difference that I, that I feel proud of and that's what I think we're trying to do here.
Patrick Brewer: 00:57:07 Cool. Man. No, I can sense the passion. I think there's a good product market fit. I think based on what the custodians have been doing for awhile, the, especially with the rev share and then you know, I'm in agreement on the tech vendors too. I mean the most of the performance management or portfolio reporting platforms as you said. I mean we've, we run into those issues in RIA. It's, we bring in a friend of the family and it's like, man, I don't want to pay 50 bucks a year to service this account and you just going to sit on the platform. So then it's a, you know, it's an emotional conversation between the adviser in the back office and our back office guy is always gonna lean towards, you know, let's not take this client on cause it's not a profitable client for the firm.
Patrick Brewer: 00:57:45 And then the, the advisor who's going to be more relationship-driven is going to be like, well this is like friend of the family. It could be a good account in the future. And you know, it's frankly just a favor to two people that I care about. And it's like those two things are kind of diametrically opposed. So I think if you can solve that problem, it makes the effort, at least for the enterprise firm, right, it makes that relationship between the mid and back office and the front office that much smoother. So those two things are in alignment, um, and just makes it easier to run a business. So I think you're doing cool stuff, man. I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing all that that you have.
Jason Wenk: 00:58:21 My pleasure, man. I mean obviously, uh, I think I did like 80% of the talking. I hope that's like, you know, not out of the norm on your, uh, your shows. But it's been a fun, I've been having a hold in a lot of these stories for like the last year. You can just head down, man, just building and building. Um, and uh, really excited to kind of get the message out and hopefully help people. And I think, you know, sort of separately, again, obviously I don't make them make this a commercial for the work that I do. Um, but I'd say that, you know, a, a huge thing that I hope, uh, happens. This is what kind of one of the most fun things to see happen is, uh, maybe there's somebody out there, some adviser that's, you know, or even non advise, right? That's following your work.
Jason Wenk: 00:58:59 They take a listen to this and maybe they get inspired to go do something meaningful and then they start thinking about how can I do it at scale? And they challenge themselves to think entrepreneurially and they start some type of movement. You know, that you don't have to be famous to start. Um, you know, I haven't had no, nobody really knows who I am. Nobody really cares and that's totally fine by me. Um, but I do know that, you know, uh, you know, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of lives can be changed the better, you know, because, you know, I had a, uh, an itch and I scratched it and I'm hoping that people will go, yeah, man, like anything's possible. He can do it, I can do it. Right. And that's, I think, part and parcel, like really why it's fun to share these stories.
Patrick Brewer: 00:59:39 Yeah, man, no, absolutely. Totally happy to have you share your story on the podcast. I mean, I think in 80 20th a better balance for a guy like you. You've done a lot of stuff in the past, I guess 19 years since you've been in the industry. And absolutely, we need a lot more talented entrepreneurs that enter the personal finance space, are few and far between. I'm so excited to, uh, to spread your message, hopefully to inspire some people, as you said, and hopefully we can have you back on the show at some point in a future season. Get a check in to see, uh, how, how upset all the custodians are and how great altruist is doing. And, uh, just kind of revisit, man. So just appreciate you carving out the time and, uh, look forward to talking to you again soon, Jason.
Jason Wenk: 01:00:16 Absolutely, man. Anytime.
Patrick Brewer: 01:00:17 All right.