Blueleaf Advisor – The Evolution

The reason I believe in Blueleaf — and the reason we started the company — is to help people in the middle, people like our Blueleaf team, with their long-term finances. We want to give them transparency and a complete view of their money that helps make everything clear and simple to understand. It started as a “make something useful for us” strategy.

On the path there, advisors started to contact us about using Blueleaf with their clients, and we learned a few important things. (1) Advisors had challenges serving people like us, the “mass-affluent,” and as a result the number of exceptional advisors serving our market was limited. (2) Some of my experience in the advisory business from almost two decades ago is still surprisingly relevant (other parts, not so much).

So we set aside our assumptions about the way the advisory business worked, and worked to replace those assumptions with data. We’ve spent countless hours digging into the problems advisors face to understand what’s really going on in the business and how we might help.

It turns out that many advisors struggle to turn a profit serving people who have wealth but are not yet wealthy. More precisely, it’s challenging for fee-based or fee-only advisors to build a nest egg along with their clients because of ill-fitting business models. Despite those challenges, many advisors continue the struggle to serve these people and make a living.

The advisors who want to stay and fight and serve regular people rather than moving up to serve the wealthy are the good guys, and I admire them. They have real business challenges — and terrible technology that complicates their lives rather than streamlining their businesses. Worst of all, vendors in the market continue to push technology that doesn’t necessarily solve advisors’ underlying business problems.

To be workable in serving these clients in the middle, the advisory business needs to be dramatically more scalable in both attracting and serving clients. In many ways it’s a business still in its adolescence, particularly the management science.

This is where Blueleaf comes in.

We want to help advisors simplify their businesses and make client service and client acquisition dramatically more scalable. We’ll do this by bringing together the very best of what we’ve learned in financial services and other industries, and throw away old broken assumptions about what technology can do.

We are working to create a platform where the technology just works, disappearing into the background, so advisors can grow their business and serve clients.

That’s the way it should be and it’s our mission to make it happen. I hope you’ll come along for the journey.

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John Prendergast John Prendergast is the co-founder and CEO of Blueleaf. He serves on the board of WiredTiger, a developer cloud optimized databases. He is also the founder and organizer of the Lean Startup Circle Boston. In addition to his decade and a half as an entrepreneur, John spent nearly a decade as an investment banker and financial advisor.