Historically, wealth managers have offered consumers a choice: either put their money on autopilot (through an offering like Vanguard’s low-fee ETF) or — if they’re wealthy enough — have it actively managed by an adviser somewhere like Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley Private Wealth. As we wrote in our post Finding the leading wealth management offerings of tomorrow, the choices offered are more a function of necessity than customer desire. Large institutions had to rely on either lower value, more scalable offerings, or higher value, less scalable offerings, because that was the only way to make their economics work. However, this trade-off is only necessary in a world without software.
With technology, there is a way to create a highly scalable, high value service for consumers, and the opportunity this merger creates is why we were so excited to meet The Coterie. Ethan, Jason and Chris have built a brand new wealth management group where the consumer can get as much or more value as they would from a more traditional upmarket offering without the need for an advisor. Coterie recognizes that today’s consumer wants choice, and they don’t necessarily need an advisor to present those choices to them.
The most difficult problem for a new wealth management business to solve without an advisor is how to do wealth management urgent. Money management, taxes and estate planning are always significant, but getting the consumer to want to move quickly requires a compelling initial hook. Coterie addresses these pressing and important issues by offering its clients access to a limited allocation of private investment opportunities typically reserved for the wealthiest and most connected individuals. It then combines these investment opportunities with services such as tax and estate planning. This combination creates an immediate wedge and a significant product suite that can sit alongside more traditional services, and access to The Coterie’s elite inventory of private investment opportunities can provide the same view of financial progress typically reserved for large traditional financial institutions.
While who the company serves will expand over time, The Coterie was originally designed for founders, by founders. This is a team of iterative entrepreneurs determined to solve a problem they faced. Ethan Agarwal founded and grew Aaptiv to more than 1 million paying subscribers, and before that worked in active hedge fund investing. Despite being a successful founder, he was disillusioned with his wealth management capabilities and wanted to solve this problem for others like him. I am lucky enough to be working with Jason Patel again. He and I co-founded and sold SocialDeck to Google and Snowball to CreditKarma, and I’ve watched him build and scale engineering teams for over a decade. finally, Christopher Boyes founded and led Boies Schiller Fleckner for over 20 years and was recognized as one of the top corporate lawyers in the country.
I’m thrilled to announce that we’re leading The Coterie’s Series A and that I’m joining the board. We believe The Coterie represents the wealth management offering of the future — one that provides high-value products in a highly scalable manner while addressing urgency and importance. We are honored to partner with them on this journey. The Coterie is launching publicly today and you can learn more about what they’re up to at thecoterie.co.
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