Legg Mason Takes the Robo-Advisor Plunge
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Friday, July 08, 2016

Legg Mason Takes the Robo-Advisor Plunge

Legg Mason [profile] is taking the robo-advisor plunge.

The Baltimore, Maryland-based investment management firm is acquiring a majority equity stake in robo-advisor platform Financial Guard. Legg Mason is targeting DC advisors among others. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Legg Mason will welcome a team of seven from Financial Guard once the transaction closes, Mary Athridge, Legg Mason spokeswoman, tells MFWire. "As the business grows, we’ll look to expand and resource it appropriately," she adds.

Legg Mason made the acquisition "as a value added offering for our distribution partners, particularly the mid-size brokerage firms and independents," says Athridge, adding:

Initially, we will introduce the technologies to broker/dealers, wealth management home offices, recordkeepers, plan sponsors and advisors in the defined contribution area as a digital solution that can help support their business and potentially help them meet their obligations under the new DoL fiduciary standard.

Financial Guard's technology platform provides portfolio analysis and recommendations for both passive and active investment funds.

"In addition to the aggregation tools, the Financial Guard technology has a repeatable, measurable system for ranking and grading a large universe of active and passive funds, making it valuable to advisors and their clients," says Athridge.

There will be no immediate changes to the Financial Guard branding, though Athridge tells MFWire "the initial opportunities are going to involve other institutions that will white label the platform."

Financial Guard will begin operating as part of Legg Mason's alternative distribution strategies segment.

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