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BrightScope, Inc.


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http://brightscope.com
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BrightScope, Inc.
filed under: Data and ratings for RIAs


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Mike Alfred: If we tell people they can't engage until they pay, then we're losing 90% of the people from the start.

Brightscope lets advisors get basic entry to its Advisor Pages for free, talks Morningstar deal and pencils in an IPO for about 2017

After two years, less than 1,000 advisors paid for the website and BrightScope hopes free is a better price-point for some
Dan Solin: I think the forces aligned against evidence-based investing are far more powerful than anyone can really appreciate.

The 401(k) industry braces itself for fruits of a CalPERS rethink that reflects a cut-the-crap mentality about active investing

A giant staff of researchers and managers -- not always in accord -- manages $260 billion of assets exerts psychological weight, and active management is losing friends in a place where it once thrived
Michael Kitces: We've sparred back and forth on a couple of things over the past few years.

Two firms that have love-hate relationships with RIAs draft their harshest critics to serve as consiglieres

Advisor-rater BrightScope and tech startup Riskalyze draw two smack-talking industry observers into their inner circle
Mike Alfred: We're showing sensitivity here.

How BrightScope plans to publicize RIA advisory fees fairly amid all those onion layers

One competitor is convinced the Alfreds are merely rewarding fee obfuscation but the San Diego iconoclasts refuse to be discouraged
Charles Goldman: Once you take someone else's money, you have a commitment.

Advizent will close its doors after a final flurry of negotiations

Charles Goldman and Steve Lockshin had a moment of truth after receiving offers for funding
Shiyan Koh: It's like a dating website for advisors.

NerdWallet's lead generation website has 20 Bay area advisors in beta, MIT, Wharton, Brown and Stanford folks running things and a Silicon Valley confidence

For Ask a Financial Advisor, the medium is the (video) message and the specializations include Lutherans
Randy Long: Being willing to serve in a fiduciary role has had a major impact in the growth of the firm.

10 most influential individuals in the 401(k) industry affecting RIAs in 2012, Part 1

Cataclysmic changes are in store RIAs advising retirement plans -- here's who's building up and advocating for this vital sector
Eric Clarke and Chip Roame atop Mount Whitney

How RIA industry execs took on the ultimate teamwork challenge: Conquering the highest summit in the lower 48

Training regimens for the group -- including a Green Beret and a Gulf War veteran -- ranged from crossing the Brooklyn Bridge to Google searches for portable bottles of oxygen
Lou Harvey: The rules on the participant side are a joke.

After years of DOL bluster, new 401(k) rules appear to make RIAs' low expenses look higher than those of brokers

It's the same old problem of mutual fund-paid fees arriving by tunnel and therefore getting a pass in disclosures; DOL no-comments the issue
Rick Meigs: These plans are knowledgeable, well-informed and have sufficient leverage to compel change.

What led to Vanguard allowing its 401(k) plan sponsors to shop around for non-Vanguard target-date funds

Despite the new choices available to plan sponsors, Vanguard believes clients won't stray -- but industry observers are not so sure
Les Abromovitz: The SEC is embracing social media. It remains to be seen if social media users will embrace the SEC.

What the SEC is up to with its website's fancy new look

The redesign is a nod to social media and a recognition that it needs the public
Josh Brown: It's not that I'm so great, but I've seen a lot of ugliness.

'Reformed Broker' and blogger 'Downtown' Josh Brown joins BrightScope's advisory board

On the same day he posts a scathing blog entry about the infamous Goldman Sachs op-ed, financial advisor/web celeb announces his association with the controversial data tracker
Fred Reish: Before, the statement said that you should consider firing the provider but now it's very clear that it's mandated.

DOL tells employers when they must fire advisors to 401(k) plans

The new teeth in the rules went unnoticed by many people amid other changes
Jack Waymire: You do not have to wait for investors to figure out the benefits of transparency on their own.

How exactly RIAs can leverage the new transparency as a marketing tool

Fee-only advisors will reap the benefits of fuller disclosure and here are some ways to highlight your competitive advantage
Terrence Morgan: It wouldn't surprise me if people are stalling and hoping that Phyllis Borzi is fired.

Report of a possible delay in DOL's fee disclosure rule sparks apprehension among advisors and industry observers

Advisors say they can't comply with the rule until they know what's in it but one delay could lead to another
Andrew Salesky: We're very optimistic with the ability to build this model.

The 10 most influential figures in the RIA business going into 2012

The RIA power elite: Part 1 of 2
Shawn Tierney: BrightScope is big. But how well known are they among investors? It seems they're just big among the financial community.

Third-party advisor review sites vie for attention from investors and advisors

Paladin Registry will launch website next year aimed at luring investors on a daily basis
Mike Alfred: Reviews will be in line with the spirit of [compliance regulations] if not in line with the antiquated letter of the law, which was written long before the era of social media.

Brightscope to launch Yelp-like reviews, putting advisors under the consumer microscope

The iconoclastic Alfred brothers' latest innovation will give clients a voice - but experts and advisors fear compliance complications
Frank Noto saw no sun in San Diego as the FPA conference warmed to its task.

An advertiser's-eye view from among the booths of the FPA convention's exhibit hall

Technology companies, Chubb, TD Ameritrade and BrightScope get special notice
Bernie Clark: This is our responsibility.

Schwab to pump millions of dollars into promoting RIAs as a channel

Bernie Clark tells crowd at national FPA conference that it's not about Schwab
Dave Welling may play a pivotal role in whether Advent's Black Diamond acquisition makes the combined entity more like the Google or Microsoft of portfolio management systems.

Five recent articles that show the RIA business just keeps hitting milestones

Advent buys Black Diamond, Carson goes RIA, Duran champions consolidation, Schwab goes full-out into franchises, Brightscope grades RIAs
Joe Mansueto: There’s a need to find the right advisor for you and to evaluate that advisor. There’s a consumer need.

Morningstar's Mansueto views next horizon: rating RIAs

Company announces new forward-looking fund rating systems but how to rate advisors still has puzzling aspects
Michael Alfred: If a plan doesn’t include [TIPS] then they need to explain why.

With inflation on a tear, 401(k) plans look vulnerable and BrightScope publishes a cheat sheet

Some experts are running scared from rising prices and others see this as another false alarm
Andy Rachleff: Am I frustrated I can’t update Brightscope’s database? Sure, but I think they’re doing the right thing for the consumer.

BrightScope debate has familiar feel of an industry being dragged kicking and screaming into the new world

Investing in the Digital Age: Andy Rachleff writes about the freight train of transparency
Advisor Donald Purtill: The government’s records are fine. They have all of the right information and anyone can see it.

Under fire, BrightScope says it will allow advisors to update simple information for free

Company slams SEC as obstructionist
Existing sites that list advisors aren't comprehensive, says Mike Alfred. "The average consumer won’t be able to go on line and find the person who took them to lunch that day.”

BrightScope's huge advisor database is first search-engine friendly way to connect consumers, advisors

Advisors can pay to add information, but disciplinary actions will show up
Ryan Alfred: If you do something disruptive (in the marketplace), it’s going to be polarizing.

BrightScope sticks to its guns as it responds to outspoken critics of its Advisor Pages

The San Diego-based data tracker opens a window on the practices of 450,000 advisors; skeptics say it crosses a line
Raj Udeshi: Even on a Bloomberg terminal which you pay $2,500 a month for, there is no aggregated economic data in one place, all together, where it updates in real time. We've done that for the first time here.

How HiddenLevers is using the web to bring wirehouse-type economic analysis to RIAs

Company offers RIABiz readers interested in beta testing their new product 85% off the price
Mont Levy: We see the DFA advisors looking at this opportunity very closely.

Buckingham expedites turnkey 401(k) strategy by buying a fellow DFA TAMP

Competitors for advisors' business (like that little company, Fidelity) aren't sitting still as demand surges
Tony Ferreira: They’re a victim of the recession.

Some experts question Cogent Research study's finding of big dip in 401(k) plan ownership

The bad economy deterred participation in employer retirement plans but their growth may stay suppressed longer term, researchers say
Scott Pritchard: Many advisors [selling 401(k) plans] recognize the merits of a move to fee-only, but like a drug addict who knows they need to quit, they just can not 'kick the habit.'

RIAs are starting to create their own 401(k) companies as alternatives to John Hancock and The Principal

Capital Directions is building a TAMP for advisors that want to get into the 401(k) business
Heather Underwood goes deep into the made-for-RIA features of BrightScope's website

How BrightScope is using technology to create order in a messy 401(k) market

A San Diego-based company gives a peek behind the curtain of many of the 60,000 largest defined contribution plans
Ryan Alfred: I would have expected Mr. Utkus to do a little bit more research before reaching this erroneous conclusion

Blog battle: Vanguard 401(k) principal and president of 401(k)-tracker have it out over the Internet

Steve Utkus suggests a flaw in BrightScope's system and Ryan Alfred is having none of it

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