Retirement planning space 'ripe for modernization'

The retirement software space is seeing increased signs of activity, as advisors seek more sophisticated tools to help clients plan a life after work.

This article was originally posted on Financial Planning on January 11, 2018.

The latest deal is from the retirement planning software firm RetireUp and its acquisition of RepPro, a form-processing fintech company. The deal will add automated back office workflows to RetireUp’s planning platform. The terms were undisclosed.

It comes on the heels of a $30M funding announcement from NextCapital. The Chicago-based firm has earned deals with John Hancock, Russell Investments, Transamerica and State Street, and over $50 million in three rounds of funding to date.


“The robo space has gotten crowded… ” says Aite Group’s research director Alois Pirker about the NextCapital deal. “The retirement space is ripe for modernization.”

RetireUp’s newest offering, RetireUpPro, was introduced as a partnership with RepPro that eventually led to the acquisition, says RetireUp’s president and chief sales officer Michael Roth.

“Advisors were asking for the ability to expedite the filing process and centralize the data and make it seamless and efficient and easy to sift through,” Roth says. “Advisors shouldn’t be spending time on paperwork and compliance; they should be putting time and energy into better financial plans.”

The software combines RetireUp’s retirement planning services along with RepPro’s data integration and filing systems, according to the firm, and offers an “end-to-end” process for advisors. The objective is to create personalized income plans within a half-hour, the firm says.

Close to 50,000 retirement plans have already been built on its platform since the company was founded in 2012, a spokesman says.

Millennials want mobile-first digital advice, and will invest millions on such platforms.

Roth admits that breaking into the advisor fintech marketplace is an uphill battle.

“There’s lots of competition,” Roth says. “We see ourselves doing something very different, but you always have that in the back of your mind.”

The software has a base price of $1,499 per year or $149 a month. RetireUp already has thousands of clients nationwide, Roth says, and is expecting a lot more.

“The elephant in the room is that almost everyone is moving into the RIA space,” Roth says. “As larger institutions move in, there’s going to be a huge opportunity to partner with firms that are still whiteboarding how to address independent advisors that they haven’t been for the last decade.”

Using “smart forms” and “business logic,” the software can also help reduce human error, the firm says.

“We have to drive our distinction deeper,” Roth says. “We have a head start and will have to continue to be innovative if we want to hold on to it.”

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