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Rating:What Kills a Robo? A Fund Firm's Sibling Upgrades Its Answer Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, December 23, 2019

What Kills a Robo? A Fund Firm's Sibling Upgrades Its Answer

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The team at a quantitative mutual fund firm's tech affiliate is upgrading their new advisor-assisted robo. They're also looking to connect the program with asset managers with a specific product structure.

Matthew Earl Schreiber
WBI Technologies / WBI Investments
CEO / President, Chief Investment Strategist
Matt Schreiber, CEO of WBI Technologies, confirms that his team is launching Cy 2.0, which will now model withdrawals, too. The WBI Technologies team (the sibling to Red Bank, New Jersey fund firm WBI Investments [profile]) quietly launched CY back in the summer and officially unveiled it at the end of October.

"We have blended simple financial planning concepts along with the investments and human advice," Schreiber tells MFWire. "We believe very strongly in the value of human advice."

Donald Robert Schreiber, Jr.
WBI Technologies / WBI Investments
Chief Visionary Officer / Founder, CEO
Cy, which has been in the works for nearly four years, is designed to draw on a risk-tolerance analysis taken by investors. The idea, Schreiber says, is to figure out the optimal amount of risk (in dollars, not in percentage terms) that's acceptable to an investor, then figure out the investments.

"We're trying to give you as much upside as you're mathematically able to derive," says Schreiber, who is also president and chief investment strategist of WBI Investments. "The overweighted factor is the loss tolerance, because that's what going to cause you to bail and fail."

Looking ahead, the WBI Technologies team is looking to plug Cy into separately managed account (SMA) shops, Schreiber says, and they plan to reach out "to some top SMA firms." Cy's portfolios are built out of mutual funds and ETFs, and SMAs will be available once integrations are made.

"On the SMA side, if there are managers who would like to work with us, we do need to contract with those folks," Schreiber says. "We would be happy to have them reach out to us."

To build Cy's portfolios (several hundred of them), the WBI team uses quantitative analysis to build a bench of available asset managers. The team will be reaching out to firms that make the cut, Schreiber says. (Though a few of WBI Investments' offerings currently make the cut, Schreiber notes that "it's a level playing field" as WBI's own funds only "makes the grade" if it "ends up blending well." There is also a WBI-only version.)

The WBI Technologies team is integrating Cy with other TAMPs and platforms, like BNY Mellon's Pershing. They're also doing API integrations with SmartX and TradingFront. RIAs and B-Ds will be able to white-label Cy, too.

As for the name, it has a bit of a sci-fi origin.

"'Cy' is short for cyborg," Schreiber says. "What kills a robo? Man and machine." 

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