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CircleBlack: Offering Intuitive, useful user experience  

Lincoln Ross, President & CEO, CircleBlack

CircleBlack: Offering Intuitive, useful user experience

Lincoln Ross is a veteran wealth tech executive who is also a passionate entrepreneur. He has also served as the Chief of Business Operations to Envestnet Inc, leading strategic and planning and transformation initiatives. CircleBlack was founded in 2014 to deliver innovative technology to a new generation of financial advisors and institutions and clients. The firm’s software tools uniquely fill an important gap in marketplace by combining data integration and aggregation with ease of use and implementation. They are also focused on deepening its integrations with industry partners and expanding the core functionality of its products. In an interview, he speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:

Conception of CircleBlack

Lincoln says that the wealth management industry needs an intuitive and modern user experience. “Today, to deliver valuable advice to clients, advisors engage with multiple technology tools that are not easy to use and do not integrate well with each other. Clients have a similar experience, the apps they use are disparate with siloed data and functionality.”

Wealth management – challenges galore

Noting that there is an incredible potential in CircleBlack’s hyper-personalized, white-labeled investor portal and mobile apps, Lincoln notes that the firm is set to deliver innovative technology to a new generation of financial advisors and institutions and clients. He cites a recent study which stated that only 40% of high-net-worth investors are satisfied with the personalized offering of their wealth managers. “We will continue to invest in expanding the CircleBlack network with new data interfaces and integration partners enabling a richer experience for clients.”

CircleBack’s solutions

CircleBlack’s modern API architecture represents the next generation of technology for financial advisors. The CircleBlack platform now boasts over 20 direct data aggregation interfaces, bi-directional integrations with 11 best-in-class solutions, over 300 model marketplace portfolio solutions and over 50 interoperable API-driven modules.

Leadership traits

Leadership is about courage, notes this entrepreneur. “Courage to be vulnerable, to make mistakes, to try new ways of working, to make hard decisions, to not do something.  Leadership is also about humility and self-awareness to recognize where you need help, what your gaps are and embrace help from others that can complement you.  Leadership also requires a selflessness to put the team’s aspirations and recognition ahead of your own.  Investing in the success and fulfillment of your team’s hope and dreams creates a powerful virtuous cycle of success.”

He adds that doing hard work, being compassionate, empathetic, steady, thoughtful and modest helps.

“Most people have a negative emotional response to failure.  Leaders need to embrace failure as the most valuable learning opportunity in business. It is not academic or theoretical or case study learning, it is an actual outcome that happened based on a real-life situation in your business. There is no better opportunity to improve than studying a failure.”

Parting thoughts

The wealth space is undergoing profound transformation, notes Lincoln. “Baby boomers will pass $68T to millennials over next 30 years. 50% of millennials want to start investing and saving but do not know where to begin and 75% of millennials would work with an advisor if fees were lower and easier to understand. Startups need to study these trends and make strategic decisions based on their interpretation of the risk and opportunities this transformation presents. Fail fast to learn fast, led by example, be customer obsessed and never stop learning.”

Company: CircleBlack

Website: www.circleblack.com

Management: Lincoln Ross, President & CEO

Founded Year: 2013

Headquarters: Jersey City, NJ

Description: CircleBlack helps over 100 firms and 1,000 advisors transform the financial lives of their clients.