An Open Letter from Mike Durbin

2016-01-19 11.07.35

When I was given the great responsibility to step in and lead eMoney as interim CEO last September, I walked into a company that, over its 15-plus year history, had grown and evolved in parallel with the exceptional financial advisors it serves, to become the standard for what a planning-led, advisor-centric wealth management technology organization should be: Relentlessly innovative. Fiercely independent. Client-obsessed. And unapologetically driven by a culture of service and loyalty bordering on fanatical.

As the new guy in town, let’s just say the potential challenges were not lost on me.

But neither were the opportunities.

In speaking with eMoney veterans, some with the firm since its inception, it became clear that if we were going to succeed we must not only maintain the company’s brisk pace of innovation – we must accelerate it.  We must not only continue to serve our advisor and enterprise partners with unparalleled passion, we must in fact become veritable extensions of their businesses, reinforcing our infrastructure and reevaluating our products and our processes in order to support scale and their evolving needs.

And so as the pressures from our industry shifted, we embraced our role as an industry leader and readied ourselves to step up to the responsibilities placed on us as such.

As the needs of our clients became more complex, we sharpened our focus and reaffirmed our commitment to our clients with a palpable sense of urgency.

And as the realities of competition descended upon us, we set course to redefine success and write the next chapter in our company’s storied history, together.

Over these last six months, we have achieved much.  And say what you will about Fidelity acquiring eMoney (the first thing you probably said was – wow, great choice), but since the acquisition, we have proven our continued commitment to supporting ALL of eMoney’s clients, remaining custodial/clearing agnostic, and delivering product enhancements regularly and transparently. In fact, the pace of innovation has increased in the last 12 months. New products have been released or announced, including the unbundled emX offering, and the development pipeline continues to move rapidly and thoughtfully. The core executive team remains intact, and eMoney’s innovative culture holds fast.

And that last part can’t be overstated since—and I invite you to confirm this on your own—upon entering the Radnor headquarters you can actually feel the passion and full engagement of the talented group of people that fuel eMoney’s machine. Their successes are driven by a passion for serving advisors and their clients with a fervor and allegiance that I believe has no equal.

But now it is time for me to pass the baton—and the important responsibility to all 350 employees, more than 30,000 financial professionals, and over one million end-clients that comes with it—to a permanent CEO.

Such a company deserves an industry veteran and a technologist who has worked alongside advisors for his entire career and someone who understands the unique dynamic that drives innovation. And so it is with great pride that I announce that Ed O’Brien has been named the new permanent CEO of eMoney Advisor.

This choice is sure to raise a few eyebrows, simply because even a cursory inspection of Ed’s resume indicates that he is a 30-year Fidelity executive.  Yet the fact of the matter is that Ed was selected from a pool of extremely qualified candidates – and we were unwilling to exclude a leader of his caliber simply because he has worn Fidelity green for a long time.

Our first priority was finding an industry veteran who could quickly assimilate into eMoney’s culture of advisor service.  Next, we wanted to ensure that his transition in, and mine out, would be seamless.  And finally, we needed to find someone capable of leading a company that is itself accustomed to leading the way.  With a résumé that spans more than three decades, strong relationships with many of our existing clients and partners, deep knowledge of the channels we serve, and both an excellent and well-deserved reputation for delivering a technology vision that supports the growth of advisors, Ed fits the bill better than anyone out there.

And so when you consider what some pundits and our competitors will undoubtedly be eager to point out, also consider what they were saying 12 months ago – their predictions about what would happen to eMoney have not only been proven inaccurate, but rather the company has thrived. We understand, perhaps more than anyone, how important it is to keep this industry beacon burning brighter than ever.  Fidelity continues to confidently supply the fuel.

Don’t buy it? No problem – actions speak louder than words.  And I welcome you to watch and see for yourself how it continues to unfold.

-Mike Durbin