How CFRs have helped company triple in size

This article was originally published on wealthprofessional.ca on December 6, 2021

Lori Weir, named one of Wealth Professional’s 5-Star Leading Women in Tech, has seen her New Brunswick tech company almost triple in size during the pandemic – and position to double again next year.

“I think the biggest contributor to our growth is the actual regulations that are coming to light around suitability, like the CFRs (client-focused reform),” Weir, who is CEO and co-founder of Four Eyes Financial in Saint John, told Wealth Professional, noting clients need an intelligent compliance platform. “That’s really been a big driver in all this.”

Four Eyes, which launched in 2015, had 12 employees when the pandemic began in 2020 and now has 32.  It has seven head-office clients, with 30 to 750 advisors each, in Toronto and Winnipeg, and it will sign two more this year.

“We are on a growth trajectory, for sure,” said Weir. “We are projecting doubling our client base and the number of our employees in the next year.”

Four Eyes, which introduced its new platform in 2016, began onboarding clients to it in 2019. It adapted it to meet the new CFR requirements, and released a new version this year. It only takes six months to install, and Weir said it has attracted several new clients since ”we were able to clearly demonstrate that we could help them meet regulatory requirements in the shortest possible time.”

Four Eyes specializes in helping wealth management advisors ensure clients are investing in the right products to meet their risk tolerance and financial goals. Its product delivers several features. The front-end client portal has a discovery zone, so advisors and clients can communicate and compare products. The mid-office portion has an advisor dashboard to engage clients, and the back-end assesses product suitability, so the compliance team can alert advisors to anything unsuitable. It also makes it easy for firms to provide information for regulatory review.  Weir said Four Eyes also plans to roll out a pre-trade analyzer to further help advisors with product selection suitability in 2022.

As for how the CFR tech rollout is going for its clients, Weir said, “we have a number who’ve deployed and are ready to roll, others who are very close, and some, by their own planning, have chosen to have things roll out in Q1 of 2022.”

But, many firms see this a pivotal point to consider what other regulatory oversight may eventually be required, and begin to consider how to address compliance with an end-to-end solution through their whole value chain So, the Weir said the timing of Four Eyes’ launch and capitalization on the CFR changes has been fortuitous.

“It’s just one of those moments in life where things that are really important come together to encourage not only the technology providers and vendors to be innovative, but also the clients, and for the independent wealth firms and advisors to embrace this, and I see all of those things happening at once,” said Weir.

“My experience working with the industry is that advisors absolutely want to select suitable products for their clients, and they have different mechanisms and ways to do that. Our job is to make that a whole lot easier for them.”

While Four Eyes is focused on the Canadian wealth management industry, it’s begun to look at the U.S., too.

“I’m very optimistic about the investment industry and its growth,” said Weir as she readies for more next year.

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