Jill Creager, Founder and CEO
Every once in a while, an organization is driven—out of need—to build a technology stack to overcome the complexities in its own business.
Take the example of iPaladin, a Software-as-a-Subscription (SaaS) solution provider that caters to a truly niche segment in fintech—ultra-high-net-worth families.
At the onset, the parent company of iPaladin—a multi-family office (MFO) serving as an advisor to ultra-high-net-worth investors—was hired by a client to manage their complex set of operations, including overseeing and aggregating records of activities with external advisors, and essentially reporting them back.
The client in question had a group of lawyers, CPAs, investment managers, asset managers, and family decision-makers operating through emails and portals. “Sensitive and highly-confidential conversations were happening via email,” recalls Jill Creager, the founder and CEO of iPaladin. Aggravated by the high risk attached to divulging sensitive data over email, operations were mired with inefficiencies as we struggled to keep up with the work and maintain requisite security.
Jill and her team looked to the market for a solution but came up empty-handed, “We noticed that only so much security was available and the collaborative functionality was inadequate for our client’s complex operations.”
As a result, they took matters into their own hands, as iPaladin spun out as a technology company to serve its parent organization and other family offices. A little over ten years ago, iPaladin architected a brand new information management structure—with a blockchain component—specifically to serve the sophisticated needs of the family office and their high-profile clients. Jill explains, “because iPaladin is different, her team was able to empower their services in a way that was not previously possible.”
Today, iPaladin’s Digital Family Office™ platform has emerged as the go-to option for visionary family offices, who are willing to discard manual processes and outdated information systems and take on a new way to create financial opportunities, reduce risk, and preserve institutional knowledge on behalf of the wealthiest families in the country. iPaladin allows professionals to establish a library-type system to classify information as easily accessible knowledge. Also, it effectively absorbs all manual processes—supported via email, spreadsheets, and calendars and desktops. Further, as services and information are interoperable in iPaladin, its unique system of records creates better auditability and compliance, benefiting the client and the professional services teams as a whole, now and into the future.
End-to-End Experience for the Family Office
The SaaS-based platform, hosted on the AWS cloud environment, was designed with a service-first model to support collaboration among different members of a wealthy family and the professionals that serve them, a family office. Be it a family office executive, a family member, an external advisor, or support staff, iPaladin organizes information as knowledge, specially curated to support their role. In other words, the Digital Family Office “minimizes cognitive distractions and increases strategic focus” of its ecosystem.
While designing the platform, iPaladin went against the grain of single-service disparate tools to to achieve a holistic view of a complex family client. A typical tech stack starts with AML and KYC, shifts to account opening, and ends with investment performance, which together only represents a small slice of a complex client’s wealth story. The “holistic” service offering requires far more than the small set of functional data being represented in the stack, causing professionals to manually organize all other client records in email, portals and spreadsheets.
By transforming a chaotic, manual and complex environment into a digitized and streamlined one, we enable our clients to experience an instant efficiency lift of 4
In the event that a family office fails to provide holistic service, it risks jeopardizing its relationship with high-net-worth clients. “These organizations face a gaping disconnect between what’s driving the revenue versus the technology supporting those teams,” states Jill.
This is precisely where iPaladin carved its niche as an operational blockchain solution provider honed-in on just the niche clientele of ultra-high-net-worth families. “As far as I know, no other global operational blockchain solution provider specializes in our niche,” stresses Jill. Rather than focusing on a subset of limited financial transactions, iPaladin created a centralized system where a diverse network of people can collaborate, in one accord, across a distributed set of permissioned ledgers. Professionals tasked with overseeing the network, independently review from a single source of truth. The idea was to create transparency and allow everyone to sing from the same song sheet.
Technology Bolstered by Real Word Experience
The technology—unique in and of itself—is lent credibility by Team iPaladin’s extensive history as a wealth advisor. Jill, with more than 20 years’ experience in family private wealth, has firsthand experience in managing the finances of wealthiest of the wealthiest.
By combing real world experience with a first-of-its-kind platform, iPaladin solves the myriad challenges in the family office space—all the way from asset acquisitions, interactions with clients and external advisors, tax strategizing and transfers to the next generation. Most family offices lack a centralized system to evaluate the operations and performance of every entity, asset, and liability, not to mention the needed conduct to govern shared activities for a vast network of people. “By transforming a chaotic, manual and complex environment into a digitized and streamlined one, we enable our clients to experience an instant efficiency lift of 40 to 50 percent,” says Jill.
A Promise of Security and Privacy
So, what are the measures that iPaladin takes to safeguard client data?
The Digital Family Office, a contained application devoid of third-party systems, combats data breach by eliminating the possibility of vulnerabilities that might infiltrate the cloud-based platform. While iPaladin’s clients are free to integrate with external tools, the Digital Family Office is deployed sans any third-party presence. “We’re not just holding numbers; we’re holding very sensitive documents and decisions based on communications. The containment feature in our system is fortified with the highest military-grade standards, rendering our application a higher level of security than most applications on the market,” elaborates Jill.
Furthermore, to protect data ownership, iPaladin avoids drafting privacy agreements and declares the client as the owner of the data. “As a B2B company, we avoid any analytics, or any activity that diminishes the privacy that they (family offices) share with their own clients,” informs Jill.
The Future of Family Office Fintech
Driving forward, iPaladin is razor-focused on catering to the millennial generation, which expects nothing short of a seamless, digitized experience to manage family wealth. Jill adds, “Soon, we will witness the biggest wealth transfer of our time as baby boomers hand off to millennials. It is why we have developed our solution with an eye to the later component.” This “later component” is ingrained in iPaladin’s philosophy. Jill explains, “When a client hires us, they are not just guaranteed great service today. They receive peace of mind for tomorrow.”
Over the last eight years, iPaladin has already set a number of standards for the family office sector, be it secure communication, the automation of authenticated records, digital signature locks, and access and permission requirements for a diverse set of users. iPaladin is committed to introducing new innovations to its development pipeline. “We’re just at the beginning of the digital, tier-four blockchain front. Besides technology expertise, our ultra-high-net-worth family office experience will continue to set numerous new standards with our existing application in the fintech space,” concludes Jill.