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wealthtech on deck podcast - Jack Sharry

Celebrating 150 Episodes of WealthTech on Deck with Jack Sharry

WealthTech on Deck has become a go-to podcast for industry professionals seeking insights and perspectives on the future of financial advice. In the first 150 episodes, the podcast has featured a wide range of guests from across the wealth management industry, and provided listeners with valuable insight into the changing landscape of financial services.

In this episode, Jack Sharry, EVP and Chief Growth Officer at LifeYield, reflects on the first 150 episodes of the show. He highlights five important themes shaping the future of financial services: the rise of the Unified Managed Household (UMH), tax optimization, retirement planning, organic growth, and the impact of AI in wealth technology. Jack also shares lessons learned from the show’s guests, who are a fascinating collection of strategists, disruptors, thinkers, doers, innovators, and business leaders who chart the future of their companies and the industry.

What Jack has to say

“Taxes are the single biggest cost investors incur, and they’re complicated. The biggest impact of improving outcomes comes from minimizing taxes. The more accounts you manage tax efficiently, the better the clients’ results—that’s tax alpha.”

– Jack Sharry, EVP and Chief Growth Officer, LifeYield

Read the full transcript

Jack Sharry: Wow. 150 episodes of WealthTech on Deck, what a milestone. Three years of weekly podcasts with the best and brightest in our industry. We’ve had 143 guests, 18,000 listeners, 40,000 downloads on our WealthTech on Deck podcast, all focused on the confluence of digital and human advice and its future. And the numbers keep growing. As I understand it, most podcasts don’t last that long. It feels like we’re just hitting our stride, to be honest. As we celebrate 150 episodes and record this podcast in April of 2024, we are booked through the summer with many more interesting stories and narrators in store. You may ask, and I know we do, why has this podcast resonated with so many people in our industry? It’s our guests. Our listeners want to hear from the people we are honored to have on our show. Our guests come from across the wealth and asset management, annuity, workplace, and fintech spectrum. They come from the largest financial firms in the world, to the smallest. Our guests are a fascinating collection of strategists, disruptors, thinkers, doers, innovators, and business leaders who are charting the future of their companies and our industry. Together, we’ve created a dedicated community of friends who enjoy tuning into the conversation we have each week with those who have taken the lead on where we need to go in an industry that is dedicated to improving financial outcomes for all. This is our 151st podcast. I thought I’d take the opportunity to weigh in on the many lessons we’ve learned. I’ve asked our executive producer and LifeYield’s VP of Marketing, Matt Nollman, who has been with me every step of the way on this journey, to join me in a conversation about some of the key learnings from where we were three years ago as we began WealthTech on Deck. Matt, the host chair is yours, take it away.

Matt Nollman: Thanks, Jack. It’s been a really fun ride, honestly, learning from all the different people in the industry, learning from all of our guests, hearing the history of our industry, which to me, as a younger player in our industry, that was really important to me to learn, but also where we’re going. So I’ve learned a lot about what’s important, what people find interesting, where people see the world going, and what’s actually useful to improving outcomes in our industry. So let’s get into it. Jack, what are some of the most important themes from our podcasts that you find most intriguing and important for our future? And maybe you’ll provide some perspective on them and help our listeners benefit from what you’ve learned as well?

Jack Sharry: Sure. So I came up with five headlines talking to you, talking to our colleague, Anne Condon, thinking it through. This is something I really wanted to put some attention and focus on. So we’ve come up with five headlines. We’ll get into each one in a moment. But let me start with number one. So the UMH, the unified managed household, is coming, slow, but sure, but not fast enough. Number two, minimizing taxes is job one. It is the most important issue for consumers, advisors, and firms. Period. And multi account technology is the only path to success. Three, the tables have turned, consumers are telling us what they want. I grew up in an industry where we told them what we thought they should want. And they are rewriting the retirement script. So let’s pay attention to that. And we’ll talk about that in a moment. The metric of success for every firm, this is number four, is organic growth, net new assets. Most of the other stats, frankly, are just noise. We’ll define what organic growth means and why it’s so important. And number five, we’re in for a great awakening in wealth technology. It’s spelled AI, but it’s not what you think it will be and we’ll talk some more about that.

Matt Nollman: That’s fascinating, I think. So, I mean, those definitely hit the nail on the head with all the different pieces that we’ve learned from all the different conversations we’ve had. But let’s start with number one. We’ve written a lot about UMH over the past few years and even, even more, but it’s coming, slowly, but surely. But I think we all agree it’s not coming fast enough. So most firms are still struggling to wrap their arms around the entire concept and all the different pieces involved in it. So why is this number one on your list? And why do you think it’s potentially the most important here?

Jack Sharry: Because it’s what investors want and need. The UMH’s premise is simple. The execution is hard. Wicked hard, as we say in Boston. Here’s what I’ve been saying for 30 years. I literally have been talking about this for at least 30 years, probably a little more. But only recently have we been seeing things changing and moving forward to really provide what investors need and want and frankly, have not been getting. The typical investor our podcast audience serves has their money spread among two to four advisors. These investors have separate accounts both qualified and non qualified. And they’d like to have all of their accounts managed in a coordinated way to address the essential issues of cost, risk, taxes, and Social Security. These four elements are the best way to improve financial outcomes over time. And as investors accumulate and withdraw assets, they want their money to grow. And they want to keep as much money as they can over time.

Matt Nollman: I mean, Jack, we’ve spent a lot of time breaking this down and trying to make it sound really simple. And I think we’ve finally hit a point where when you speak about it, it really does sound simple. But we know from working with some of the industry’s largest and most complex firms that it’s not a walk in the park to kind of put it all together. So can you expand on this maybe a little bit more for our audience?

Jack Sharry: Sure, sure. So again, the premise is simple. The execution as you’ve pointed out, is hard. But technology has advanced so much that it’s now available and slowly becoming more widespread. And my prediction is it will become the industry standards inside the next five years. My longtime friend and colleague, Len Reinhart, coined the term unified managed household, UMH, decades ago. He and his firm that he founded, Lockwood Advisors, wrote the first white paper on the topic in the year 2000. Len has been on our podcast talking about UMH in the history of advisory services, including a Legends of WealthTech episode we did with Len and Lockwood’s number two employee, Jim Seuffert. I can make the argument that Len and his team invented managed money. Len, of course, credits others, but I really think he’s the leader. While UMH sounds simple, the industry systems weren’t built for a unified anything. Systems were built to manage single accounts, because that’s all there was in the beginning. We sold and serviced one product at a time, starting with mutual funds going way back to the early 1980s. And we were naive to think that one product at a time was sufficient. As the financial services industry grew, consumers bought more products and took advantage of workplace retirement plans. They were working toward making things happen for what mattered most to them, paying for children’s education, buying homes, and retiring comfortably. But the products they bought and the accounts they opened had different tax treatments, things became more and more complicated. And that brings us to where we are today. It’s a very… I have often referred to this… Most consumers have a jumble of stuff.

Matt Nollman: Well, correct me if I’m wrong here, Jack. But that’s why LifeYield’s founder started LifeYield back in 2008, with the idea of using the tax advantaged properties of each account type to eliminate tax drag while people accumulated wealth and when they needed to take income from their portfolio.

Jack Sharry: Yes, that is the fundamental premise. The industry is just now catching up to this way of thinking.

Matt Nollman: So can you talk a little bit about the shift to multi account management and the UMH. I know it’s been a long time coming. And you’ve talked about this for a while. And we’ve strategized about talking about this for at least a few years now. So why don’t you talk about the shift, how it came about, and some of the things that have influenced the shift along the way.

Jack Sharry: So as we got started 16 years ago, we joked when we first started talking with folks, these are frankly friends of mine from the industry that we started with, talking about people who are important jobs at important firms. But as we explained multi account tax smart management, the consistent response was, interesting. Kind of befuddled, confused a little bit, intrigued. And it took at least four meetings for them to get their heads around what we’re introducing. Of course, that’s changed, now it only takes two meetings. I’m just kidding. But the point is that it does take a while for firms that have been have been brought up in the industry on a single account mindset, because that’s just all there was to fully understand the complexity around all that goes into tax smart multi account management, it’s complex, there’s no way around it. In fact, we started a special series of WealthTech on Deck episodes we’re calling WealthTech in the Weeds. We’ve had Rose Palazzo on, we’ve had Charles Smith on, we’ve got shows coming up with Eric Lordi, with Roger Paradiso, just did one with him yesterday. So a lot of the folks that have been actively involved in building comprehensive platforms are going to be on the show. My guests for this series are all people who have built and are building comprehensive advice platforms. And we get in the weeds about the challenges along the way and the lessons learned. We started this series because of all the time we spend educating the marketplace on the complexity of it all. As an example, Matt Belnap, was the associate research director at Cerulli when we had him on the podcast over the past year or so. And he is now vice president of product management at LPL. He told us that the Cerulli research found UMH is the “holy grail.” But every time that Cerulli surveyed firms, enabling financial advisors to have a complete and total view of all of the clients accounts was always “two years away.” It still is. So some of the other folks we’ve talked to on the podcast who have weighed in on this, who have built it and done it, Rose Palazzo. She led the build of the closest thing we’ve seen to UMH yet, watch her do it again as she recently left Envestnet and she’ll be doing this at her new home, which I don’t believe has been announced, but she’s already there. So stay tuned for that. Rose was our first guest on WealthTech in the Weeds. We also had folks like Ed Murphy at Empower, Aaron Schumm at Vestwell, Brian McDonald at Morgan Stanley At Work. All are building a variety of capabilities, all of whom have been on the podcast describing those capabilities for the workplace channel. Lots of folks are now looking ahead to what I call the largest tectonic shift, which is the convergence of workplace and wealth management. Early days still, but just ask another podcast guest, Jed Finn, who now heads Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, that includes Morgan Stanley At Work, includes Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, watch what they do over the coming years, that’s… I predict those things will start to come together. Reed Colley, who’s the CEO of Summit Wealth Systems and Michael Liersch, who’s head of advice and planning at Wells Fargo. They’ve been podcast guests for us. And we’ve talked about how they do innovation, because they’re legit, they’re for real when it comes to innovation. They too will be on WealthTech in the Weeds, we have them coming up shortly. They’re each building platforms with innovative tools designed to connect and coordinate all the advisor tools in the toolbox, and also enable advisors to make deeper connections with clients. As Laura Varas of Hearts & Wallets, another guest, said on our podcast, most of the thousands of investment options a consumer has don’t solve their problems. And most don’t help an advisor either. She told us it’s like a $15 bottle of merlot, the world doesn’t need another $15 bottle of merlot. It doesn’t need another mid cap value fund. I’d add that the world doesn’t need another direct indexing product either. There’s much more work to be done here about. But step by step, inch by inch, our industry is moving toward connecting and coordinating all the accounts in a household, otherwise known as a UMH, a unified managed household. It’s coming, it’s gonna take some time, but it’s coming. And a lot of firms are well underway in terms of making that reality real.

Matt Nollman: Let’s pull on this thread a little bit, Jack, and move on to number two. A related but definitely different topic here. So why don’t you tell us your thoughts on why minimizing taxes is really job number one. And, you know from where I sit and been here for five years now at LifeYield talking about taxes and the importance of it. It’s a really important issue for consumers, advisors, and firms. With technology is really the only way that you can do this at scale with complicated portfolios and a lot of complicated input. So why don’t you talk a little bit about managing taxes and the impact it has and why it’s so important to not only consumers but advisors and their firms as well.

Jack Sharry: So, Matt, the the research I read says clients have given up on beating the market. That was really 80s and 90s thing, they learned the hard way that buying high and selling low doesn’t work. Now it’s about how much they keep. They are concerned about protecting what they’ve built. Look at annuity sales, they’re off the charts. Same with alternatives. And advisory sales continue to grow, where they’ve become the majority of how people want their money managed. It looks to me that people have been building portfolios in a ragtag way for many, many years. And they got the message, they should be diversified. But there’s really no sort of cohesive way that they’re looking at all this. And if you look at the real portfolios of clients who are spread all over the place, it’s anything but connected and coordinated. And that is the big shift underway. How do they maximize the growth of their assets while seeking to protect what they’ve built? If we break it down, consumers want low cost. So as an example, ETFs dominate what is being purchased now. They want to manage risk. Alternatives and annuities are good examples of rapidly growing segments of the marketplace. And of course, risk managed portfolios. Specifically, risk managed models are the rage. So we’re moving in a direction where risk is important. But anytime you manage risk, the flip side of risk is a tax event. So we want to talk a little bit about that.

Matt Nollman: So we know all of these pieces, alternatives, annuities, risk, cost, all of these things are really important. But let’s get into taxes just a bit more and talk about why we think, especially at LifeYield, they’re perhaps the most important piece.

Jack Sharry: Yeah, so you’re right, and, frankly, talk to any of the major firms that have done studies on this, like Vanguard, and EY, and Morningstar, and many more taxes are the single biggest cost investors incur. Period. And they’re complicated. They just are. The biggest impact of improving outcomes comes from minimizing taxes. And the more accounts you manage tax efficiently, the better the clients’ results. That’s tax alpha. Frankly, that’s one of the reasons Morgan Stanley’s business has grown so rapidly, they give cause for asset consolidation. Another guest, Amanda Lott of JPMorgan private bank, compared tax efficient wealth management to helping clients squeeze every last drop of juice out of an orange. She said that in her view, tax efficiency is easier to achieve than investment alpha, I would agree, by the way. Mass affluent and high net worth investors alike have a lot to gain from advisors applying principles of tax efficiency, particularly asset location to their portfolios. In fact, all investors get they can’t control the markets, but they can see they should pay only the taxes they need to. But it’s not only the high net worth and affluent investors who can benefit. And here’s an example, we work with a small firm called Playbook. At Playbook, its founder, David Hegarty, said their app helps investors, “beat the tax man,” by pointing them to where to put their money to grow wealth and minimize taxes.

Matt Nollman: Playbook is a really interesting example for me, given the speed of innovation and the speed that they’ve been able to take everything to market, especially to the younger audience, I definitely, personally appreciate their focus on that core group. So let’s turn the tables here a little bit and move on to number three. Consumers are telling us what they want, as you kind of said earlier in the episode, and they’re rewriting the retirement scripts from top to bottom. So what are investors telling us that they want? And from your perspective, Jack, and talking to some of the most influential executives at some of the largest firms that are shaping this trend? How are these firms planning to deliver on this?

Jack Sharry: So there’s two sides to this, there’s the hard side, which is cost, risk, tax, and Social Security. Those are ways that you can move the levers to reduce costs, to manage risk, to address taxes, and of course, Social Security, there’s ways to maximize the results from that. The soft side is understanding the consumer, which frankly, as an industry, we’ve not always been so good at. We kind of more tried to dictate and now things are changing, I think that’s healthy for everybody. A few weeks ago, BlackRock CEO, Larry Fink, wrote a shareholder’s letter blasting the industry for not doing more to see that that workers are prepared for retirement, to quote him, “As a society, we focus a tremendous amount of energy and helping people live longer lives. But not even a fraction of that effort is spent helping people afford those extra years.”

Matt Nollman: That’s a good point.

Jack Sharry: So one thing we’re not doing well enough is tapping the power of asset location across multiple accounts for investors who seek to accumulate wealth, that is the most powerful way to improve outcome. We’ve measured it, we’ve studied it, all the studies from Vanguard on down have pointed that out. They don’t do it, but they talk about it. And studies have shown the clear benefits. So asset location outshines anything else an investor can do to minimize tax drag on their portfolios, yet few are delivering. Few, meaning the firms are delivering in terms of how they operate. Instead, they ballyhoo the benefits of direct indexing and tax harvesting. So don’t get me wrong, Matt, you and I have talked a bunch about this.

Matt Nollman: Yeah.

Jack Sharry: Both are good strategies, but on their own, they’re limited. I’m looking forward to talking to our friend, Jacqueline Reardon, from Franklin Templeton. She’s joined us over the past few years in talking about Franklin Templeton’s Voice of the American Worker survey. So we’ll get a, in an upcoming episode, we’ll feature Jacqueline unpacking the results of this year’s survey. I took a peek at the survey findings and this jumped out. Employers and employees are out of sync about the most needed financial benefits. American workers are increasingly stressed about their financial health. Many rate its importance higher than their physical or mental health. Financial firms should take note, along with employers. Our industry is woefully behind helping investors transform their investments and savings into income. And they still aren’t getting the support they need with a few notable exceptions like Morgan Stanley’s intelligent withdrawals capability, all this is about how to maximize their retirement income. That’s why people are saving and investing, especially in that target market, that mass affluent and high net worth, that is what they’re most interested in.

Matt Nollman: So, Jack, let’s talk about retirement income a little bit. We’ve been working with a few large annuity providers in the industry on visualizing the impact of some of the new, innovative products we’re developing and especially around guaranteed income. So why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about what we’ve learned in the sector.

Jack Sharry: So when it comes to annuities, it’s been fun to innovate with our friends in the annuity world and on the retirement income front. Want to give a shout out to the industry. They’ve been modernizing annuities and seeking ways to incorporate guarantees for accumulation and income as part of a full portfolio. We work with many of the largest annuity carriers and we’ve had many guests from the annuity industry, people like Jasmine Jirele, our friend who is the Allianz life CEO, and a few of her colleagues like Corey Walther, Chad Virgin, and some others. We have old friends like Tom Buckingham of Nassau Financial Group, Tim Seifert from Lincoln Financial Group, David Lau from DPL. They’ve all been on. Paula Nelson of Global Atlantic and David Blanchett from PGIM DC solutions, and many others have joined our conversation. Annuities have taken a lot of flack for a lot of years around being too costly and oversold. That’s changed. Annuity manufacturers and distributors have brought down the costs and keep getting better at tailoring products to meet consumers’ needs. Consumers are drawn to guarantees and tax advantages. And with the cost structure innovations now available, people want what annuities offer. It’s clear, annuity companies have been breaking sales records for two years straight, 2022 and 23. And I think that trajectory will keep going from all I’m hearing. There’s lots of money out there. The question is who will take the investors’ interests to heart. According to Chip Roame of Tiburon Strategic Advisors, more than $170 trillion will be in motion in roughly the next 20 years. It’s time for firms to figure out how to acquire clients through effective and beneficial ways of consolidating their assets, securing clients’ retirement goals and dreams, and limiting the tax drag on their portfolios.

Matt Nollman: So, very interesting, I definitely am picking up what you’re putting down on this subject, Jack. But let’s switch gears a little bit to number four on your list. One thing we’ve talked about a lot lately, between you and I and something we’ve written about in FA Magazine is organic growth, which is really the number one metric of success for every firm that we’ve been hearing, meaning net new assets and how they acquire that. So what does organic growth really mean? And how are firms looking to solve for the challenge of organic growth given the trajectory of our industry?

Jack Sharry: So this picks up from my last point about listening to investors and listening to the marketplace. I recently wrote an article for Financial Advisor Magazine asking what’s happened to organic growth and wealth management. Growth has been lackluster in our industry for a long time. At the recent Tiburon CEO Summit, Chip Roame said that net flow has ticked up a bit in 2023 to 3.5% up from 2.4% the year before. To my brothers and sisters in the financial services industry, do numbers like that get you excited? Do they make you proud? I know they’re concerning to me. And as Chip pointed out, the metric of success in organic growth is net new assets. The industry’s dominant leaders in the net new asset category are: Fidelity, in order by the way, Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard, Morgan Stanley, and BlackRock, according to Chip’s 2023 analysis. And the firms next in line are JP Morgan, Edward Jones, Merrill, and LPL. What is interesting, and the discussion I will be having with Chip on this podcast soon, we’re gonna have him on back on the show, as we’ve had him many times is that these firms by and large are the growth rate, take them out of the equation and the industry has negative growth. Of course, firms try to draw in net new assets in many ways. The surest way to enable their advisors to persuade investors to consolidate their accounts with them first, and then prove the value of their advice is by limiting the tax drag and maximizing the accumulating growth of assets available to retirement and other goals. That is the hard side of organic growth, having the technology in place to manage risk and give cause for asset consolidation. And it’s through tax minimization, really generating tax minimization at scale. The softer side of this is, as my friend Nalika Nanayakkara from EY told me to accept that the most… that most investors are not rational, and tend to use their emotions more than logic to build their decisions on money and investing. She said advisors need to acknowledge that and prepare to work with investors with new frameworks for activities like financial planning, goal setting, and risk tolerance assessment. I hope firms listen to her, I recommend you listen to her podcasts, she is very articulate about this. But in my experience, more often, firms tend to do what they want with what they can. Before any company starts working earnestly on a new product idea, it should take a long pause and ask itself and its potential investors, is this truly solving a problem? And will it increase flows overall and create net new assets? Two seemingly good ideas that aren’t drawing assets, in fact, they’re in a downward trajectory, certainly not drawing assets as hoped or expected are ESG and direct indexing. That’s what I heard at the Tiburon conference. So both are good ideas. Both are something investors should want. But frankly, they aren’t voting with their, with their purchases. So to my sisters and brothers in the industry, products aren’t the solution. They’re part of the solution. Comprehensive portfolio level advice is the future.

Matt Nollman: You know, Jack, I couldn’t agree more with you. I mean, we’ve been working together now for almost five years, which is kind of insane. But at this point, I’ve been drinking the Kool Aid a little bit and all of that is extremely important. So…

Jack Sharry: Sure, sure.

Matt Nollman: Let’s switch gears just a little to the buzzword of the moment, which is a buzzword right now, but I am very confident is going to be a major theme of disruption in our industry, AI. It’s being discussed across the industry, all different shapes and sizes. People are are determining right now whether it’s impactful, is it not? What direction are we going to take? What pieces of our industry will it influence first and into the future? So what about your last headline? You know, we’re in for a great awakening in wealth technology and it’s spelled AI, what a great line. But it’s not what you think it’s going to be, its application is definitely to be determined. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, especially after the past month or so where we’ve had a few different experts around the industry discussing AI and the path that they’re going to take within their respective firms.

Jack Sharry: Yep, so I’m not an AI expert. I’m trying to become one. But as we all know, you can’t go anywhere these days without, whether it’s in the industry or a neighborhood gathering, everyone’s talking about AI, trying to figure it out and say it’s gonna be the future. I got it. I got it. It’s all true. It’s impossible to escape the clamor, and we shouldn’t. I’ve had several guests who have put AI into perspective for our industry, they’ve had interesting things to say. Jud Mackrill of Milemarker and Mammoth Technologies said succinctly, AI is just the next way to work. Companies like Morgan Stanley and others are already using large language learning models to extract answers from thousands of reports and data repositories. Now searches that took hours can take seconds and produce much sharper results. This is a tremendous potential for giving financial advisors the ability to flatten the time they use to spend for, on research, data analysis and client presentations and reports. Jonathan Michael, founder of AdvisorX AI, said AI will help turn advisors into super advisors. Jud Mackrill predicted that someday AI will handle 80% of the reading, researching, processing, analyzing and data crunching that most people in financial services do today. And he said that the 20% that’s left over, that’s where human intelligence and skills will shine. In fact, that’s really where I think we’re all going. It’s that combination, that, something we’ve talked about now for many years, the confluence of human and digital advice. Another guest I enjoyed speaking with was Dr. Vinay Nair. Vinay is the CEO and founder of AI… the AI tech firm, TIFIN, a strategic partner to many asset, insurance, and wealth management firms. They’ve been doing some very good stuff, very cool stuff. He said, a lot of what we’re talking about, at the end of the day, will be a human and AI collaborative experience. Amy Young would agree. She heads strategic partnerships in financial services for Microsoft, you may have noticed Microsoft is a leader in AI technology. Amy said the way firms create alpha in this business is by identifying relationships between things that the rest of the market does not. So imagine how powerful AI already is. It will be aggregating the data from a pantheon of sources like SEC reports, earnings, news releases, and other sources and extracting the insights. And one of the things that I found particularly interesting that Microsoft is doing that Amy shared with us on the podcast is that Teams will be the the place where the presentations will take place with clients. It’s designed to bring all the information together, to keep track of it, and to present to clients in a more succinct and powerful way, compelling way over time. So the same holds true for all the data each of us leaves in our wake. We’ll be searching the internet, scrolling, social media, and emailing. With her tongue in cheek, Amy even wrote a blog a few years ago, called “My vacuum cleaner knows more about me than my financial advisor.” Interestingly, she wrote this a few years ago and well before the AI rage took over. So, Matt, we got some interesting things ahead. And I know there’s one more person we want to talk about.

Matt Nollman: Sure. I mean, we’ve talked a lot about AI here. Any last notes on AI before we wind this conversation down?

Jack Sharry: Sure, Sandy Kaul’s job at Franklin Templeton is to identify technology trends to learn where the next disruption will come from. And she has an intriguing observation that she shared with us on the podcast, and I’ll leave it with you. The next generation of AI will know our patterns and preferences so well, it will in effect create a personal assistant for each of us. So rather than Alexa bothering me to tell me there’s a book recommendation based on my last audible purchase, my Jack’s assistant will present my schedule, suggest I need to make a reservation for dinner for the next night, and alert me to a gallery opening I might like to attend. So, that sounds good to me. But what my hope is is that AI leads to an easy button for financial advisors. What will the easy button do? It will optimize their clients’ portfolios to address risk, minimize their taxes, optimize their retirement income, combined with Social Security, will coordinate with their workplace retirement accounts, and all their other accounts and holdings. Hello, Siri, are you listening?

Matt Nollman: I see what you did there, Jack.

Jack Sharry: I know she’s listening.

Matt Nollman: She’s definitely listening and if she’s not, Alexa is. But no, Jack, I mean, seriously, thank you for going through all 150 episodes and gleaning all the insights that you’ve been able to pull off. I mean, I know from conversations with other peers around the industry that everybody’s really appreciative of what we’ve been able to pull together and accomplish with this show here at WealthTech on Deck. So, I’ve loved this trip down memory lane, you’ve covered a lot. I know there’s a lot more that we could have discussed, since we’ve had, you know, so many episodes over the course of three years. But as we do on all of our podcasts, we have one last question and my personal favorite, what is something you do outside of work that you are excited or passionate about that people might find particularly interesting or surprising?

Jack Sharry: So I’ve talked about this, I’ve been the guest of my show with you as host a few times, and I’ve talked about this one before, but it’s coming down the, the final throes of it, so I thought I might share it. It’s also not only is important in and of itself, but it’s actually taught me a lot about my my day job at LifeYield and the work I do across the industry. So I’m the president of the board of what’s called Hale Education, it’s 1200 acres of land five miles from Boston. We’re in the process of raising money to create a conservation restriction, it’s been going on over the past five years, we’re going to close the campaign as of June 30 of this year. So we’re coming down to the finish line, we see a clear path to achieve our objective of raising $38 million to conserve this land. When we started, we thought we would get the two towns where we’re located, namely Westwood and Dover, Massachusetts, to kick in $10 million each for that campaign. That didn’t quite work out. Bunch of reasons why, lots of conversation and negotiation, didn’t quite happen. So we raised $38 million from private philanthropic sources. And well, we haven’t raised it yet we’re on our… we’re on the path, we’ve got a lot of work to do. But I’m confident given the quality of our leadership in terms of Eric Arnold, who’s the executive director and the team that’s been involved as volunteers. I think we’re going to do it, I even think we could exceed it potentially after the campaign officially closes on the 30th of June. So but what it’s taught me, as some of you may follow this on LinkedIn, I do a blog periodically called Mad River Reflections. I talk an awful lot about listening, because that’s fundamental, I think, in terms of finding out what your customers want and providing a greater service. And certainly the work we’ve done at Hale and raising this money and make available to essentially 10,000 kids each year get to benefit from this, a lot of kids from inner city Boston that benefit from the work that we’ve done. That… it’s part of the campaign, we’ve had to listen well, we’ve talked to a lot of people, we have an incredible number of Boston billionaires that are contributing to our campaign, which we’re both proud and pleased and shocked and amazed by, but it’s happening. So we’re making it happen. It’s benefited me in my day job. But more importantly, it’s going to benefit a whole lot of families, and it’s going to benefit our community over time. So in terms of what I’m passionate about, that’s my focus to get that done over the next few months and see if we can get to that $38 million milestone which I’m hopeful, confident, and intent on making happen.

Matt Nollman: It’s very cool. Honestly. I know I’ve learned a lot from you and all the different learnings that you take from Hale and all of that and pull it back in and help me level up as well. So I appreciate it. I know the industry appreciates it too. So, Jack, this has been a really great conversation. It’s always fun to flip the camera on and step out from the producers chair into the host chair. But, for our audience, if you’ve enjoyed our podcast here, please rate, review, subscribe, and share here what we are doing at WealthTech on Deck. We’re available wherever you get your podcasts. Jack, thanks again. It’s been a real pleasure.

Jack Sharry: Matt, thanks to you and our LifeYield team who puts this on, Anne Condon, Alyson Dorosky, yourself. And most important of all, thanks to our guests and our listeners. We are honored to have built such a wonderful community of people committed to producing better financial results for one and all. Thanks, everybody.

Matt Nollman: Thanks, Jack.