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CEO and co-founder, benjamin

After joining his father’s established practice after college, Matt Reiner immediately used the high-net-worth-focused firm as a springboard to co-found a spinoff, called Wela Strategies, to serve mass affluent clients. The technology developed for that business served as the basis for another startup called benjamin, a platform for the industry that uses artificial intelligence to allow a firm’s operating systems to communicate with each other and automatically program a virtual assistant to perform routine daily tasks.

The inspiration for Wela came from a demand for services from clients with as little as $10,000 in assets, said Reiner, who is a partner in Wela Strategies and in the original practice Capital Investment Advisors, as well as CEO and co-founder of benjamin. “Mass affluent is an underserved market that needs help. People wanted to work with us and it was up to us to figure out how to do it,” he said.

Automating and standardizing processes, such as using only model-based portfolios, created more time to focus on client relationships, Reiner said. Indeed, Wela now serves about 800 families. “To reach financial goals, human advisers are necessary to navigate the human emotions that come with dealing with money,” he said.

— Deborah Nason