A message to all Folio Financial employees, customers, investors and the entire Folio Financial community:

September 19, 2020

As previously announced in May, Folio Financial, Inc. (“Folio”) agreed to become part of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (“Goldman Sachs”). Now, we are so pleased to announce that Goldman Sachs has successfully completed its purchase of Folio. The acquisition represents both the culmination of a journey we embarked upon 20 years ago and the dawning of a brilliant, new future for our company, our employees, and those we serve.

Today, and now as part of Goldman Sachs, our mission endures and is further amplified. We are ideally positioned to continue to innovate and reach even greater heights on behalf of our clients and business partners. We delight in the opportunities that will be provided to our employees. And, we know that with Goldman Sachs’ remarkable global resources, Folio’s technology, innovativeness, and dedication to our shared pledge to improving the financial outcomes of all we serve, we will be able to launch the next phase of our journey with great resolve and commitment.

I extend deep thanks to my colleagues at Folio for their steady commitment to our mission and principles and the many millions of hours they have invested in our collective endeavor over the last two decades, including the nights and weekends when that’s what it took to get the job done for our customers. I must also thank all the families of my colleagues for their support when we sometimes made demands on time that conflicted with life. Without that support we would not have succeeded. And, I thank my wife, Kathy, who helped me start this company as a hope and a dream that we could do something good and whose advice, insights, and encouragement made all this possible.

I also thank everyone who believed in what we set out to do twenty years ago, even before we proved it in practice: Thank you also to our investors, for their advice and guidance, and to our Board for their time and dedication. All of us at Folio are grateful to the advisors, customers and industry partners for the relationships we have forged over the past two decades. Without your support and willingness to believe in our mission, none of it would have been possible.

Thank you also to our new colleagues at Goldman Sachs. We are thrilled to be part of the firm and look forward to working with you. Thank you for seeing the uniqueness of what we have built at Folio and for this opportunity to bring our offering to a much wider audience.

Now, if you will allow for some indulgence, I invite you to look back on what we’ve done together. It’s been an exciting ride.

In 2000, Folio was created to revolutionize the way people invest for the better. Our intent was to enable and encourage investors to deploy the proven principles of superior long-term investing – principles long-practiced by many of the world’s largest pensions, endowments, family offices and other long-term investors: diversification, personalization and customization for specific needs, consistency in investing, low-cost and tax efficiency. Through two decades of remarkable dedication by the devoted and talented employees of our firm and the support of the advisors and investors we serve, we evolved into what we have become today: a unique brokerage, custodian, and technology company, all-in-one, delivering advanced financial technology and investment solutions to our customers. Throughout, we remained true to our principles and our promise to investors, by innovating and leading the way in a number of areas including commission-free trading, values-based investing, and fractional-share and diversified investing programs. Seeing other firms, including our competitors, subsequently adopt these principles is something we have welcomed, knowing that the needs of American investors and their families were being increasingly met, and that our unbending belief in the promotion of a better way to invest was being validated.

We are proud of the historical markers that shaped Folio into the company we have become. From our foundation as an online brokerage firm, to our decision to build what would become our flagship business - providing Registered Investment Advisors with unparalleled technology, custodial and brokerage services - we have expanded our market reach and earned business and trust.

From our inception, Folio was also focused on ensuring that investing could be used not only to do well, but also to do good. We were the first brokerage to offer all investors various screens to allow them, with one-click, to invest with their values. Our subsequent acquisition of First Affirmative Financial Network and the SRI Conference brought our firm to the forefront of socially responsible, ESG (environmental, social and governance), and values-based investing and thought leadership. We are excited for First Affirmative, which will now begin the next chapter in its story by becoming a newly independent entity with Goldman Sachs’ backing. Goldman Sachs will be retaining, as part of the Folio acquisition, the SRI Conference and Community and will continue to foster its growth. The SRI Conference and Community has earned respect as one of the largest, longest-running, and preeminent ESG-focused conferences in the world and will complement Goldman Sachs’ commitment to ESG investing and thought leadership.

Our two-decade odyssey has delivered meaningful technological and investment offering breakthroughs to our clients and industry. We pioneered the paperless, fully online account opening process for advisors’ clients. We led the way in thematic investing with the creation of Ready-to-Go Folios – baskets of securities built and traded by tickers and weights – an approach that has since been adopted by numerous firms. Our SMA offerings and our Model Manager Exchange present advisors and their clients with expansive ways to convert their financial goals into effective investment strategies. Our model management technology truly enables scalable, customizable investment management, and remains the leader in the industry, allowing an advisor to manage hundreds, to tens of thousands, of accounts with internal or third party portfolio managers, all in a UMA like experience, with just a few clicks.

We also innovated in other areas - we were the first to introduce a fully online proxy voting and corporate governance facility to encourage investors to vote online, right from their accounts. We also created and then spun-out a full technology stack and our then existing business of proxy voting advisory services. We introduced direct indexing capabilities that allow advisors to create completely customizable indexed investments. We constructed our patented Tax Football, designed to allow clients to view graphically and then implement an entire strategy for an account to help maximize after tax returns. We launched VIA Folio – a private security marketplace that helps firms raise equity capital through our robust technology-enabled brokerage platform, and to trade private securities. And most recently, we unveiled our Digital Wealth Platform, a landmark digital offering with the potential to transform traditional advisory practices and redefine face-to-face advice for an industry in dire need of new ways to connect advisors and investors. The combination of utilities provided by the DWP is unprecedented as a unified offering.

So, once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. And, I look forward to continuing the adventure and working with you in my new role at Goldman Sachs.


SW signature JPEG

Steven Wallman
Folio Financial, Inc.