Wealthfront has a new man in charge at the top of the company, with Andy Rachleff — the company’s co-founder and executive chairman — taking the chief executive spot, according to an announcement on the company’s own blog.
Rachleff, who is perhaps most famous for co-founder Benchmark Capital (one of Silicon Valley’s most successful venture firms), launched the algorithmically based wealth management service, Wealthfront, in 2011.
Rachleff will replace Adam Nash, who had been recruited to take over the chief executive position by none other than Rachleff himself.
From managing roughly $100 million in its first year, Wealthfront has grown to manage roughly $4 billion for thousands of account holders.
Rachleff explained his rationale for rejoining the company in the company’s blog post, writing:
Despite this success, I’ve realized that instead of spending less time with the company, I want to spend more. I want to be the one to take Wealthfront through its next chapter where we accelerate our pace of innovation to deliver on the promise we laid out in March; to be the only financial advisor our clients will ever need.
While the stated reason is a desire to take on more of an operational role at the company, Rachleff is rejoining Wealthfront just as the company’s business is facing multiple headwinds.
It’s largest direct competitor in the automated advisory space has outpaced it from a deposit perspective (Betterment has $6 billion in AUM to Wealthfront’s $4 billion) and traditional wealth managers like Charles Schwab have brought their own automated advisory services to market.
It’s a tricky time to be a robo-advisor, but if there’s one thing that Rachleff has shown in his time as a venture capitalist — he knows how to manage money. Let’s see if he can manage a company as well.