holders through SEC filings, the tool’s
owner, Infinata (a unit of publishing
giant Pearson), employs 200 journalists to track the market for M&A deals,
then try to predict which private companies will go public or get bought
(and by which of their competitors).
The company also tracks layoffs,
so advisors can use the information
to offer to roll over clients’ 401(k)
plans. The company claims it tracks
more than 1,000 public sources,
from SEC forms to niche industry
publications such as Women’s Wear
Daily. “Anything from company
press releases to journals that’s out
there, we’ll go a few steps further,”
says Pablo Lopez, the sales director
a large advisory firm might spend
a year on data searches.
acteristics they want in a client, and
the service will email them every time
someone matching the description
moves to their area.
It also provides an integrated CRM
for those RIAs at small firms that cannot afford Salesforce. Advisors can
buy a single-state license for $4,000,
or a national one for $10,000.
private firms using revenue figures
or data on comparable public companies. The estimate also pulls in everything else the researchers can find,
such as art collections and horses.
Wealth-X staffers also flesh out a
mini-biography, making multiple calls
to people who know the prospect and
also digging out personal nuggets,
such as that an individual “likes to
land his plane in tumultuous water”
or is “driven to help solve this issue in
India because his daughter died when
she was 6.” This kind of research has
been used for fund-raising campaigns
at Ivy League schools, and the company says it works with eight of the
top 10 global private banks.
Sell a home, get married or donate to a cause; it’s all recorded
someplace. And the wealthiest people leave the biggest trails of all.
for Infinata’s wealth division.
The company assigns prospects
a proprietary wealth score, and uses
it to estimate each person’s investable assets. The algorithm does not
include real estate or physical assets
like cars or boats, but will give an advisor a sense of how wealthy a prospect
is. The ranges include $250,000 to
$1 million, $3 million to $5 million, and
$5 million and up.
The tool also includes a referral
center that identifies which existing clients may know a prospect —
through sitting on the same boards of
foundations and endowments, having worked together or even having
attended the same conference.
A new feature also lets users search
for a wide variety of characteristics
— prospects who are military veterans,
for instance, or grandparents (who
might be setting up college funds).
Advisors can create a profile of char-
OUTGROW TH OF FORBES LIST
Wealth-X grew from the team at
Forbes that compiled the magazine’s
famed list of the world’s wealthiest
people. Wealth-X focuses on individuals with $30 million or more,
reckoning there are 185,000 such
people in the world. Its global database contains information on individuals who hold $10.7 trillion of the
The bespoke profiles it compiles
on prospects are painstakingly com-
piled by about 175 researchers, says
David Friedman, the firm’s co-found-
er and president. These researchers
manually build an estimate of the
prospect’s net worth, including all
the publicly available data as well as
a lot of homemade figures. Research-
ers try to pinpoint the current mar-
ket value for homes owned, rather
than the value declared on tax forms;
analysts build valuation models for
These deep dives don’t come
cheap. An annual subscription can
be in the six or seven figures for a big
office, although Wealth-X also works
with independent RIAs or smaller
family offices, who might pay a more
modest $12,000 to $15,000 a year.
Elizabeth Wine, a writer in Brooklyn, N.Y., has contribued to the
Financial Times, Barron’s and On