The Bull Market Keeps Rewarding Envestnet

By Dan Caplinger Markets Fool.com

2016 was a strong year for the financial markets, and that was good news not only for wealth management specialists that manage people's money but also for the service providers that help those wealth management companies operate more efficiently.

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Envestnet (NYSE: ENV) has done a good job in the past in taking full advantage of the opportunities to serve clients in the financial industry, and coming into its fourth-quarter report, its investors wanted to see continued evidence of the company's success in building its business. Envestnet followed through on that front, delivering good revenue gains and finding new customers to serve.

Let's look more closely at the latest from Envestnet to see how it did and what's ahead for the company.

Image source: Envestnet.

Envestnet pulls in more business

Envestnet's fourth-quarter results finished a strong year for the financial technology company. Revenue was up 31% to $155.5 million, which was slightly faster top-line growth than most investors had expected. The company posted a GAAP net loss, but after taking extraordinary items into account, adjusted net income jumped by a quarter to $14.2 million, and that produced adjusted earnings of $0.32 per share. That just edged out the consensus forecast for earnings from those following the stock.

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Looking more closely at the company's report, many of the trends we've seen from Envestnet continued. Total platform assets kept rising, approaching the $1.1 trillion level, and almost a third of that figure came from assets that it either manages or has under its administration. Envestnet has almost 6.1 million platform accounts, with more than 54,000 advisors using the platform. Licensing arrangements still make up the bulk of Envestnet's business, making up about three-quarters of all platform accounts and accounting for almost $750 billion in platform assets.

Envestnet got its last big year-over-year bump from the acquisition of Yodlee. As we've seen in recent quarters, subscription and licensing revenue was up sharply from year-ago levels, jumping by more than 80% from the fourth quarter of 2015. With Yodlee having been part of Envestnet for more than a year now, the comparisons should get a lot less impressive, as the financial services company attributed most of its revenue gains to the Yodlee acquisition.

Once again, strong markets helped Envestnet's asset levels. Out of the roughly $57 billion increase in assets under management or administration, $20 billion came from favorable market impacts. Nevertheless, net inflows were impressive, especially on the administration side of the business.

CEO Jud Bergman was happy about how Envestnet finished the year. "Recent client wins and our new business pipeline validate the interest in Envestnet's intelligent systems for wealth management and financial wellness," Bergman said, and he clearly thinks that the best times lie ahead for the company.

Can Envestnet keep climbing?

Indeed, Envestnet is working hard to capture more business. In Bergman's words, "We believe we are well-positioned to continue our strong organic growth in 2017 and beyond, as we empower our customers to deliver better outcomes for their clients."

Still, it will be interesting to see how investors react over the long run to slowing growth from the company. For the first quarter of 2017, Envestnet's guidance called for $154 million to $156.5 million in revenue, translating to adjusted net income of $0.24 per share. That would represent less than 20% sales growth, and the predictions fell short of what most investors were looking to see. Full-year guidance for $650 million to $660 million in revenue was also a bit lower than expected, especially given some of the recent potential good news for the financial industry at large.

Envestnet investors weren't entirely happy with the news, and the stock has fallen 4% since the announcement. However, what seems encouraging is that the industry it serves is strong and getting stronger. That should lead to more business in the long run, especially if Envestnet can keep delivering strong services to its clients and attract new customers along the way.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Envestnet. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.