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Most Innovative Companies 2022

LeafHouse Financial — A FlexFiduciary™ with discretionary investment management expertise in the retirement plan industry

LeafHouse Financial — A FlexFiduciary™ with discretionary investment management expertise in the retirement plan industry

Securing our future at every stage is very important and there are plenty of ways to do that. We all watch our parents talk about why you must save your money, or spending money on the right thing is important. We don’t end up realizing that when we are young, we realize these things once we are adults when we have responsibilities, family to take care of, and kids to take care of.

There are several benefits of retirement planning early in life that you must not overlook. You develop a habit of saving your money efficiently for the future when you have a clear idea of the objective.

If you are looking for services to help you plan your retirement then LeafHouse Financial can help you do the same. LeafHouse CEO has been serving retirement plan clients for over 20 years. As the retirement plan environment changes due to a shifting regulatory landscape and fluctuating markets, the fiduciary role becomes more complex.

The firm’s leadership team has demonstrated a unique ability to succeed in this dynamic environment. They have built the premier discretionary investment management firm for retirement plans that range from start-ups to large institutions across the US.

In conversation with Todd Kading, CEO of LeafHouse Financial

Q. Why did you find it necessary to start LeafHouse Financial? What is the mission of the company?

LeafHouse was founded to create investment solutions for the retirement plan industry. Our mission is to improve technology, data transparency, and employee participation at an appropriate price.

We are here to help employees across the United States achieve the highest probability of a successful retirement and financial independence. By continuing to innovate and bring unique technological solutions to the retirement plan industry, LeafHouse is committed to the idea that all the data and all the tech in the world do not matter if we don't put people first. In short, LeafHouse aims to improve the lives of the Everyday American Worker.

Q. How has the company grown since its inception? Can you tell us about the company’s achievements so far?

Starting in 2009 with zero assets and no clients, LeafHouse has grown to be one of the largest third-party investment fiduciaries in the country. In 2018, LeafHouse managed $4.5 billion in AUM. In December 2021 we crossed $15 billion. Today, LeafHouse oversees over 2,700 retirement plans in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. We partner with over 1,100 advisors, 70 recordkeepers, and 125 mutual fund companies and serve nearly 6,000 employers. Industry accolades include:

  • Financial Advisor America’s Top RIAs
  • PlanAdviser’s Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers
  • Financial Times – America’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Q. According to you, what is innovation?

Doing things differently to not only be efficient but to be effective — we create new markets by dramatically increasing the service offering via technology while also wildly lowering the prevailing costs.

You can think about things all day long. If you don’t act, you don’t make a difference. To us at LeafHouse, this

means empowering people with the right insights to develop creative solutions to build partnerships. Together we can generate disruption of the old in favor of new lines of distribution that eventually lead to the innovation that our industry needs.

Innovation is breaking away from old ideas, transforming systems to meet people’s needs, generating new ways of doing things, dispelling myths, and building new paradigms not dependent on brand, but devoted to the simple goal of making people’s financial lives better.

Q. How does LeafHouse Financial cultivate innovation within the company to better serve customers?

Whiteboard culture. Every office and every open space is filled with whiteboards. The free flow of ideas is encouraged and never edited until it is time to prioritize resources across all projects and roles in the firm.

Fail fast. Know when to pivot. When something is not working, move on.

Identify new markets. Think in ways that others do not, to do things that others cannot.

Q. What is a FlexFiduciaryTM? How is LeafHouse Financial the one?

The FlexFiducairy™ is the name we give to our ability to customize an infinite number of investment lineups for retirement plans across all recordkeeper platforms and investments. This includes managing, monitoring, and making fund changes quarterly.

Our FlexFiduciaryTM capabilities allow us to be creative and have a suitability conversation to custom fit every plan when appropriate.

Our peers are capable of overseeing a limited number of lineups per platform. Out of the 2,700 plans we oversee, we have over 2,350 unique lineups. This is due to our intense technological innovation that was built over a decade and millions of dollars in resources. This technology allows us to tailor solutions for advisors, plan sponsors, and participants. We refer to our evaluation methodology as the Grade Point Average algorithm (LeafHouse GPA®).

The LeafHouse GPA® is a comprehensive process for evaluating and monitoring investments. The GPA® analysis gives LeafHouse the discretion to prudently select appropriate strategies for investment. This quantitative evaluation provides a systematic process to evaluate and monitor funds using generally accepted investment principles and Modern Portfolio Theory.

Q. Why is LeafHouse an excellent choice for people planning their retirement funds?

We focus on optimizing the retirement outcomes of employees by creating the highest level of data transparency which enables us to make better decisions on what investments to include and how to mix them in a way that is personalized for each participant. We do all of this at scale for hundreds of thousands of people while not only containing costs but often we can negotiate lower fees for investments due to our scope and scale.

Helping millions of Americans plan effectively for their retirement

Todd Kading is the CEO of LeafHouse Financial. Todd is a transformational leader, directing the firm from a start-up advisory business with no assets and no clients to the national leader as a third-party fiduciary investment manager and technology innovator. He is recognized in the retirement plan industry as a sought-after public speaker at national conferences.

Additionally, Todd raises funds and awareness for many local and national charities, including CASA, the SAFE Alliance, Children’s Diabetes Foundation, and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

“LeafHouse developed proprietary technology that aims to prudently select, evaluate, and monitor investments that are solely in the best interests of plan participants and their beneficiaries.”

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