This blog reflects the opinions of the author.

The year 2021 was a wakeup call for the financial and investment industry. It was a year when individual investors found ways to make their voice heard, and uncovered levers to move markets. Millions of people adopted apps and tools to take greater control of their own financial destiny. And ideas that once seemed like financial science fiction moved into the mainstream.

These seismic shifts in the financial world present a challenge to the economic powers that be and mark 2021 as a pivotal year in the history of investment. Consider:

  • The mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies: Over the course of 2021, millions of people accepted that crypto deserved a place in their portfolio. At Apex Fintech, we enable crypto transactions for our clients, and we’ve seen the impact. Over the first nine months of 2021, through Apex Crypto customers bought and sold cryptocurrency with an absolute notional value of almost $4.5 billion; in the first nine months of 2020, that number was $768,565.
  • The establishment of the fintech-powered investor: During the pandemic in 2020, many people opened accounts on retail trading apps, making stock trades of small dollar values that collectively add up to a significant volume. Many of these trades involved fractional shares, a good proxy for retail investing activity. In 2021, this activity increased significantly, showing the move to trading on apps wasn’t just a COVID trend: In the first nine months of 2020, Apex Clearing processed almost 151 million trades that included a fractional share; in the same period in 2021, that number rose to more than 236 million trades.
  • The rise of NFTs: A new digital asset is now grabbing the attention of investors: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, blockchain-validated digital assets representing artworks, events, and physical objects. An NFT for an artwork sold for $69 million in March of 2021, grabbing headlines and sparking a surge in the NFT market overall.
  • A new regulatory environment: In the U.S., a new administration took the reins in January, just as all of these trends were landing. Over the course of 2021 we have been following ongoing negotiations and the drafting of bills that could change how investors see the stock market, cryptocurrencies, and more.
  • Innovation and investment in financial firms: Many financial service providers went public in 2021, putting their performance and service to the test of the market. Countless new companies were founded during the year, filling gaps and democratizing financial products and services that once were the domain of the wealthy. At Apex Fintech, where we provide the back-end infrastructure used by firms of all types and sizes, we have seen rapid growth in our client base. In all of 2020, Apex onboarded 33 new clients, a significant increase over the year prior. In just the first 9 months of 2021, that number was 56.

A year of deals, honors and growth at Apex

These trends of 2021 are a part of the story of Apex. We continue to innovate and expand our service offerings so that we can equip our clients to meet this moment. To make this happen, Apex made its own history in 2021:

  • A year of partnerships: In 2021, Apex acquired Silver Management Group, which strengthened Apex in the realm of regulatory cost basis and tax reporting, and also expanded Apex’s ability to deliver software as a service (SaaS). Apex also forged deals to offer improved real-time market data, expand trading overseas, and offer investing solutions through credit unions.
  • A year of insights and innovation: Apex continued to evolve its own service offerings, including offering immediate cash access for US equity sales and improvements in client service. We continued to mine our proprietary data to offer unique insights into the investing trends of Gen Z and Millennial investors, who are the future of the investment market.
  • A year of honors: Our hard work over the course of 2021 has been reflected in the many honors and awards Apex earned this year, including recognition on Fast Company’s list of Most Innovative firms, and awards from Finnovate, Benzinga and (In an honor I share with all the Apex team members who made it possible, I’ll also note that I was honored by the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards for the Southwest region.)

In short, 2021 has been an amazing year for Apex Fintech Solutions and an exciting year for me personally. I see so much new potential in the events of the past year that I can’t wait to see what we achieve in 2022. I wish you all the best in the coming year and look forward to hearing of your successes in this new world!

Important disclosure: Securities products and services are offered by Apex Clearing Corporation. Cryptocurrency products and services are offered by Apex Crypto LLC. The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only. This information is designed to assist you with your business and is not representative of issues or risks generally or specifically known within the financial industry or any business in particular. Apex Fintech Solutions is not engaged in the business of rendering consulting, legal, accounting or compliance advice. If you require such services, a professional in such matters should be contacted. This information may not be reproduced or distributed, in whole or in part, without the express prior written consent of Apex Fintech Solutions. Further, the information herein is subject to change without notice.

In his role as CEO of Apex Clearing, William sets the vision and strategy to help Apex identify and realize new areas of growth and opportunity. Under his guidance, Apex continues to be a proven leader in clearing and execution, helping power the digital revolution in financial services.