Category Archives: RIA

RIA Edge Podcast: SVB Private’s DeChellis on Embracing a Growth Mindset



There is a “CEO state of mind” that some leaders of advisory firms have adopted to ensure that growth is front-and-center for all of its team members every day. SVB Private is one of the best examples of this and their growth mindset can provide a blueprint and framework for hundreds of RIAs to learn from. 

In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, Managing Director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Anthony DeChellis, CEO of SVB Private Bank, on growth within the RIA market. Anthony reveals how a client’s financial planning needs influence who they go to for financial advice, and how RIAs can expand through organic and inorganic strategies. 

Mark and Anthony discuss:

  • How does SVB approach the market given its history in the RIA space and what are some of the unique problems it solves for.
  • What drew SVB to acquire Boston Private in 2021 and how it’s transforming the company.
  • How SVB Private approaches M&A activity and evaluates acquisition opportunities
  • Best practices for creating truly strategic – and repeatable – organic growth

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About Our Guest:

Anthony DeChellis is the Chief Executive Officer of SVB Private. He served as the CEO and President of Boston Private and President and a member of the Boston Private Board of Directors for 2 years prior to the close of SVB Financial Group’s acquisition of the firm in 2021.

Anthony has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Before joining Boston Private, he was President of OurCrowd Venture Capital, an equity capital crowdfunding platform. From 2006 to 2013, Anthony was the CEO of Credit Suisse Private Banking, Americas, where he led dramatic growth of the Private Banking & Wealth Management businesses across North and South America.

 


RIA Edge Podcast: Sanctuary Wealth’s Jim Dickson on Balancing M&A and Organic Growth



While M&A activity gets the majority of the attention in the RIA industry, strategic and sustainable organic growth is actually the secret to success for the industry’s top firms. 

The fastest growing and most influential RIAs have a balanced approach to M&A and organic growth. They are always thinking about how the two forms of growth can complement and accelerate one another.

Sanctuary Wealth is writing the RIA playbook on how to balance organic and inorganic growth. In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, managing director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Jim Dickson, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Sanctuary Wealth, about how RIAs can strategically approach mergers, acquisition, recruiting and sustainable organic growth. .

Specifically, in this episode of RIA Edge, Mark and Jim discuss:

  • How Sanctuary Wealth is providing growth opportunities to its advisors and acquisition targets
  • Key factors that contribute to valuation and differentiation in the RIA channel
  • How does Sanctuary Wealth assess the quality of a firm’s growth and what does “good growth” look like?
  • Why “growth” and “talent” are the two most important factors to consider in M&A deals and how is it embedded into the mindset of your team.

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About Our Guest:

Jim Dickson is the visionary who led the founding, development, and launch of Sanctuary Wealth as an innovative, partnered independence network for elite advisors. Jim spent 20+ years in numerous senior leadership roles at Merrill Lynch. Reporting directly to the CEO, Jim spent the last six years as a divisional executive and member of the firm’s executive committee. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Jim was actively involved in spearheading Bank of America’s leadership development program and helped inspire and train the next generation of the firm’s managers. Having begun his career at Ernst & Young, Jim has gained a distinctive perspective and valuable experience in developing and optimizing organizations of all sizes.

Known throughout the financial services industry for his thought leadership, Jim is an active and highly sought-after speaker, recognized for his insights on delivering growth in the wealth management space.




RIA Edge Podcast: Cresset’s Doug Regan on Strategic, Purposeful Growth



While market appreciation, traditional referrals and word-of-mouth marketing has driven growth for a number of RIAs, the industry’s largest and most successful firms are strategically leveraging M&A, digital marketing and data to drive their next wave of growth. 

Cressit, the $23 billion RIA based out of Chicago, may be one of the industry’s best examples of how to drive purposeful, scaleable – and consistently thoughtful growth. 

In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, managing director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Douglas Regan, founder and co-chairman of Cresset, on growth within the RIA channel and zeroes in on mergers and acquisitions, organic growth tactics and the importance of ensuring cohesion when acquiring firms and talent.

Specifically, Mark and Douglas discuss:

  • The role Cresset plays in the RIA ecosystem, and how it is unlocking growth potential for its recently acquired firms
  • How M&A has – and will continue to transform the RIA industry
  • How Cresset looks at their talent acquisition strategy – and how it balances hiring and acquiring talent
  • How Cresset has leveraged digital marketing to drive over $1 billion in new client assets to the firm

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Connect With Douglas Regan:

About Our Guest:

Doug Regan is a founding partner & co-chairman, executive managing director of Cresset. Doug is responsible for Cresset’s Wealth Advisory Practice; Wealth Strategy and Planning; and Family Governance and Education. He works directly with Cresset Advisors, centers of influence, and most importantly, clients.

Doug spent 27 years at Northern Trust in a variety of executive positions including president of the Global Family Office business. Prior to that position, Doug was chairman and chief executive officer for the Southeast Region of Northern Trust, N.A., with responsibility for 29 offices throughout Florida, Atlanta, Georgia.




RIA Edge Podcast: Thrivent Advisor Network Carolyn Armitage on true drivers of growth in the RIA space



When it comes to business growth within the M&A space, you must be strategic in development while acquiring companies that fit your business model.

In this episode, Mark Bruno, Managing Director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Carolyn Armitage, CFP®, CIMA®, Head of Thrivent Advisor Network, about the key findings from the RIA Edge study, focusing on developments within the M&A industry and how financial advisors’ vision for the future impacts their strategies for business growth through M&As.

Mark and Carolyn discuss:

  • The RIA edge study and historical growth rates and growth expectations for RIA firms over the next several years. 
  • Talent acquisition and the role that human capital can play in driving growth. 
  • What steps are necessary to solve wealth management’s widespread succession. problem and the differences between an internal transaction versus an external sale.
  • What is the role of TAN as a buyer in today’s marketplace and how are they a differentiator for financial advisors in the industry.
  • The qualitative versus quantitative fit when looking at Advisors to enhance the Thrivent Advisor Network business.

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Connect With Carolyn Armitage:

About Our Guest:

Carolyn Armitage leads Thrivent’s newly crafted independent RIA, Thrivent Advisor Network. With her extensive experience in the wealth management industry, Carolyn’s strategic guidance will enable the next phase of development for the organization.

Her experience includes roles as an independent Financial Advisor, producing Branch Manager, the head of multiple wealth management teams such as HD Vest – now Advantax, ING Advisors Network – now Voya & Cetera, among others. She also led the Large Enterprise Business Management Consulting team for LPL Financial. Prior to her current role of heading up Thrivent’s RIA, Thrivent Advisor Network, Carolyn provided investment banking and consulting services, including valuation, expert witness, strategic planning and positioning, compensation, incentives, equity sharing structuring, and internal and external succession planning to the industry’s most elite firms through the firm ECHELON Partners. 




RIA Edge Podcast: Pathstone’s Matthew Fleissig on the Journey to $35BN



Few firms have experienced the growth that Pathstone – one of the largest RIAs in the business — has enjoyed in recent years. 

Through a strategic approach to M&A, technology, and socially responsible investing, Pathstone has emerged as one of the most successful advisory firms to ultra-high-net-worth individuals. 

In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, Managing Director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Matthew Fleissig, President, Pathstone about the secrets behind their success, and specifically focuses on:

  • How does Pathstone think about growth – and more specifically, how does Pathstone embed it into the mindset of the overall team?
  • Current opportunities in the RIA M&A landscape
  • While Pathstone has grown through M&A and recruiting in recent years, they have also experienced some significant organic growth, excluding markets. Matthew shares some details on their organic growth rate and the focus on ESG and SRI in the contribution to that growth.
  • What new strategies does Pathstone have in place to power its growth engine and specifically use technology to acquire new clients. 

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About Our Guest:

Prior to his role as President, Matthew served as a Managing Director at Pathstone Family Office.  Prior experiences include the role of Principal for Harris myCFO Investment Advisory Services and a Financial Planner at The Ayco Company, A Goldman Sachs Company.  Matt was a member of Harris Bank’s Outside Advisor Review Committee, a select group of 12 senior investment professionals, which directed manager due-diligence, search and selection for the bank’s $60 billion platform. He was also a member of Harris Bank’s Investment Management Committee, where policies for asset allocation, alternative investments, equity and fixed income managers and compliance are decided at the firm level.  At Ayco, Matt provided comprehensive financial counseling to Fortune 500 executives and high net worth individuals. 

 


RIA Edge Podcast: Beacon Pointe’s Matt Cooper on Driving Exponential RIA Growth



From one small firm in 2011 to a national RIA with 36 offices in 2020, Beacon Pointe has experienced tremendous growth within the industry in a short period of time.

Beacon Pointe’s M&A strategy has played a large role in its growth and they have evolved into one of the leading, most active – and most strategic acquirers in the industry.

In this episode, Mark Bruno, managing director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Matthew Cooper, Founding Partner, President, Beacon Pointe Advisors to discuss the firm’s growth strategy, and best practices for buying and selling a business.

Mark and Matt discuss:

  • How the challenges of smaller RIAs, the competition for talent, and the evolution of technology all influenced Beacon Pointe’s M&A strategy
  • The profile of an ideal acquisition for Beacon Pointe
  • What are the primary motivators for RIAs that are looking to exit their market
  • When bringing firms together under Beacon Pointe what happens “after the close.”  More specifically, how Beacon Pointe approaches operational and cultural integration to create new growth and value

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Connect With Matt Cooper:

About Our Guest:

Matt is a founding partner of Beacon Pointe Advisors and oversees the firm’s strategic plan focused on mergers and acquisitions, creating synergistic partnerships between Beacon Pointe and other wealth managers across the country. He regularly speaks on a host of wealth management and industry-related topics across various national conferences. Matt has a passion for continuous lifetime learning with a focus on the wealth management and financial life management industries. At a time when the RIA industry is changing more rapidly than any other point in history, his focus is on building the best possible business to serve clients and to assist other wealth advisors in meeting their lifetime goals. Matt graduated from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business with a BS in Finance and Business Economics.


RIA Edge Podcast: Mercer Advisors’ Martine Lellis on Growth Through Talent Management



As organizations grow, employees from top-to-bottom need to be aligned and appropriately motivated — and recruiting new talent will be essential to driving and creating exponential growth.  

In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, managing director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Martine Lellis, chief talent and administrative officer with Mercer Advisors, on human capital and talent management within the firm. Martine shares her extensive views on the intense war for talent in the RIA space, and dives into the evolving NextGen and G2 talent shift.

Specifically, Mark and Martine discuss:

  • The driving forces behind the demand for talent, and how Mercer views the competitive landscape in the RIA space.
  • What role does talent acquisition play in Mercer’s M&A strategy?
  • How firms are staffing today to support, manage and create growth
  • When thinking about NextGen and G2 talent, how does Mercer approach those conversations, and where are new talent pools emerging in the industry?
  • The role talent acquisition plays in Mercer’s overall M&A strategy

Listen to the RIA Edge Podcast

Connect With Mark Bruno:

Connect With Martine Lellis: 

About Our Guest:

Martine oversees Talent Management, HR, and Compliance at Mercer Advisors as well as leads cross-functional initiatives aimed at improving offerings for clients. Before joining Mercer Advisors, Martine was a Principal and both the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer at Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, an RIA in Mclean, VA.

Martine has a degree in Mathematics from Duke University and an MBA from Georgetown University. She’s a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. She consulted with Keir Educational Resources as a writer and instructor for CFP® exam review courses. In addition, Martine served as a member of the Schwab Advisor Services Technology, Operations & Service Advisory Board.

 


RIA Edge Podcast: Plancorp’s Chris Kerckhoff on Reinventing the Client Experience



Plancorp, a $5.1 billion RIA, has been one of the fastest-growing – and most focused – firms in the industry. Plancorp’s growth has been fueled by an unrelenting emphasis on the client experience, and a commitment to enrolling its expanding team in the company strategy and success. 

In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, managing director of Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Chris Kerckhoff, CEO of Plancorp, about the drivers of the company’s growth and its overall evolution into one of the largest and most influential RIAs in the industry. 

Specifically, Mark and Chris discuss:

  • Plancorp’s organic and inorganic growth strategy – and how the two should complement each other
  • The benefits of expanding the company’s equity ownership to more than 20 team members 
  • Where Chris sees the most significant opportunities for PlanCorp to continue to grow over the next several years
  • How Chris has seen the advisor-client dynamic change in recent years and how will it continue to evolve

Resources:

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Connect With Chris Kerckhoff:

About Our Guest:

Chris joined Plancorp fresh out of Indiana University in 1997. At the time, he was one of only five employees. As the company grew, so did his passion and responsibilities. In 2010, as the company began to implement its succession plan, Chris became an owner and was named President of the firm. He became CEO in 2018.

Chris sits on the boards of both Plancorp and Prumentum Group, which owns BrightPlan. He is active in a number of St. Louis charities and serves on the Board of Directors and Chairs the Investment Committee for St. Louis Variety. When not serving the community or spending time with his wife and three children, Chris enjoys following St. Louis sports and studying geopolitical issues.

 


Abacus Wealth’s Neela Hummel on Strategically Building a $4.4BN RIA



Not many CEOs of multi-billion dollar RIAs started out as an intern at the firm that they are now running. Even fewer have followed that career path to the top of a $4.4BN RIA that boasts over 70 employers. 

That’s the story of Neela Hummel, co-CEO of Abacus Wealth Partners, who recently took over as a co-head of the firm alongside Mary Beth Storjohann. In this episode of the RIA Edge Podcast, Mark Bruno, Managing Director of the Wealth Management Group at Informa, talks with Neela about her path and new position at Abacus. Neela also shares how Abacus has embraced diversity within the company, creating a culture of inclusivity that has helped power Abacus’ growth and expansion. 

Mark and Neela discuss:

  • How Abacus has recruited a high percentage of female advisors and how it aligns with the clients that they serve today.
  • The evolution of roles within the company as it has grown
  • How Abacus has approach M&A and assessed cultural fits
  • How has the advisor-client dynamic has changed in recent years and where will it go in the near future

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About Our Guest:

Integrity. Advocacy. Tenacity. Community. These were the values Neela Hummel’s mother imprinted onto her family. Every time she goes to bat for a client, help them navigate their relationship with money, or see their shoulders relax in a meeting, her passion for what she does is renewed. Neela’s love of math and quest for order brought her into financial planning over a decade ago, but doing right by people is what keeps her going. 


Arnerich Massena’s Reegan Rae: The Secrets of Successful Organic Growth



In recent years, M&A has dominated the RIA industry. But Arnerich Massena is different—as one of the fastest-growing RIAs in the business, starting in 1991 they began achieving growth with a model that served several unique clients and business types. This required having multiple platforms of service for their clients but also beginning a journey to identify the best opportunities for creating long-term, sustainable growth.  

Organic growth has almost exclusively driven Americh Massena’s growth. In this episode, Mark Bruno, managing director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Reegan Rae, CPWA®, Co-CEO, managing principal, senior investment advisor, Arnerich Massena. Reegan shares her company’s growth philosophy, how they measure growth rates when considering market opportunities, and what the future holds for Arnerich Massena when it comes to M&As.

Mark and Reegan discuss:

  • How does Arnerich Massena define and focus on growth? How do they balance growth from existing relationships or new client acquisition?
  • What is the key to growth within a business and who is responsible for growth at Arnerich Massena?
  • How has Americh Massena re-invested in the business to drive and accelerate growth? Where has the best ROI been seen?

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Connect With Reegan Rae:

About Our Guest:

Co-CEO alongside Bryan Shipley, Reegan provides oversight of the firm’s long-term strategy and service model, working with the Leadership Team to ensure that Arnerich Massena is delivering the services that best meet clients’ needs. She is focused on building and sustaining the company’s long-term business strategy, providing thought leadership and overall guidance for the firm. She has worked with Arnerich Massena for more than nine years, and has been a firm principal since the company became 100% employee-owned in 2017.

Reegan’s experience in the financial industry spans more than 14 years, during which she previously served as a registered principal and member firm relationship manager for M Holding Securities (the broker-dealer of M Financial Group) and as financial advisor for AXA Advisors.