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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
A small, but growing, number of influential independent advisory firms are on the fast track to becoming truly national wealth managers. M&A has been a tool that has allowed regional firms to expand their footprints, and Merit Financial Advisors is perhaps one of the industry’s best examples of how strategic M&A can be transformational – and ultimately lead to accelerated growth.
In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, managing director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Kay Lynn Mayhue, CFP®, AEP®, RFC®, president of Merit Financial Advisors, about her firm’s rapid growth in recent years.
Kay Lynn offers a look under the hood at some of Merit’s recent acquisitions, while also providing more detail on the strategic partnership the firm formed with Wealth Partners Capital Group and a group of private investors led by HGGC.
Specifically, Mark and Kay Lynn discuss:
Merit’s growth trajectory and plan to reach $10B in AUM
How Merit evaluates acquisition targets and opportunities
How Merit’s organizational structure is evolving to facilitate future growth
Insights into Merit’s 2022 pipeline and future M&A strategy
Kay Lynn Mayhue, CFP®, AEP®, RFC® serves as President of Merit, which oversees $4 billion* in RIA and brokerage assets under management. A seasoned veteran of the financial services industry with more than 20 years of service under her belt, Kay Lynn now shares her wealth of experience and refined leadership skills with the partners and team at Merit. She primarily focuses on the implementation of company objectives to advance Merit’s mission and to promote growth and profitability as an organization. She also oversees operations to ensure production efficiency, top quality, exceptional service, and cost-effective management of resources. Driven by results, Kay Lynn works tirelessly to implement, direct, and evaluate the organization’s operational and fiscal function and performance. Her critical expertise in succession planning has paved the way for countless advisors to achieve the future of their dreams, and secured Merit’s legacy as a firm that will continue to serve others for generations to come.
While every RIA has its own unique approach to adding new clients and talent, the top-performing firms share some common strategic approaches to accelerating and driving organic and inorganic growth.
In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, Managing Director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Jeff Pierce, CEO of Wipfli Financial Advisors, about the keys to his firm’s march to $5 billion in assets. Jeff specifically shares his thoughts on how his firm is beginning to use M&A to acquire both clients and talent that will drive future growth. In addition, Mark and Jeff discuss:
Creating consistent, scalable growth
The current “talent wars” in the RIA market
2022 M&A opportunities
Opportunities to add planning and advice services for Wiplfi’s accounting clients
When it comes to his client philosophy, Jeff says one key tenet has always been clear: Investing is about more than just money. It’s a guiding principle he reinforces across the business, emphasizing the importance of fostering client well-being beyond their financial lives. For Jeff, that means helping Wipfli Financial’s advisors create alignment between their clients’ resources, values and aspirations.
For the last decade, strong equity markets have powered a substantial amount of growth for tens of thousands of financial advisors. A handful of firms, however, have “cracked the code” and created blueprints for driving strategic growth for their firms that will extend well beyond this prolonged bull market.
In this episode of RIA Edge, Mark Bruno, managing director at Informa Wealth Management, speaks with Penny Phillips, co-founder and president of Journey Strategic Wealth about the keys to creating sustainable growth and the evolution of options now available to independent advisors.
Specifically, Mark & Penny discuss:
Why Penny transitioned from her role as a successful consultant to launch an RIA
How M&A is reshaping and redefining the economics of advice
How successful RIAs are approaching marketing, business development and client acquisition
Social, demographic, and technological changes are shifting the traditional financial services business model. Penny works to support financial advisors and institutions as they embrace change and discover new ways to thrive.