Tag: mergers and acquisitions

RIA Edge Podcast: Adding Client Services Doesn’t Always Add Value

RIA Edge Podcast: Adding Client Services Doesn’t Always Add Value

Growth-minded RIAs often look to bring new services to clients. Research from WMIQ and Marshberry shows widely different motivations and approaches—and sometimes elevated expectations for the impact on firm value.

In this episode of the RIA Edge Podcast, David Armstrong, managing director of editorial and content strategies for the Wealth Management Group at Informa, talks with Rob Madore, vice president of financial services for MarshBerry, about recent research the firm has done with Wealth Management’s WMIQ to explore how firm leaders think about adding new client services, both to pursue organic growth and preserve fees. With over 70% of advisors actively exploring ways to enhance services, Madore warns it’s no panacea. Firms that make it work need to undergo a ruthless self-appraisal and have a clear view of how the move will impact the business’ bottom line. 

Specifically, David and Rob discuss:

  • The top reasons firms look to expand client services, and the services most firms are looking to add.
  • How firms decide whether to outsource, acquire, or partner with others to bring clients additional services.
  • What RIAs often get wrong about service expansion, and the impact on the business. 
  • Where fee compression and margin dynamics fit in the decisions and strategies RIAs pursue.
  • Why technology is the pivotal enabler for enhancing client experiences.

Resources:

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Rob Madore:

About Our Guest: 

As a Vice President on MarshBerry’s Financial Advisory team, Rob helps RIAs develop and implement sustainable growth strategies.

Prior to MarshBerry, Rob held leadership positions at companies like Wise Rhino Group, WebMD and Questis, where he was a sought-after speaker and consultant focused on giving firms the tools to thrive through the convergence of the wealth, retirement and insurance industries.

He holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Vermont Grossman School of Business and is a proud supporter of veteran groups like SEALKids.

Previously a collegiate and professional hockey player, most recently with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, Rob now lives in Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Allie, and his two sons, Louis and Teddy.



RIA Edge: Mark Hurley Looks to the Future of Wealth Management and Sees a Jungle

RIA Edge: Mark Hurley Looks to the Future of Wealth Management and Sees a Jungle

The seasoned RIA executive has penned a nearly 100-page whitepaper sketching a bleak but compelling future for the wealth management industry. 

In this episode of the RIA Edge Podcast, David Armstrong, editorial director for Informa Connect’s Wealth Management Group, talks with Mark Hurley, founder of Fiduciary Network who heads the cybersecurity firm Digital Privacy & Protection. Hurley’s recent white paper, “Welcome to the Jungle,” analyzes the trajectory of the RIA industry and sees a far more competitive industry where mid-sized, generalist advisors can’t compete, squeezed between national-branded RIAs and hyper-specialists. 

Specifically, David and Mark discuss:

  • What low-interest rates and rising markets have meant for the RIA industry, and how that is changing.
  • How the role of technology fits in financial planning and where certain functions are increasingly automated, leading to shifts in compensation for such roles.
  • Why hyper-specialization can benefit firms as a means of differentiation, especially smaller firms, looking to carve a niche in the market.
  • How cybersecurity is emerging as an existential threat and the impending regulatory changes emphasizing the need for robust measures to avoid legal and reputational fallout.
  • The acquisition of specialized talent and targeted marketing, and how they emerge as critical strategies for smaller firms to thrive.
  • Why private equity investment in the public model may not be conducive to long-term value creation in wealth management.

Resources:

RIA Edge Podcast

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Mark Hurley:

About Our Guest: 

Mark Hurley is the CEO of Digital Privacy & Protection, LLC, a company which provides a digital protection service to the clients of wealth managers. He has co-authored several major white papers on the wealth management industry over the past twenty five years.  He previously founded Undiscovered Managers, a mutual fund company that he sold to JPMorgan, and Fiduciary Network, one of the wealth management industry’s first aggregators. Earlier in his career he was a managing director at Merrill Lynch and a vice president at Goldman Sachs. He also served as a Presidential Appointee at a bureau of the United States Treasury. Hurley is a graduate of West Point and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

 

RIA Edge: Wealthspire’s Mike LaMena: Building a Firm That Clients “Will Never Outgrow.”

RIA Edge: Wealthspire’s Mike LaMena: Building a Firm That Clients “Will Never Outgrow.”

Wealthspire Advisors’ Mike LaMena on the secret to building a national RIA with a single identity that still empowers advisors to bring their “personal brand” and credibility to local communities and niche markets.

In this episode of the RIA Edge Podcast, David Armstrong, editorial director for Informa Connect’s Wealth Management Group, talks with Mike LaMena, chief executive officer of Wealthspire Advisors, about how his firm navigates the shift from traditional stock-centric advice to a holistic life-coach approach and does so at an ever-growing scale. Having recently acquired a $3 billion firm, LaMena is optimistic on the prospects for more mergers and acquisitions to find complementary capabilities that, he says, empower advisors to focus on demonstrating their credibility in niche markets while benefiting from a national brand and consistent client experience. 

Specifically, David and Mike discuss:

  • The recent acquisition of $3 billion AUM GM Advisory Group and where that firm sits in Wealthspire’s growing UHNW service model. 
  • How one-third of Wealthspire’s clients have multi-generational wealth, and what the firm offers those clients to bring the generations together. Hint: Philanthropic planning and in-house family dynamic specialists are key.
  • Why a highly personalized client service model, ironically, requires growth and scale.
  • Why firms are required to adopt the Wealthspire brand, and how that helps, not hurts, the advisor’s personal brand and credibility in the marketplace. 
  • How he’s seen no slowdown in M&A opportunities even with higher interest rates, and how demographics and new opportunities continue to lift the entire industry—even as the firms that were offering “crazy valuations” seem to have quieted down. Still, the pipeline for quality deals remains high.

Resources:

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Mike LaMena:

About Our Guest: 

Mike LaMena is the Chief Executive Officer of Wealthspire Advisors, joining the firm in September of 2017. He has over 27 years of experience building, operating, and leading global wealth management organizations. His commitment to service excellence and his fundamental belief in the power of the firm’s independent, conflict-free model of financial advice inspires his enthusiasm to serve clients and expand the business. At Wealthspire, Mike has helped grow the organization to over $20 billion in AUM with 22 offices nationwide and more than 300 employees.



RIA Edge Podcast: A Blueprint for Navigating Growth and Building Client Wealth with Dan Seder

RIA Edge Podcast: A Blueprint for Navigating Growth and Building Client Wealth with Dan Seder

Dan Seder shares Blue Chip Partners’ unique approach to managing human capital and building a growth engine inside a $1 billion AUM firm. 

In this episode of the RIA Edge Podcast, David Armstrong, managing director of editorial and content strategies for the Wealth Management Group at Informa, talks with Dan Seder, managing partner with Blue Chip Partners, about the firm’s rapid, and continuing, trajectory from a modest $300 million firm just a few years ago to one now approaching $1.2 billion. He discusses bringing a structured sales process into the RIA, including a strategic approach to client referrals, and why he feels a focus on growth is something the firm owes to its employees. 

Specifically, David and Dan discuss:

  • How Dan brought sales skills from the insurance world to the RIA and quickly grew the client base, and his ownership stake.
  • How he and his partner realized early on that rapid growth requires more structure around the business and adopted the EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) program; Dan describes what EOS is and how it helped them build a better chassis to support their growth. 
  • How they are looking to expand services to include taxes and estate planning to not only provide current clients more services, but as a tool toward more client acquisition.
  • The six core values the firm adopted to achieve their goals.
  • The firm’s decisions around their investment strategy for clients.
  • The rewards of building a strong team culture that fosters a collaborative, vibrant workplace, and why growing the firm is important to ensure employees feel they have opportunities in the business. 

Resources:

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Dan Seder:

About our Guest:

As Managing Partner of Blue Chip Partners, Dan is a holder of the right to use both the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) and Chartered Market Technician® (CMT®) designations. He is also a Certified  Financial Planner™ professional.

Dan joined Blue Chip Partners in 2005 and became a shareholder in 2010. Dan specializes in addressing the unique needs of corporate executives. This includes demystifying complex compensation packages, maximizing executive benefit platforms, and integrating equity grants (i.e., stock options, restricted stock, performance shares) into a financial plan. In addition, Dan leverages technical analysis when structuring 10b5-1 trading plans for executives interested in reducing their concentration in company stock.

Dan graduated with a B.A. from the University of Michigan, where he was a four-year member of the varsity wrestling team. Dan is the former president of the CFA Society of Detroit, a member of the CFA Institute, and has served as an instructor for the Stalla CFA Exam review program.




RIA Edge Podcast: Navigating RIA Growth and Succession Planning with Rob Madore

RIA Edge Podcast: Navigating RIA Growth and Succession Planning with Rob Madore

Marshberry’s Rob Madore shares strategies for growth, succession and the recent shift in how RIAs are approaching mergers and acquisitions.

In this episode of the RIA Edge Podcast, David Armstrong, managing director of editorial and content strategies for the Wealth Management Group at Informa, talks with Rob Madore, vice president of financial services for MarshBerry, about the recent RIA Edge research study. Conducted by WMIQ in partnership with MarshBerry, the study uncovers how advisors views on the different levers for organic and inorganic growth are changing. The interview explores the importance of strategic planning, cultural fit and the increasing sophistication of buyers and investors in the business of financial advice.

Specifically, David and Rob discuss:

  • How RIA leaders feel overall about growth prospects in 2024. 
  • How true organic growth is rare—except among those firms that approach it with an intentional and well-executed strategy.
  • What tools and resources have climbed in importance for advisors pursuing growth, and which have declined. 
  • How internal succession plans can go awry, given market changes over the course of a multi-year handoff in equity.
  • How advisors are thinking about the M&A market, and what distinguishes firms that receive a full valuation in the transaction, versus those that struggle.
  • The ever-present, if ill-defined, importance of culture in mergers and acquisitions .
  • The crucial step of “getting the house in order” before pursuing a sale.
  • Rob’s background as a professional hockey player.

Resources:

RIA Edge Podcast

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Rob Madore:

About Our Guest: 

As a Vice President on MarshBerry’s Financial Advisory team, Rob helps RIAs develop and implement sustainable growth strategies.

Prior to MarshBerry, Rob held leadership positions at companies like Wise Rhino Group, WebMD and Questis, where he was a sought-after speaker and consultant focused on giving firms the tools to thrive through the convergence of the wealth, retirement and insurance industries.

He holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Vermont Grossman School of Business and is a proud supporter of veteran groups like SEALKids.

Previously a collegiate and professional hockey player, most recently with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, Rob now lives in Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Allie, and his two sons, Louis and Teddy.



RIA Edge Podcast: Ryan Parker on Organic Growth and Acquisitions in a Competitive Landscape

RIA Edge Podcast: Ryan Parker on Organic Growth and Acquisitions in a Competitive Landscape

Ryan Parker, CEO of EP Wealth, sheds light on the firm’s intentional M&A strategy and what it means for the company’s development.

In this episode of the RIA Edge Podcast, David Armstrong, managing director of editorial and content strategies for the Wealth Management Group at Informa, talks with Ryan Parker, CEO of EP Wealth, on the company’s robust growth in recent years by thinking big but keeping small. Smart acquisitions and steering their focus toward offering family-office level services has made comprehensive financial planning attractive to a broader clientele.  

Specifically, David and Ryan discuss:

  • His professional journey from the asset management side of the business to the advisory side, with stints at LPL Financial and as CEO of Edelman Financial Services.
  • The challenges of combining an M&A strategy with a double-digit organic growth rate that has seen the firm grow in AUM by almost 10X in six years. 
  • How the firm approaches acquisitions, balancing local autonomy for the acquired firms with a structure of a national RIA, and embedding transition teams with the targeted RIA before the deal closes.
  • The vision to become the “family office” for the “millionaire-next-door,” in part by bringing tax preparation and trust and estate services in house. 

Resources:

RIA Edge Podcast

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Ryan Parker:

 About Our Guest: 

As CEO of EP Wealth, Ryan is energized by the opportunity to create conditions for others’ success, which he considers the greatest contribution any leader can make.

Ryan joined EP Wealth Advisors in 2021 and has been passionate about helping people achieve their goals for over twenty-five years. Previously, Ryan was President and CEO of Wealth Management at Citizens Bank, CEO of Edelman Financial Services, and a Managing Director at LPL Financial. Before turning his focus to wealth management, he began his career on the asset management side at Putnam Investment, Franklin Templeton Investments, and Russell Investments. Ryan has been active in other parts of the industry as well, previously serving as Vice Chairman for Lefteris Acquisition Corp. and as an advisor to various private equity, venture capital, and management consulting firms.

Ryan earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan, and a Certificate in Finance and Accounting from Stanford Graduate School of Business

Ryan lives with his wife and three children in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.  



RIA Edge Podcast: Insights With Lisa Salvi on Unlocking Growth and Talent Acquisition

RIA Edge Podcast: Insights With Lisa Salvi on Unlocking Growth and Talent Acquisition

Lisa Salvi shares how successful firms leverage a comprehensive approach to long-term success.

In this episode, David Armstrong, managing director of editorial and content strategies for the Wealth Management Group at Informa, talks with Lisa Salvi, Managing Director, Advisor Services, Charles Schwab, about Schwab’s RIA Benchmarking Study that highlights industry performance and where advisory firms achieve efficiency in sustainable growth. The conversation sheds light on the essential role of strategic planning, mentorship programs and specialized roles in nurturing talent. 

Specifically, David and Lisa discuss:

  • How benchmark studies reveal the industry’s significant growth, requiring firms to strategically plan for expansion.
  • Why talent acquisition and development are top priorities for financial advisory firms.
  • How successful firms implement strategic planning that attracts talent and leverages M&A for sustainable growth.
  • The three-part process of M&A: envision, prepare and connect.

Resources:

RIA Edge Podcast

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Lisa Salvi:

 

About Our Guest: 

Lisa Salvi is a member of the Advisor Services leadership team and is responsible for Schwab’s Business Consulting and Education offer. Her team develops and manages programs and one-on-one consulting engagements designed to help independent advisors make lasting and significant improvements within their firms by focusing on key business, technology, and cybersecurity issues. Salvi’s team leads the annual RIA Benchmarking Study, the Compensation Study, and programs that support the development of advisor talent through executive education and student initiatives. They also provide insights and tools that help the Advisor Services sales and support teams deliver outstanding client service to independent advisors.

Salvi has worked with fee-based advisors since 2003. Since joining Schwab in 2007, she has held several positions, including Chief of Staff to Bernie Clark, head of Advisor Services.

Salvi holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Series 7 and Series 24 registrations.  



RIA Edge Podcast: Hirtle, Callaghan & Co.’ and Jon Hirtle: Pioneering the Outsourced Chief Investment Officer Business Model

RIA Edge Podcast: Hirtle, Callaghan & Co.’ and Jon Hirtle: Pioneering the Outsourced Chief Investment Officer Business Model

Jonathan Hirtle, founder and chairman of Hirtle, Callaghan & Co., has been called the “Oracle of Outsource” by Pension & Investments magazine for his work pioneering the “outsourced chief investment officer” business model for families and institutions. 

Here, Hirtle speaks with Wealth Management’s David Armstrong about the opportunity he saw to start the firm 35 years ago to bring  investment management services out of the banks, brokerages and product shops and offering it directly to wealthy families and institutions that aren’t quite wealthy enough to support their own in-house investment teams, and doing so without the conflicts of interest that often come with using traditional financial services.. 

Hirtle speaks about growing the firm to $20 billion in AUM, his team’s approach to the markets, how he builds portfolios and why the need for unconflicted and actively managed portfolios are even more important today than they were when he founded the company. 

Specifically, David and Jon discuss:

  • How Hirtle, Callaghan & Co, took inspiration from the likes of Yale University’s  “endowment model” and Arthur Miltenberger, the chief investment officer for the Richard K. Mellon family office, and wanted to bring a similar level of dedicated investment management to a broader swath of clients. 
  • The market taxonomy his team uses when evaluating all investment opportunities.
  • His thoughts on John Bogle, founder of Vanguard. 
  • How the investable market is tilting ever more heavily toward private companies, and far less toward publicly traded firms, and the opportunities – and risks – that exist for clients in alternatives. 
  • How his firm charges clients, and why it’s important:. “We may be wrong, but we’ll never be conflicted.” 
  • The attraction of “mission-oriented” clients and how his firm helps those clients navigate the balance between good returns and good impact. 
  • Why the firm has been adamant about avoiding the red-hot M&A market for RIAs, but has started to pursue a strategy of finding smaller “lift outs” of like-minded advisors across the country that fit the firm’s ethos and value proposition.  

Resources:

RIA Edge Podcast

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With John Hirtle:

About Our Guest:

Jon is the Executive Chairman of Hirtle Callaghan. He also chairs the board of directors and serves on the Investment Policy Committee. Prior to founding Hirtle Callaghan in 1988, Jon worked at Goldman Sachs advising family groups and institutions on investment strategy and securities selection. He received his Bachelor of Science and M.B.A. degrees from Penn State. Jon served as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps from 1975 to 1982 and is a member of the Governing Council of the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.



RIA Edge Podcast: Alison Burkett on Snowden Lane’s Boutique Culture for Growth

RIA Edge Podcast: Alison Burkett on Snowden Lane’s Boutique Culture for Growth

Snowden Lane Partners: A calibrated blend of autonomy and support. 

In this episode, David Armstrong, managing director of editorial and content strategies for the Wealth Management Group at Informa, talks with Alison Burkett, head of enterprise development at Snowden Lane Partners, about the firm’s approach to growth: A carefully calibrated blend of autonomy and support. Targets for acquisition are largely experienced advisors with more sophisticated client relationships, eager to continue their trajectory but at a point where they are too large to run the business independently. Burkett says despite the slowdown in the economy, the pace of partnerships at Snowden Lane will continue, and the firm continues to find some of its best candidates coming out of captured environments at the wirehouses, even as there are increasingly suitable prospects in the independent space.

Specifically, David and Alison discuss:

  • Why Snowden Lane’s investment solutions platform is key to attracting advisors with more sophisticated clients and portfolios, giving them access to the same kinds of portfolios, alternatives, and lending options that traditionally were only possible in the larger wirehouses, but without the inherent conflicts in that channel.
  • Why a large part of her job is managing for future growth, in that the firm needs to ensure the internal structure and staff are in place to accommodate growth six months before it occurs to avoid logjams that would slow down the trajectory.  
  • How the firm still sees the wirehouses as the most fertile ground for bringing in new advisors, and why Snowden Lane executives increasingly eye teams with broader tenures and more complex books of business, and is starting to eye more family office, private banking components to its mix of services. 
  • How Snowden Lane’s compensation structure is unique, allowing each team to participate in their own P&L as well as benefit from broader firm equity.
  • Why Burkett thinks Snowden Lane is still far away from not being considered a boutique investment advisory firm, and how the firm can likely grow three-fold while keeping the same culture intact. 

Resources:

RIA Edge Podcast

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Alison Burkett:

About Our Guest: 

Alison is a founding team member of Snowden Lane. She ensures that Snowden Lane clients and advisors have a superior experience through consistent service, dynamic technology, and custom investment solutions. As Head of Enterprise Development, she is responsible for the Snowden Lane’s operating platform, human resources, advisor transition, and for driving enterprise innovation.

Alison leads efforts to develop next-generation advisor tools and client service models incorporating leading-edge technology. In addition, she plays a central role in the recruitment and transition of advisory teams to Snowden Lane. She brings extensive experience working with ‘advisors in transition’, integrating custodial technology and service offerings to support their client and business needs in an independent business model. Previously, Alison held business development and client service positions at Clearbrook Global Advisors. She received her BA in Political Science from Princeton University, and studied finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Alison holds Series 7, 66, 24, and 79 registrations. Alison and her husband, Erik, have two children and reside in San Diego, CA.



RIA Edge Podcast: Connectus Wealth’s Molly Bennard on Bringing Different Connections into Focus

RIA Edge Podcast: Connectus Wealth’s Molly Bennard on Bringing Different Connections into Focus

This episode of the RIA Edge podcast features a conversation between David Armstrong, managing director of editorial and content strategies for the Wealth Management Group at Informa, and Molly Bennard, the CEO of Connectus Wealth Advisers. Connectus Wealth is a Focus Financial Partners-owned firm, but, unlike others inside that network, it acts more like a collective of smaller RIAs that benefit more from a shared back-office, while still maintaining their client-facing team and unique brands. It’s a model that falls somewhere in between the large aggregators of $1+ billion firms, and smaller acquisitions, which bring advisory practices completely into the fold. Since its founding in 2020, Connectus has grown to include 17 brands in the portfolio with some $12.5 billion in client assets, with the vast majority in the United States.

Specifically, Molly and David discuss:

  • Molly’s background in financial services and how she found a home at Focus Financial on the acquisition team before joining Connectus.
  • What kind of firms best fit the Connectus business model, and why there are no shortage of them in the marketplace. 
  • Why it’s important each Connectus firm keeps its unique branding and client-facing services, like financial planning and portfolio reporting, while sharing back-office functions and, increasingly, shared services like tax planning and accounting.
  • The “killer app,” the firm’s home-grown technology, called MyConnectus, which lets advisors and clients share the same platform from different “sides” of the portal (under the advisor’s brand and control) to work together in what Bennard calls a “single point of truth.”

Molly and David also talk about how organic growth is more important for Connectus than growth via acquisition, and how she is hiring talent and organizing the team for that strategy. In addition, they discuss Connectus Wealth’ hands-on, documented approach to onboarding like-minded advisors and firms, and how, given the dynamics of the market, there is no shortage of opportunities in front of them. 

Resources:

RIA Edge Podcast

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Molly Bennard:

 About Our Guest: 

Before joining Connectus, Molly was a Managing Director at Focus Financial Partners, responsible for leading business development and acquisition activities across both the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States. She also oversaw various international initiatives, including the expansion of Focus’ presence in Australia. Molly also worked closely with multiple Focus partner firms in delivering value-added resources to help execute strategic initiatives that accelerate growth.

Prior to Focus, Molly held a leadership position as the Head of the Strategic Initiatives Group at AXA US, where she led corporate strategy and business development initiatives to drive profitable growth and performance across the organization. She also previously worked within Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division, executing M&A, equity and debt transactions within the financial services industry. She began her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, providing financial due diligence and other advisory services to private equity and corporate clients within the U.S. and Latin America.

Molly is a CPA and CFA charterholder. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. In her free time, Molly enjoys running, scuba diving, international photography and cooking.