As a nationally recognized recruiter and consultant to financial advisors, Mindy Diamond has unmatched experience in introducing advisors to the independent space—an option that has greatly expanded yet remains somewhat of a mystery to many advisors.
Her goal in this podcast for financial advisors is to dispel some myths, share some facts and help advisors get better educated on the model without any concern over confidentiality or obligation. She offers comparisons between different types of independent models from Independent Broker Dealers (IBD) to Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) and Hybrid RIAs, and much more.
Episodes include conversations with industry leaders and breakaway advisors who left the captive employee wealth management world for one where they could grow their financial advisory business in a way that aligned with their own goals. Be sure to subscribe and stay up to date.
Diamond offers additional information for advisors who are looking to increase their knowledge of the independent space, as well as traditional models for advisors in wealth management. Visit https://www.diamond-consultants.com/podcast-mindy-diamond-independence/
The Best of 2020: Top Advice from 10 Independent Business Owners
A culmination of the most relevant commentary on independence—from a year unlike any other.
In the wealth management world, there was plenty of good news to come out of 2020. For instance, many advisors have reported that it was one of their best years ever in terms of growth. And from the perspective of recruiting, advisor movement was the strongest ever.
Ultimately, advisors forged ahead with the intent of serving their clients and growing their businesses with the best of their abilities. And those who were motivated to find better ways to do so, chose to transition to options that offered them greater freedom, flexibility and control.
Because, despite the pandemic, as David Bahnsen of The Bahnsen Group shared, this period of time was when the most successful advisors were “living out their philosophy”—and exercising the freedom and control that being independent offers them. Or as David put it, “to be able to do everything exponentially,” with enhanced ability to market and brand themselves, create original content, and demonstrate competence and thought-leadership.
And it’s commentary like this that David shared on our show that we celebrate – advice from the top 10 independent business owners featured in the past year – in a special episode representing the 100th in our podcast series.
It’s a distillation of our conversations, demonstrating common threads weaved throughout—related themes and nuggets of wisdom that answer the threshold question: Why independence?
This hand-picked curation of top advice includes:
- The real benefits of independence when it comes to communication, marketing, customization, technology and client service—and ultimately the ability to offer conflict-free advice.
- Thoughts on wirehouse retire-in-place programs—and how these advisors found better solutions by going independent.
- The psychology behind “shrinking to grow”—and shifting from an “employee-advisor mindset” to a “fiduciary-entrepreneur mindset.”
- What the real value of independence is for clients—and why so many are actually “happy” to part with a big brand.
- Why an advisor would choose to turn down the big recruiting deal—and instead opt to play the long game.
- What it takes to compete against the big banks—and how the ability to “shop the Street” translates to better service for clients.
- The growth of supported independence models—and how these solve for an advisor’s desire for greater freedom and control when independence feels like “a bridge too far.”
- What it takes to build a business with the end in mind—and how to determine when or if it’s time to sell or bring on an investment partner.
- And, ultimately, how to shift your focus from “getting” to “giving”—a concept that helps deliver immense value.
The “Best of 2020” roster features:
David Bahnsen, Chief Investment Officer, Managing Partner at The Bahnsen Group
Melissa Bouchillon, Managing Partner at Sound View Wealth Advisors
Jeff Concepcion, Founder and CEO of Stratos Wealth Partners
Joseph Eschleman, President of Towerpoint Wealth, LLC
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Evans, Managing Partner at Evans May Wealth
Jason Fertitta, President/Partner at Americana Partners
Justin Berman, Principal and CEO at Berman Capital Advisors, LLC
Jon Kuttin, CEO of Kuttin Wealth Management
Lori Siegel, Founding Partner, Centrix Wealth Partners
Lee Korn, Financial Advisor, Principal at Opal Wealth Advisors
Plus, a special “bonus” message from Bob Burg, co-author of the bestseller Go-Giver series.
It’s a digestible download of independence from those who know it best—that is, those who are building successful independent businesses designed for the long-term. Whether you’re an employee advisor or independent, it’s an episode that offers valuable takeaways and actionable advice.
Industry Update: What Financial Advisors Need to Know About Growing Through Recruitment and M&A
A conversation with Louis Diamond
One of the major motivations for advisors who choose independence is the desire to build an enterprise through recruitment of other advisors and the opportunity to participate in a frothy M&A marketplace.
And even non-enterprise builders are drawn to the ability to selectively deepen their bench via recruitment plus having the ultimate flexibility over who they hire.
But inorganic growth opportunities are not exclusive to independent firms. Although wirehouse advisors are more limited, they can grow via “acquisition” through their firm’s sunset programs and by selectively adding team members through their firm’s training programs.
With M&A transactions on target to break another record and recruitment activity at one of the highest levels we’ve seen in years, the ability to successfully execute an inorganic growth strategy has become more complex and highly competitive.
In this episode, Mindy and Louis discuss what you need to know about building your business through inorganic growth, including:
* Why recruitment and acquisition are so appealing to advisors and firms—and what they are finding the power of M&A really is.
* How the opportunity to recruit and acquire is different as an independent—and what you need to know if you’re at a wirehouse or broker dealer.
* How it’s possible to recreate a wirehouse sunset program as an independent—and why this has become a popular driver towards independence for retiring advisors and their successors.
* How a smaller, independent firm can compete with larger players—and to think about standing out from the ultra-competitive field.
* Plus understanding how valuations and deal structures compare to recruitment packages offered from traditional firms—and much more.
It’s an episode that will answer the most frequently asked questions by wirehouse advisors considering inorganic growth options, as well as firm owners who are looking at recruiting and M&A to drive growth.
Download a transcript of this episode…
Exploring M&A: Finding the perfect match between buyers and sellers
Acquirers typically fit into one of 4 profiles: Here’s how to identify which types of sellers will align best with each. Read->
What’s the ‘Real’ Value of a Financial Advisor’s Business?
Headline-making M&A deals in the independent space have many employee advisors wondering what their business could be worth on the open market. Here are 3 valuation scenarios to address that curiosity. a class="c-link" href="https://www.diamond-consultants.com/whats-the-real-value-of-a-financial-advisors-business/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-stringify-link="https://www.diamond-consultants.com/whats-the-real-value-of-a-financial-advisors-bus...
From Insurance Sales to $8B RIA: A Northwestern Mutual Breakaway Story
A conversation with Andy Schwartz, CFP®, Principal, Bleakley Financial Group
As a college student selling insurance, Andy Schwartz didn’t envision that someday he’d be at the helm of an $8B RIA—but he did know he was on to something.
Growing up in a lower middle-class family in New Jersey who didn’t “have much” but worked hard for all that they did have, Andy learned early on that success isn’t necessarily about “where you go to college or where you grow up.”
Andy went from selling just insurance at Northwestern Mutual to managing $3.5B in assets as the leader of one of the largest groups at the firm. After nearly 3 decades, he and the team left Northwestern in 2014 to go fully independent as Bleakley Financial Group.
Today, Bleakley has $8B in assets under management, and Andy, a $10mm+ revenue producer, has been recognized by Forbes, Barron’s and the Financial Times as one of the industry’s top advisors.
In this episode, he shares his incredible journey with Louis Diamond—a narrative that exemplifies how hard work and determination can lead to good fortune. They discuss:
* How he came to the realization that he could do more for clients than just insurance—and how that thinking transformed to the investments and planning business he later built.
* When he decided to break from Northwestern Mutual—and how the limitations of working for an insurance-focused broker dealer impacted his team’s ability to serve clients.
* How the firm grew from $3B to $8B since going independent—and what he credits for that extraordinary growth.
* Why Bleakley opted to become a hybrid RIA firm—and what he sees as the benefits of being multi-custodial.
* What an advisor needs to consider prior to making the leap to independence—and how setting your ego aside to fully understand your skillset is key to identifying your path.
* Why an advisor would opt to join Bleakley or a similar platform model—and how it compares to affiliating directly with a broker dealer.
* Why he remains an advisor vs transitioning to a full-time CEO—and how that decision has impacted the success of the firm.
In all that Andy shares in this episode there is one message that resonates throughout: Being thoughtful in your decisions and focusing on the long-term are key to guiding success.
It’s a unique spin on business growth that has relevant takeaways for every advisor.
Download a transcript of this episode…
The Top 5 Reasons Why Northwestern Mutual Advisors Are Changing Firms
A growing trend of departures from Northwestern Mutual has left many of the firm’s advisors wondering what’s driving the momentum—and what their colleagues are finding on the other side. Read->
RIA, IBD or somewhere in between: Which version of independence is right for you?
As the independent space continues to expand, prospective breakaway advisors often have a hard time deciding between different individual models and options. These 5 questions can help point you in the right direction. a href="https://www.diamond-consultants.com/ria-ibd-or-somewhere-in-between-which-version-of-independ...
“Will My Clients Follow?”— A $500mm UBS Breakaway Success Story
A conversation with Steven Tenney, Founding Partner and CEO, Great Diamond Partners
In all of the conversations we have with breakaway advisors, we hear a consistent theme around the motivation to make the leap:
To improve the ability to serve clients.
And, ultimately, enhancing service delivery – such as improvements in platform and technology, and the ability to freely communicate – typically leads in one direction: Business growth.
But while many advisors are building their businesses in the wirehouses, more and more are finding they are hitting a wall when they try to serve clients without conflict or limitations.
Yet changing firms or models comes with some risk—one of the most critical being client portability.
It was a risk that UBS advisor Steven Tenney and his team found was worth taking—because after a two-year due diligence process, Steve was convinced that the RIA model would allow them to provide better service and advice to clients.
Steve joined UBS in 1993 when it was still PaineWebber and built a business managing approximately $530mm in assets. But in 2019 they decided it was time to make a change. After 26 years with the firm, Steve and his team left UBS to launch Portland, Maine-based RIA firm Great Diamond Partners.
As Steve shared in an interview shortly after his launch, it was the “vastly improved technology, advanced planning resources and tools, and the fiduciary environment” of the RIA model that was the tipping point.
In this episode, Steve discusses that “tipping point” and much more, including:
* What prompted him to start exploration—and why he didn’t instead opt for another wirehouse or traditional firm.
* Why Steve felt that taking a recruiting deal would only be better for him—and not for his team and clients.
* How Steve and his team reconciled leaving some deferred comp behind—and when they realized it was worth it.
* How they addressed the concern over whether their clients would follow—and what they did to ultimately retain 95% of their clients and rebuild their database.
* How scale compares as an independent—and why working with a firm like Dynasty Financial Partners gives them the scale of a much larger organization.
* The value of being an independent firm when it comes to referrals—and why their strategic partners are now more apt to refer business.
Steve’s thoughtful due diligence focused on “what’s in it for the clients”—a guiding principle that drove their decision-making process and ultimately the success of their transition. Yet it’s what he and his team realized that is most compelling: That clients can actually be the real beneficiaries when their advisors go independent and gain increased freedom and control.
It’s a conversation that goes beyond “independence”—cutting to the heart of what matters most: The clients.
Download a transcript of this episode…
The Real Beneficiaries of Independence: Your Clients
While advisors have a real opportunity to build the advisory business of their dreams in the RIA space, it’s the clients who stand to gain the most. Read->
How portable is my business?
Demystifying Compliance for RIAs: What You Need to Know
A conversation with Christopher Winn, CEO and Lead Consultant, AdvisorAssist
There are few words in wealth management’s lexicon that draw greater consternation amongst advisors.
And that word is “compliance.”
Yet it’s the very fabric by which financial advisory businesses operate, serving as the proverbial guard rails that all advisors work within—whether they are seated in big brokerage firms, are independent business owners or somewhere in between.
But for all that power that compliance wields, it remains somewhat amorphous in terms of the actual processes around it.
Because if you’re seated at a wirehouse or independent broker dealer, compliance is managed for you. There’s no need for concern other than following the firm’s rules and coloring between the lines.
But what happens if you want to build an independent firm? Who manages compliance? And what is it that even needs to be done?
And those are important questions—ones that often stop advisors dead in their tracks when considering the leap to independence.
So Louis Diamond invited Chris Winn, Founder and CEO of AdvisorAssist, to this episode to help demystify compliance for advisors.
Chris launched AdvisorAssist in 2006 to provide comprehensive support to elite advisory firms seeking independence and risk-managed growth.
With over 27 years of investment management industry experience and a focus on RIA formation, regulatory compliance, business transformation and operations, Chris has worked closely with some 2,000 plus firms to design, build, and launch their RIAs, and manages compliance for over 600 RIAs with $150 billion in assets.
Louis and Chris discuss the complexities around compliance, including:
How RIAs manage compliance—and the critical role of the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO).
What the burden of risk is for an independent advisor—and how that risk differs from their wirehouse counterparts.
What he sees as the role of workflow in creating a compliance program—and how integrating technology, communication and other aspects of the business is key to a successful plan.
Why compliance for a large wirehouse firm is very different than it is for a small RIA—and how building for the “lowest common denominator” drives policy decisions for larger entities.
How a changing regulatory environment has impacted launching an independent business—and if he sees risk management becoming more challenging going forward.
Plus, Chris discusses the actual timeline and steps an advisor goes through when launching their own RIA and building out a compliance program—and how a firm like AdvisorAssist can help with managing compliance both pre- and post-launch.
As Louis and Chris share, the topic of compliance needs not be scary nor limit the power of an independent business—but instead serve to enhance the ability to build an enterprise.
It’s an episode designed for prospective breakaways as well as any advisor looking to make the topic of compliance less daunting.
For more information, plus resources and links related to the show, visit: https://www.diamond-consultants.com/demystifying-compliance-for-rias-what-you-need-to-know
Industry Update: 10 Reasons Why Some Financial Advisors Shouldn’t Go Independent
With Louis Diamond
It might seem odd for a show called Mindy Diamond on Independence to have an episode discussing the reasons why independence might not be right for you.
But the truth of the matter is, there are plenty of reasons why independence isn’t for everyone.
And it’s the mission of this series to be honest and balanced—and share what we’re hearing and seeing from advisors and firms in every corner of the landscape.
So, regardless of how often we share success stories from breakaway advisors or business owners who are crushing it in terms of growth, there are many advisors who simply recognize that independence isn’t right for them.
Listen in as Louis and Mindy break down the 10 most common reasons for advisors to “not make the leap.”
Download a transcript of this episode…
The Wirehouse World: Why it’s Still the Right Place for Many Advisors
In a landscape with more options than ever before, a move from one big brokerage firm to another is more often the exception than the rule these days. Read->
What’s Changing at the Wirehouses—and Why You Need to Pay Attention
As firms cut back on recruiting and amp up their retention efforts, the balance of power shifts further and further away from the advisors—diminishing leverage, business value and opportunity, and leading down a path that advisors fear most. Read->
Is Deferred Compensation Holding You Captive?
3 options for advisors who are feeling the ever-tightening squeeze of their firms’ “golden handcuffs.” Read->
Move Once, Monetize Twice
Weighing all of your options may result in doubling the returns; in essence, moving once yet monetizing twice. Read->
A great way to get real life insights from advisors who left big firms to go independent. Excellent!
Financial Advisors Take Note!
Mindy and Louis are insightful, savvy hosts - sharing a wealth of industry knowledge that is so very valuable and asking all the right questions to a variety of interesting guests. The Industry Updates are helpful as well. Keep up the good work.
My Go-To Podcast
Lots of insightful info from industry leaders and breakaway advisors. Mindy and Louis ask their guests the questions I’d ask if I had the chance. Great show!