Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change
Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change
Mindy Diamond - Financial Advisor Recruiter and Consultant
While independence offers a great deal of freedom and flexibility, it’s not for all advisors. Financial Advisor Recruiter and Consultant, Mindy Diamond, explores the space and options available to help advisors assess if independence is right for them.
Creating Continuity: A UBS Breakaway on Building a Virtual Multi-Family Office
A conversation with Richard Mullen, Founding Partner, CEO, Pallas Capital Advisors Some of the best stories we share on this show are from advisors who essentially grew up in the business. Those who started out in the brokerage firm training programs, taking advantage of all that the firm offered and making the most of it—and then some. Take, for example, our guest on this episode, Richard Mullen. Rich started out cold calling at Lehman Brothers and then moved onto a training program at Prudential Securities. It was the early 90s and a very different world than now: That is, devoid of the technology we’ve come to rely upon today and more “holistic” as he describes it. He grew his business in the ultra-high net worth segment at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management and later moved to UBS. It was at UBS that he created what he refers to as a “Virtual Multi-Family Office.” It’s a concept that he says was “born out of necessity” and allowed him to pull together key team members and resources who were not a part of the UBS ecosystem. But eventually, like many entrepreneurial-minded advisors, Rich started running into situations where he and his team were still limited in what they could really do for their clients, which led him to explore his options. Today, the independent firm he launched, Pallas Capital Advisors, is a $1.75B RIA platform. In this interview with Louis Diamond, Rich discusses: * The choice to explore options outside of UBS—and what triggered that decision. * His first leap to join an RIA for additional scaffolding and support—and why he later decided to launch his own firm. * The “Virtual Multi-Family Office” concept—and how it enabled him to offer a menu of services and create a level of continuity he could not otherwise achieve at UBS. * The importance of inorganic growth via recruiting—and how he defined a strategy that helped drive success for Pallas Capital. Rich’s mantra of “doing what’s right for the clients” has motivated him to continually push towards new and creative ways to serve his ultra-high net worth clients with a level of continuity that he could not otherwise achieve on his own or as an employee. It’s a conversation that explores the potential derived through ingenuity and creativity—whether you are an employee or an independent business owner. Listen in... > Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources Why Billion-Dollar Teams Move 7 Drivers That Impact Financial Advisors At All Levels. Read-> Interim Moves: A Growing Trend Among Advisors Advisors who feel the status quo no longer serves them – but ultimately desire independence – are opting to make an interim move rather than wait. Read-> Investing in...
Nov 17
47 min
A Culture of Choice: Why Raymond James Rocks the Regional Space and Advisor Recruiting
A Conversation with Tash Elwyn, President and CEO of Raymond James and Associates Advisors’ ever-increasing desire for greater agency in how they serve clients and grow their businesses has driven the growth of models and firms outside of the traditional wirehouse space—and spawned the popularity of regional firms like Raymond James. Because there was a time in years past when an advisor might otherwise have eschewed the thought of leaving one of the wirehouses – the biggest and best names in the business – for a smaller and relatively unknown regional firm. But times have changed. According to the Advisor Moves scorecard on InvestmentNews.com, Raymond James Financial Services and Raymond James & Associates both placed on the top 10 list of transitions to the firm—with a gain of 425 advisors year-to-date as of this recording. So what’s the attraction? As President and CEO of Raymond James & Associates Tash Elwyn puts it, “it really is about the culture.” It’s about an environment dedicated to treating advisors like clients. Where their voice is heard, and they have the ability to choose just how much autonomy they want by opting for any of the firm’s multi-channel affiliations. It’s an ethos that comes from the top—and in this case, started at the bottom. Tash joined the firm as an advisor trainee in 1993 and worked his way from financial advisor to assistant manager, brand manager, head of the Private Client group, and on to the president and CEO role he currently holds. And, in fact, as he shares, he still has some clients he manages money for, so his perspective of being an advisor is fresh and real. In this episode, Tash talks about “growing up” with Raymond James and what’s driving the firm’s success, including: * The notion that wirehouse advisors were indoctrinated in the belief that bigger isbetter—andhowadvisors and their clients are now thinking differently and that is spurring change throughout the industry. * The attraction to firms with less bureaucracy and greater freedom to serve their clients—and how a regional firm like Raymond James offers a culture that advisors are nostalgic for. * The battle over client ownership—and how for advisors at Raymond James & Associates, it’s actually written into the contracts that the advisor owns their clients. * The difference between each of the four core businesses that comprise Raymond James Financial—and how providing choice via their multi-channel association model is an attractive value proposition for advisors and their clients. * And, ultimately, how the term “regional” has come to describe firms with a more flexible, community-oriented culture with a national presence. In a world that seems to be evolving at a pace that few can keep up with, firms like Raymond James have found their way to get right to the heart of what’s changing most: Advisor mindset. And they’ve proven that a firm focused on providing greater latitude and choice in how an advisor conducts business can be successful for all. This is one more episode in our ongoing series exploring the regional space—worth the time to listen to and gain an understanding of how the model is changing within an evolving landscape. Listen in... > Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources The New Regional Firms
Nov 9
55 min
Industry Update on Merrill’s Project Thunder: Too Little Too Late?
A conversation with Louis Diamond. While this topic is specific to Merrill, it’s certainly not meant to be an indictment against the firm. It’s an example of the growing pains experienced at any of the larger bank-owned firms as they struggle to balance growth and revenue—while managing thousands of advisors and creating layers of guidance designed to serve many. For example, in an attempt to stave off increasing advisor attrition by addressing some of the frustrations expressed by their advisors, Merrill Lynch rolled out a campaign called Project Thunder. Since its launch over the summer, there remains some unanswered questions: * Does the campaign resolve what’s really bugging advisors most? * Will these measures work to halt the tide of attrition? * Or to put it another way, is it too little too late? This episode explores the answers to those questions and more, plus delves into what we’re hearing from advisors:  * Many want to take a “wait and see” approach. Is there any risk to staying put? * Advisors are growing at record rates—especially this year. Why mess with success? * Is Project Thunder the beginning of greater acknowledgement by Bank of America that there are changes that need to be made to stave off further attrition? * And, ultimately, what can advisors expect in the coming months? To be sure, Merrill is a world-class firm with a strong platform, technology stack and brand respected more than most in the industry. And it wouldn’t take much to get advisors to stay put. And this is true of any large firm: Advisors don’t need all of their needs to be addressed. What advisors do want is to feel connected. They want to feel as though they are being heard. And they want to retain some agency over their business lives. Listen to learn more about how these changes impact employee advisors at all ranks at Merrill and other large firms. Listen in... > Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources Merrill’s Project Thunder Do the Rumblings from Advisors Indicate an Approaching Storm? Read-> Merrill Advisors Ask... Answers to the most frequently asked questions when considering a transition from Merrill Lynch. Download-> Why Are So Many Merrill Advisors Moving Bracing for the Next Chapter. Read-> Merrill and the Protocol How Long Will the Marriage Last? Read-> When Faced with a “Retention Deal,” Merrill Advisors Will Have 3 Options The conversation around a highly anticipated “retention deal” from Merrill Lynch has ...
Nov 3
25 min
Regional Culture, Global Capabilities: Stifel’s $400B Success Story
A conversation with Ron Kruszewski, Chairman and CEO, Stifel Financial Corp. When we started this series some 4 years ago, we expected to share a handful of episodes that explored the independent space—hence the name Mindy Diamond on Independence. But we came to a realization: There was a far bigger story to tell. That is, one that was not focused solely on a model but instead on a mindset. An evolved state-of-mind amongst advisors who were eschewing the bureaucracy of the brokerage world they grew up in for models that offered greater freedom and control. Because the reality is that not all advisors are looking to cast aside their W-2s and become business owners. Instead, they are looking for more control over how they manage clients; more creativity in how they market their services; and ultimately, freedom from the bureaucracy that is preventing them from living their best business lives. Take, for example, regional firms. A moniker that once represented smaller firms with a limited geographic footprint has since taken on a completely different meaning in the evolved wealth management landscape. The new regionals are by no means small—and have come to represent a cultural appeal unlike their wirehouse counterparts. And those geographic limitations are also a thing of the past. In this episode, Ron Kruszewski, Chairman and CEO of Stifel Financial Corp., shares how the firm serves as an example of what the term “regional firm” represents today. That is, one with nearly 2,300 advisors managing some $400B in assets and $4.6B in projected revenue. And that’s a far cry from where the firm was back in 1997 when Ron became CEO: At that time, the firm’s revenue was at $100mm with assets under management at $8B. Stifel stakes the claim of being the only investment bank and financial services firm with 25 years of record revenue—even throughout the financial crisis in 2008. Today, Stifel is the nation’s 7th largest full-service wealth management and investment banking firm in terms of number of advisors. Ron talks about Stifel’s success, including: * Their extraordinary growth—and how several strategic acquisitions made over the last 2 decades contributed to the firm’s accretion. * The broad capabilities of Stifel’s global bank—and how that adds to the value advisors can offer their clients. * The real difference between Stifel and other firms and models—and how the lack of bureaucracy is one of the most attractive qualities of the firm. * Their independent channel—and how it competes with launching or joining an RIA. * The firm’s entrepreneurial culture—and how that culture allows the advisors to act in their clients’ best interests. While culture is one of the most over-used terms in the industry, the fact is that it is often the main reason an advisor changes firms or models. As Ron shares, Stifel places a high value on an environment built around advisors and their ability to have agency over how they do business, with the bonus of support and community. And for many advisors, that’s the perfect mix. Listen in to learn more about Stifel and how it fits into the ever-expanding industry landscape. Listen in... &gt; Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources Redefining Regional Firms It’s More About Culture Than Geography. <a href="https://www.diamond-consultants.
Oct 28
52 min
Motivated by the Long Game: Why a UBS Breakaway Left a Deal Behind for Independence with Summit Financial
A conversation with Monish Verma, Managing Partner, Vardhan Wealth Management There are so many great things about this breakaway story that we had a difficult time trying to pinpoint that “one thing” that was unique and buzzworthy. But the reality is that Monish Verma's break from UBS to independence doesn’t have one special thing that we can share with you. It has dozens. Monish describes what is an incredibly instructive journey, starting with the thought process when considering change, on through to due diligence and decision-making, and ultimately how his choice to go independent is resonating today. A wealth management career that started in 1995 with Dean Witter and later Morgan Stanley, Monish moved to UBS in 2009 with $60mm in assets. As a sole practitioner, he set his sights on a path to grow the business and later added a sales associate. And it was that focus and a concerted effort to drive referrals that accelerated the growth of assets under management to over $350mm. Monish is clear to share his gratitude for all that he was able to achieve at UBS but one thing was lacking: Autonomy. He wanted greater agency in how he served clients, grew the business and hired team members—but he was limited by what UBS allowed. So he explored options in the landscape, coming close to choosing a transition deal with an outsized check—yet it was the strings attached that made him think twice. Instead, Monish was attracted a supported independence option from Summit Financial and in May of 2021, he launched Vardhan Wealth Management. And in the process, sold a portion of the business to gain equity in Summit—a move that he describes as a “partnership.” In this episode, Monish shares his journey with Louis Diamond, including: * The choice to go independent vs taking a wirehouse transition deal—and how he reconciled foregoing an outsized recruitment check. * Opting not to launch his own RIA firm—and the value he sees in launching his business with Summit Financial instead of going it alone. * The decision to sell equity right out of the gate—and how doing so served to solidify his partnership with Summit. * Making a non-Protocol move from UBS—and how that impacted his transition. * A thorough due diligence process—and how exploring options “not on his radar” helped to inform his ultimate decision. Monish shares a journey that offers valuable lessons on how clarity of goals and vision can help lead you toward the right destination. And even when presented with what was an outstanding deal in the short-term, he saw greater value and opportunity in the long-term. Listen in... &gt; Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources Are You Selling Yourself Short by Selling Equity? Here are 5 things to consider. Read-&gt; What you need to know about UBS leaving the Protocol What to be aware of before allowing your emotions get the best of you. <a href="https://www.diamond-consultants.
Oct 19
52 min
A Losing Battle at Merrill: Why a Former Leader Left the Herd for Independence–the Value of Culture and the “Intoxicating” Effects of Freedom
A conversation with Greg Franks, Managing Partner, President and COO of Snowden Lane Partners 10 years ago, the thought of going independent was anathema to most advisors—and almost completely unheard of for a senior leader of a firm like Merrill Lynch. But to Greg Franks, the “bankifying” of Merrill – the firm that he served at for nearly 3 decades – was nothing short of “tragic.” In this episode, Greg talks about how initial optimism around the positives that Bank of America brought to the firm quickly turned to a battle that management fought in the background. Yet he speaks highly of his tenure there, serving in senior leadership positions in the US, Europe, and the Middle East where he also served as the Western Division Director, Mid-Atlantic Division Director and Regional Managing Director. And as a Managing Director with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, he was responsible for over 5000 advisors, $450B in client assets and $4B in annual revenue. But it was a cultural shift that was being imposed by the bank – such as increasing minimum account sizes, cross-selling products and diminishing control that advisors had – that he and other fellow Merrill leaders, including Lyle LaMothe, who ran all of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, could no longer stand behind. Today, Greg shares the story of his own leap to independence in 2011 from a ranking position at Merrill to the role of Managing Partner, President and COO of Snowden Lane Partners, including: * What was going on at Merrill that motivated him to leave—and how those changes continue to impact the firm and influences the genesis of new models in the industry landscape. * Leaving the wirehouse and vetting other opportunities from top firms—and why he felt they were all very much the same. * The importance of starting out in the business as an advisor—and how that experience helped him develop a great deal of empathy and deep understanding of the role. * His investment in the firm started by the former Business Risk Officer for Merrill, Rob Mooney—and how the experience he and his partners had at Merrill defines Snowden’s culture and value proposition today. * What he sees as the real value of independence to a financial advisor—and how the freedoms associated with business ownership can be “intoxicating.” * What makes the firm stand apart from others in the boutique space—and how a model like Snowden’s differs from what he left behind in the wirehouse world. While we often hear the advisor’s perspective of changes within the brokerage world, it’s even more powerful to gain the point of view from management and to understand what led up to those changes—that is, the behind-the-scenes fight to retain the freedoms that advisors once had. But as Greg shared, “It was a losing battle.” It’s an episode that gives an exclusive look behind the curtain – a first-hand perspective of a changing wealth management industry – with valuable insights for anyone who works in it. Listen in... &gt; Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources Why are so Many Merrill Advisors Moving: Bracing for the Next Chapter Whether inclined to stay or to go,
Oct 12
55 min
Third Gen UBS Breakaway Finds Sanctuary: $150mm in Assets and a Long Runway to Grow
A conversation with Tom Stadum, Managing Partner of Fjell Capital In spring of 2020, most advisors were in over their heads trying to figure out how they were going to guide clients in a world locked down by the pandemic. Tom Stadum was managing $150mm in assets at UBS at the time. And while he was juggling the same upheaval that others were, it was also a big wake-up call to him: The wealth management world was going through an evolution like no other—and the thoughts he had already been entertaining about how his business needed to change grew stronger. At not even 30-years old at the time, Tom realized that he had a really long runway to take advantage of the greater opportunities that existed beyond the walls of his brokerage firm. So he dove head-first into due diligence – at a time when everything was virtual – and by August, Tom and his team launched Fjell Capital in Fargo, ND, with platform provider Sanctuary Wealth. Tom is a third-generation financial advisor: His grandfather started the practice some 60 years earlier at what was then Piper Jaffray. In 1992, Roger Stadum, Tom’s father, joined the family business and later became the successor. And Tom jumped on board right out of college in 2013. Just 2 short years later, Tom’s dad signed on to UBS’s retire-in-place program (the precursor to ALFA), with Tom in line to take over the reins. As someone still fairly new to the business, Tom admits it seemed like the only option at the time and, ultimately, he saw the program as a real opportunity for his dad to monetize his life’s work—as well as the benefit of taking over the book and building the business. But UBS started to change in ways they weren’t happy with. And Tom began to see how the industry landscape was evolving around them—with more exciting options becoming available seemingly every day. In this episode, Tom talks about this journey with Louis, including: * The changes Tom and his father saw at UBS—and how they retained their focus on best serving their clients while Roger fulfilled the obligations of the retire-in-place agreement. * The next gen perspective of retire-in-place programs—and how Tom handled the transfer of responsibilities from his father as well as communicating the transition to clients. * The choice to conduct due diligence and move in the midst of a pandemic—and how “the handwriting on the wall” indicated that waiting would only put his clients and business at a disadvantage. * The decision to go independent with platform provider Sanctuary Wealth—and why Sanctuary won over other options he considered. * And much more. Tom is energetic and positive and shares wisdom well-beyond his years—with a point of view and relevant real-world lessons that both senior and next gen advisors will learn from. Listen in... &gt; Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources UBS ALFA Program: Understanding the Real Impact on All Advisors, Their Clients, Their Teams and Their Future Uncovering the potential – and hidden risks – of retire-in-place programs like ALFA often comes down to answering these 8 questions. <a href="https://www.diamond-consultants.
Oct 6
42 min
Industry Update on Recruiting: Should you go for the forgivable loan?
A conversation with Louis Diamond It’s a question that advisors often ask themselves when considering a move: “Should I go for the short-term windfall or bet on the long-term potential?” The merit of forgivable loans tied to recruiting is an ongoing debate in the wealth management industry. The decades-long convention for advisors considering change (especially those in the W-2 world) is to monetize the business by negotiating a lucrative transition bonus with competing organizations. Yet those on the independent side often talk about building long-term enterprise value and controlling one’s own destiny instead of focusing on deals. Louis Diamond explored the topic in an article for AdvisorHub, Advisor Recruitment: The Bull and Bear Case for a Forgivable Loan and given its popularity, we decided to take a deeper dive in this podcast episode. Is it wrong for an advisor to seek monetary remuneration for taking the risk and going through the hard work of a transition? Absolutely not! Is it better for advisors to self-finance their move and focus on the longer-term economics of independence? Possibly. Mindy and Louis consider both sides of the argument, including: * The current state of deals—and how they differ depending upon firm and channel. * The impact of advisor mindset—and how it has influenced change in the industry. * The real value of a recruitment deal—and how to reconcile leaving potentially life-changing money on the table when going independent. * The short-term windfall vs the long-term potential—and how to think through what’s best for your business life. This episode may not settle the debate over whether you should opt for a forgivable loan or not—but it will give you some food for thought when considering what’s right for you. Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources The Self-Assessment for Advisors A subset of the more extensive assessment that we provide to our advisor clients is now available for download. Download-&gt; The Juggling Act: Balancing Short-Term Needs and Long-Term Goals A process to help you identify and prioritize your immediate needs vs goals for the future when considering a move. Read-&gt; Looking for the Biggest and Best Deal: Don’t be a Jerk! 5 things you can do to ensure you’re not giving off the wrong vibes and getting an inferior deal because of it. Read-&gt; Show Me the Money How Independent Advisors Monetize in the Short-Term. Listen-&gt; The Bigger Picture for Independent Advisors How to Monetize Your Life’s Work in the Long-Term. <a href="https://www.diamond-consultants.
Sep 30
31 min
Why a $5B UBS Breakaway Team Set Out to Build the “Boutique Firm of the Future”
A conversation with Rob Sechan, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, NewEdge Wealth Everything starts with a vision. In the early stages, it might be an idea that forms as a result of an experience, and over time it becomes more tangible. An image that is molded, nurtured and translated until it becomes something real. It’s how many of the greatest business ideas have come to fruition. And very much how it came to pass for Rob Sechan and his partner Jeff Kobernick. Because while at UBS, Rob and Jeff built an amazing business with nearly $5B in assets under advisement. And one would think that a team that size certainly has an “all-access pass” to anything UBS might have available for them to serve their ultra-high net worth clients. But as Rob shares, client service became increasingly difficult as UBS transitioned from what he describes as “an enabler to risk mitigator.” When it no longer felt like they could offer unlimited and unconflicted advice to their clients, it was time to explore ways in which they could. Yet in their exploration, they couldn’t find an option that aligned with their vision of a better way to serve their clients. That is, a firm designed for ultra-high net worth clients—a conflict free environment where advisors can become a customer of the Street with access the whole of market and all possible investment solutions. Plus, they expected the highest level of safety and stability, and the very best of technology, along with a community of like-minded individuals who have a shared desire to build something bigger than themselves. So they built what they felt would bridge the gap in offerings and in December of 2020, RIA firm NewEdge Wealth was launched. In this episode, Rob shares the journey that he and Jeff took, along with fellow UBS veterans Walter Granruth and John Strauss, Jr. The conversation delves into: * The mega-business that he and Jeff built at UBS—and how changes at the firm over time impacted their ability to serve clients. * The options they considered through due diligence—and why they felt there wasn’t one specific model or firm that aligned with their goals. * The stellar team they assembled at NewEdge—and how partner EdgeCo Holdings adds value, stability, technology and talent to round out the vision. * The specific gaps that NewEdge fills—and why he sees this as the “boutique firm of the future.” Yet it’s the advice that Rob shares that will continue to ring true whether you’re considering a move or not: “Exploration is mandatory if you want to remain competitive.” It’s an interview that explores how a vision turns into a reality—and ultimately results in the birth of a unique model in an evolving sea of options. Listen in... Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources The Path to Independence in Two Steps or One – With Alex Goss of Goss Advisors Alex Goss of Goss Advisors (now NewEdge Advisors) speaks with Louis Diamond about his path to independence, starting in the wirehouse world, then on to the independent broker dealer (IBD) space before launching his own firm, now a leading platform for prospective advisors. Listen -&gt; Why Billion-Dollar Teams Move<br /...
Sep 23
53 min
Industry Guru Bob Veres on Achieving Excellence and Building the Advisory Firm of the Future
A conversation with one of wealth management’s most influential thought leaders and the editor and publisher of Inside Information There are few in the financial services media that have the name recognition and clout of Bob Veres. And even less who are as smart—or as outspoken. Because for over four decades, Bob has been at the helm of journalism in the wealth management industry, having served as the editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site. Today, Bob’s newsletter Inside Information and his annual Insider’s Forum conference serve as part guide, part master study group, and part networking community for advisors looking for the essentials on running and growing prosperous businesses and better serving clients. Bob has a unique perspective honed from a vast depth of experience and knowledge, filling a critical gap for our listeners, particularly prospective breakaways—because he comes at this not representing a firm or model, but instead, fully objective. In this episode, Bob shares his thoughts on the wealth management world—as it stands now and where it’s heading, including: * The “rapid evolutionary shifts” that the financial services profession is adjusting to—and how the role of the advisor has changed as a result. * A changing client mindset—and what advisors need to do to meet their clients’ dynamic needs. * The shifting demographic towards younger clients—and how advisors and firms will need to adapt culture and processes to this new stakeholder. * The “firm of the future”—and the changes advisors can start making now when it comes to advice, service and marketing. Plus, Bob’s keen sense of technology and its role in achieving excellence when serving clients and building a wealth management business is critical advice for those considering independence as well as current business owners. It’s one show to tune in to—if for nothing more than Bob’s unscripted and uncensored commentary. Download a transcript of this episode… Related Resources A Powerful Strategy for Financial Advisors Looking to Expand Reach and Accelerate Growth Reaching clients and prospects has become equally challenging and auspicious—but there are efficient and effective ways for advisors to “get through.” Read-&gt; The Wealth Management Landscape At A Glance What Financial Advisors Need to Know. Read-&gt; An “Industry Outsider” Shows What’s Possible When Building a Financial Planning Firm from the Ground Up A conversation with Anders Jones, CEO and Co-Founder, Facet Wealth. Listen-&gt; &nbsp;
Sep 17
49 min
Load more