Category Archives: Education

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Advisor Innovations: Asset Management Pioneer Bruce Bond on the Story Behind Innovator ETFs



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Bruce Bond, CEO and co-founder of Innovator Capital Management, a pioneer in the ETF industry and three-time WealthManagment.com Industry Award winner, to discuss pushing boundaries within the ETF market, diving into where the ETF business is going and how advisors are using ETFs in their client portfolios. 

Bond discusses:

  • The problem Bond and co-founder John Southard were looking to solve with Innovator’s Buffer ETFs, which limit the upside potential on market gains while setting a floor on the downside, and how advisors are using them.
  • Why the ETF is a better wrapper for the investment strategy that typically was found in a structured product offering from the largest investment houses. 
  • Bruce’s outlook for the markets, and how the volatile turn in equities is accelerating asset flows this year into the Buffer ETFs.
  • How the Buffer ETFs prompted a number of imitators to launch their own versions of defined-outcome ETFs. 
  • Which asset classes are on the white board at Innovator headquarters for the next ETFs. 
  • The story of how Innovator’s hometown of Wheaton, Ill., became the hotbed of ETF innovation, starting with Unit Investment Trust managers from Nuveen and Nike Securities, now First Trust. 

Connect With Bruce Bond:

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About Our Guest:

Bruce is co-founder and CEO of Innovator Capital Management. Having cofounded PowerShares Capital Management in 2003, he is recognized as one of the pioneers of the ETF industry. His leadership, creativity and entrepreneurial vision challenged the conventional thinking about ETFs and blazed a trail that made way for the massive growth of what is known today as smart or strategic beta. In addition to being recognized for best-in- class products, Bruce has been named the ETF industry’s most influential person on multiple occasions. He is a thought leader and has been quoted in financial publications around the globe.




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Advisor Innovations: Live Oak’s James Hughes on Underwriting RIA Growth



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by James Hughes. head of investment advisory at Live Oak Bank, to discuss how and why Live Oak became one of the earliest lenders to RIAs, helping facilitate succession plans and the rise of mergers and acquisitions. Hughes has a bird’s eye view on the RIA industry, peering into the details of the businesses his bank works with and shares insights into what makes a firm valuable in the eyes of the market. 

Hughes discusses:

  • How SBA loans work within succession planning and M&A markets
  • What type of loans Live Oak Bank offers to investment advisors
  • How has the increase in competition changed the advisor landscape
  • The future of M&A in a down market and possible recession
  • How Live Oak responded to the flood of PPP loans it administered during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Connect With James Hughes:

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About Our Guest:

James Hughes joined Live Oak Bank in 2013. Live Oak Bank specializes in lending to investment advisors for acquisitions, succession, working capital, refinance, breakaway or tuck-in and commercial real estate purchases.




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Advisor Innovations: Shirl Penney on The Modern Independent Advisor



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Shirl Penney, President and CEO of Dynasty Financial Partners, diving into the history and ecosystem of the independent financial advisor movement. 

Shirl discusses:

  • The problem Penney and his co-founder were looking to solve when they launched Dynasty.
  • How technology was the great enabler fueling Dynasty’s growth
  • Replicating wirehouse capabilities and financial products outside the wirehouse’s walls. 
  • What are advisors looking for as independent advisors, and how that has changed over time.
  • How newer investors in the independent channel of financial advice are changing the market, and what an economic downturn might mean for advisors.
  • Where the business of wealth management is going, and the role Penney sees Dynasty playing in the future.

Connect With Shirl Penney:

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About Our Guest:

Shirl Penney is the founder of Dynasty Financial Partners. He currently serves as President and CEO of Dynasty and is a member of the Board of Directors. Shirl is a frequent speaker at industry events, often quoted in various financial publications, and was named to Investment News’ 2015 list of 40 most influential people in wealth management under the age of 40. Shirl was also named to the 2016 inaugural list of Icons and Innovators in wealth management by Investment News.




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Advisor Innovations: Robert Sofia on Bringing Digital Marketing to Advisors



In this episode, recorded live at the Wealth Management EDGE conference at the Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood in Florida, David Armstrong is joined by Robert Sofia, Founder and CEO of Snappy Kraken, a digital marketing platform for financial advisors.

Robert discusses:

  • What problem Sofia was trying to solve when he founded Snappy Kraken.
  • Why each financial advisor requires marketing tailored to their own clientele and prospects
  • The importance of advisors finding their authentic voice when it comes to creating content
  • How technology has changed everything about how prospective clients see advisors, even if advisors don’t use any digital marketing platforms themselves.
  • How Sofia stumbled upon the RIA industry after successful stints selling everything from Knives to RVs to automobiles, his first job creating marketing for an RIA in Florida, and how that was the springboard to founding his own firm. 
  • What opportunities Sofia saw with the acquisition of the firm Advisor Websites, and where Sofia sees the company going in the future. 

Resources:

Connect With Robert Sofia:

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About Our Guest:

Robert Sofia is the Chairman and CEO of Snappy Kraken, an automated growth program for financial advisors. He is the author of four books, including Blend Out: From Ordinary to Irresistible: How Advisors Can Market Like The Greatest Brands in the World, released in 2021.


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Advisor Innovations: Jason Wenk on Scaling Advisor Technology the Right Way



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Founder and CEO of Altruist, Jason Wenk, to talk about the state of advisor technology and the move toward consolidation of onboarding, custodial services, trading, account management and portfolio reporting with digital applications. Wenk explains why the current state of advisory technology needed a kick to bring it closer to what advisors, and clients, expect. He shares his journey as an advisor and an entrepreneur, why he started Altruist, how it has evolved, and where it is aiming to go in the next few years.

Jason discusses:

  • The problems with the current slate of advisor technology that Wenk set out to solve with Altruist (hint: Smooth, free-flowing integrations between separate components in a tech stack is largely a myth.)
  • Why custodial services cannot scale by charging advisors a basis point fee—and in fact why that kind of structure, advocated by some RIAs,  would hinder custodial innovation and the democratization of financial services.
  • How an ability to sustain lower margins than other custodial services in the market allows him and his team to continue innovating new features on the platform.
  • Why Altruist charges new advisors nothing until they reach 100 accounts, and how the platform is designed to help advisors scale their practice alongside the platform. 
  • How Altruist is misperceived by some as a tech platform for new advisors launching practices, when in fact it has multi-custodial capabilities and advisors at RIAs with over $10 billion serving HNW clients just as efficiently—In fact, Wenk still advises 11 HNW clients himself. 
  • Wenk’s experience starting his first RIA, and building the technology he needed when he couldn’t get it from the marketplace—and his current relationship with FormulaFolios after the merger with Brookstone Capital Management.

Connect With Jason Wenk:

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About Our Guest:

Jason Wenk is a fintech executive, writer, self-proclaimed math geek, and investment systems developer. He began his career at Morgan Stanley in NYC at age 20 as one of their youngest professional employees, working on investment research and asset management systems development. Jason entered the industry with a technology background, and one of his first experiences was to watch the stock market implode following 9/11.




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Advisor Innovations: Dr. Daniel Crosby on Understanding a Client’s Money Mindset



In this episode, David Armstrong talks to Dr. Daniel Crosby, Chief Behavioral Officer at Orion Advisor Solutions. The son of a financial advisor, Crosby holds a Ph.D in psychology from Brigham Young University, and has spent his career bridging those insights to help people understand how they think about, and plan for, money and finances. He was a consultant to the industry for many years (and a one-time columnist for wealthmanagement.com) before joining Brinker Capital as chief behavioral officer in 2018. He holds the same position at Orion Advisor Solutions following that firm’s acquisition of Brinker. At Orion, Crosby is bringing behavioral finance insights into the design of Orion’s advisory platforms to help advisors build – and maintain – better financial strategies for their clients.

Dr. Crosby discusses:

  • How to translate traditional advice into effective tools for financial planning
  • How to address the changing dynamic in a person’s life through their financial plan
  • The impact of personal ideology on major money decisions
  • The role of advisors against the stress of money and irrational decision making
  • And more

Resources:

Connect With Dr. Daniel Crosby:

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About Our Guest:

Educated at Brigham Young and Emory Universities, Dr. Daniel Crosby is a psychologist and behavioral finance expert who helps organizations understand the intersection of mind and markets. Dr. Crosby recently co-authored a New York Times Best-Selling book titled, Personal Benchmark: Integrating Behavioral Finance and Investment Management.

He also constructed the “Irrationality Index,” a sentiment measure that gauges greed and fear in the marketplace from month to month. His ideas have appeared in the Huffington Post and Risk Management Magazine, as well as his monthly columns for WealthManagement.com and Investment News. Daniel was named one of the “12 Thinkers to Watch” by Monster.com and a “Financial Blogger You Should Be Reading” by AARP. When he is not consulting around market psychology, Daniel enjoys independent films, fanatically following St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and spending time with his wife and two children.


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Advisor Innovations: Brian Portnoy on Helping Clients Rethink Wealth



Sometimes, your clients might get emotionally carried away and make irrational money decisions, especially during times of high market fluctuations. It is your responsibility, as their advisor, to remind them that money is not the end goal, but only the means to the goal — a joyful and meaningful life.

In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by author and founder of Shaping Wealth, Brian Portnoy. Brian explains why the true definition of wealth should be “funded contentment,” or the ability to live a life of purpose and meaning. He also reveals the tools and language that help financial advisors and clients with their subconscious biases. 

Brian discusses:

  • How funded contentment helps underwrite a meaningful life
  • The right language to provoke conversations around money mindset with clients
  • Why financial advisors shouldn’t pathologize the human experience of money
  • How he works with financial advisors to promote financial well being

Connect With Brian Portnoy:

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About Our Guest:

Brian is one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of money.  He has written multiple bestselling books, including The Geometry of Wealth, and has 20+ years of experience as investor and educator in the hedge fund and mutual fund industries.  He is a CFA Charterholder and earned a PhD at the University of Chicago.


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Advisor Innovations: Carter Gibson on Planning for the Future of Your Firm



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Carter Gibson, vice president and head of advisor M&A at LPL Financial. Working with a network of some 20,000 independent advisors, Gibson and his team have consulted with firms across the spectrum, giving him unique insight into how advisors think about, plan for, and execute, successful succession strategies. Whether that’s transferring a firm to junior advisors or merging with another, the process, he stresses, should be based first and foremost on your objectives and goals for the future of the business and your career; identifying those aspirations is a crucial first step. Gibson discusses what is driving the recent frenzy in M&A, what to look for in buyers or merger partners, and the best post-transaction practices to ensure a successful integration. 

Carter discusses:

  • What’s driving the recent frenzy in M&A activity and firm transitions.
  • Why today’s challenge isn’t a lack of buyers –– but finding the right one for your firm.
  • How current succession-planning transactions are structured
  • How to identify “cultural fit” and why it’s so important, even if the plan is to sell the firm outright. 
  • The three lenses to every deal –– financial, operational, and emotional –– and why the emotional one is the trickiest and most likely to derail a plan. 
  • Why the fear of alienating clients during a transition is overblown—if the process is planned correctly. 

Connect With Carter Gibson:

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About Our Guest:

Carter Gibson is a senior vice president at LPL. He brings 15+ years of experience across business strategy, corporate finance, investor relations, and mergers and acquisitions. Carter currently leads the company’s M&A, succession, and catastrophe planning groups.




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Advisor Innovations: Max Schatzow on The SEC’s New Rules for Advisor Marketing In 2022



By November 2022, all advisors will have to be in compliance with the new rules for marketing and advertising their firms, including the use of client and third-party testimonials. Understanding what these new rules are and how they will impact an advisors’ ability to market their services is crucial. 

In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Max Schatzow,  founder of RIA Lawyers, to dissect the new rules and compliance regulations surrounding marketing for advisors. Max shares some of the old prohibitions that carry over with the new rules and the importance of coming into compliance with the new rules before the end of November 2022.

Max discusses:

  • The biggest changes in marketing rules coming in 2022
  • What the opportunities, and risks, are under the new regulations
  • What the new rules say about touting a portfolio’s financial returns and financial performance
  • What we still don’t know, and what the SEC has yet to issue guidance on, regarding how the rules will be enforced.. 

Connect With Max Schatzow:

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About Our Guest:

Max advises investment advisors and broker-dealers on a range of financial regulatory matters. Max advises private investment vehicles, financial institutions, and other market participants on structure and operations, regulatory guidance and interpretation, investment adviser compliance and controls, and internal and regulatory investigations. He also advises these same entities through examinations, administrative proceedings, and enforcement actions.


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Advisor Innovations Podcast: GeoWealth’s Colin Falls



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Colin Falls, president of GeoWealth, on the firm’s growth trajectory, what it means to be an “advisor-driven” turnkey asset management platform for RIAs, and how technology can ease the tension for RIAs between model portfolios and customized investment management, and what the company’s recent capital raise means for the future of GeoWealth.

Colin discusses:

  • The history of GeoWealth, how it launched as a family office-backed tech platform that acquired an RIA to develop its technology in real-time, and where Falls sees the firm in the larger ecosystem of advisor technology now.
  • The never-ending arms race in digital product development and engineering, and how GeoWealth’s recent capital raise is going to be deployed.
  • How technology is making customized model portfolios for smaller RIAs a scalable proposition.
  • GeoWealth research which shows the benefits of outsourcing investment management on an RIA’s growth.
  • A sneak preview of GeoWealth’s upcoming tax-focused technology integration announcement.
  • How he sees ESG and direct indexing impacting the future of investment management for RIAs and the trajectory of GeoWealth.
  • His background playing professional basketball in Italy and Eastern Europe, and thoughts on the conflict in Ukraine.

Connect With Colin Falls:

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About Our Guest:

Prior to joining GeoWealth in 2012, Colin served in various roles and departments – ranging across advisory and back office – at Frontier Wealth Management, a Kansas City based Registered Investment Advisor. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business with a B.A. in Management and Entrepreneurship. As a captain of the Notre Dame Basketball team, Colin earned First Team All-Big East honors as a senior and finished his career with the most three-point field goals made in Notre Dame and Big East Conference history. Colin went on to play basketball professionally in Italy and the Czech Republic.