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19. CAIS’s Matt Brown on Connecting Advisors to Alternative Investment Managers



Traditional 60/40 portfolios are not delivering the returns clients are looking for, argues Matt Brown, a former financial advisor and now CEO of CAIS, an alternatives investment platform for wealth managers. In the current market, alternative investing has increased in demand, prompting advisors to look for more information on these investment options.  

In this episode, David Armstrong talks with Brown about how the CAIS platform works to connect financial advisors with alternative asset managers and strategies that are right for their clients. Matt talks about the role of alternative investments within the current market and the importance of education as investing continues to evolve.

David and Matt discusses:

  • How CAIS provides connections to facilitate investments in alternatives
  • Why alternative investments are increasing in popularity among advisors and clients
  • The importance of education when advisors implement alternative investing
  • The role for crypto and blockchain technology for CAIS. 

Connect With Matt Brown:

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About Our Guest:

Matt Brown is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of CAIS. He has spent over 30 years at the intersection of wealth management, alternative investments, and platform design. He began his career as a financial advisor at Shearson Lehman Brothers and Smith Barney. In 2009, Matt founded CAIS, the first truly open marketplace for alternative investments, where financial advisors and asset managers can engage and transact directly on a massive scale. Financial advisors, the professionals we designate to oversee our economic futures, do not have the same access to alternative investments in comparison to large institutions. CAIS is changing that. Matt believes entrepreneurship is the major driver of economic and social change. He’s spent the better part of two decades working with Endeavor, the world’s leading organization for high impact entrepreneurs. During his tenure, he had the opportunity to mentor dozens of entrepreneurs from around the world, including Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Matt is honored to have been on Endeavor’s South African and Turkish Boards which ultimately led to a position on the Global Board of Directors. The experience deepened his belief that helping entrepreneurs build and scale their businesses promotes economic growth and prosperity. It’s Matt’s personal mission to ensure that anyone with a dream, and the drive to achieve it, have an equal opportunity to make it happen.


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18. Advisor Innovations: Mark Bruno on Billion-Dollar RIA



Ten years ago, the idea of a $1 billion AUM client-facing RIA was hard to fathom. Today, the $100 billion RIA is the new hurdle, and a few have already crossed it.

That speaks to the incredible growth and whirlwind of mergers and acquisitions in the independent advisory channel, and few have watched that transformation as close as Mark Bruno, Managing Director at Informa Wealth Management, the home of Wealthmanagement.com, Inside ETFs and Wealth/Stack.  In this episode, David Armstrong talks to Bruno about the past decade, what’s fueling the growth of the most aggressive RIAs in the market and what that means for RIAs who are poised to join in the frenzy. Mark also reveals the evaluation drivers behind determining a businesses value and discusses the question of what the flood of private equity money in the space means for the future of the industry.

David and Mark discuss:

  • His tenure leading media and industry research efforts at Investment News as associate publisher and at boutique investment bank Echelon Partners
  • The explosion of mergers and acquisitions over the past decade, and why the velocity of deals is increasing
  • What growth funding from “outside” investors means for the wealth management space 
  • What valuation drivers mean the most to acquirers and investors;
  • The potential timeline of private equity investors and what they bring to the table in terms of professional management and M&A experience;
  • His plans for RIAEdge, a new initiative to create a business community around professionally managed RIAs with research and small-scale events to examine and understand the valuation drivers and dynamics of the fast-changing industry.  

Connect With David Armstrong:

Connect With Mark Bruno:

About Our Guest:

Mark Bruno is Managing Director, Wealth Management at Informa Connect. In his role, Mr. Bruno focuses on the expansion and enhancement of the organization’s Wealth Management media and event properties, which currently consists of WealthManagement.com, Inside ETFs podcast and the WealthStack podcast. He is also charged with driving several innovative new community and advisor-based initiatives.  

In addition, Mr. Bruno is overseeing strategic partnerships and acquisitions to accelerate Informa’s growth within the financial advisor and wealth management communities. Mr. Bruno brings over 20 years of experience in the wealth management and asset management industries to Informa, including prominent leadership roles in industry media, research, and consulting organizations. 

 


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17. The Wealthtech Landscape with LPL’s Gary Carrai



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Gary Carrai, former financial advisor, co-founder of Fortigent with Steve Lockshin, and currently executive vice president of LPL Financial in charge of third-party technology partnerships. Gary discusses the evolving affiliation options LPL Financial has opened for financial advisors and how he views the fintech ecosystem around wealth management, where he thinks LPL will turn next for fintech partnerships and his views in Cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence as it relates to financial advice. 

Gary discusses:

  • His career in financial services, including his early days as an advisor and selling his technology firm to Fortigent to LPL.
  • His current role overseeing wealth technology partnerships for LPL
  • What many advisors get wrong about their technology stack
  • The great bundled, to unbundled, to bundled again pendulum in technology ecosystems for independent advisors
  • How COVID-19 impacted financial advisors’ decision-making
  • LPL’s approach to cryptocurrency

Connect With Gary Carrai:

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16. Adam Holt on The Role of Technology for Advisors in Creating a Client’s Plan



Winners of Wealth Management’s 2021 Best Financial Planning Technology, Asset-Map  has grown from personal use cases to helping thousands of financial advisors make meaningful decisions to grow their business. 

In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by the CEO and founder of Asset-Map, Adam Holt. Adam shares why he started Asset-Map, and how its success reflects the need for advisors to expedite the process of explaining each aspect of a client’s financial plan. He discusses how automation has entered the financial planning industry and the influence of technology for current and future financial advisors.

Adam discusses:

  • Why he started Asset-Map
  • How technology impacts how financial advisors deliver financial planning services to clients
  • How Asset-Map removes the “set it and forget it” expectation for a financial plan
  • What the six L’s are and how they pertain to a client’s plan
  • Expectations of the next generation of advisors

Connect With Adam Holt:

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About Our Guest:

Adam Holt, Asset-Map’s Founder and CEO, was a financial planner frustrated by financial planning.

The long, research-packed reports he prepared for client meetings didn’t seem to engage clients or provide clarity. Adam realized that to better serve clients, he needed to help them focus on what matters most—making good financial decisions so they could reach their goals.

From that realization, Asset-Map was born. Created first as a tool used by Adam and his staff, his financial planning business became our software’s first success story as it grew by 300% revenue in three years and reached nearly $1 billion in assets in under a decade.

Today, Asset-Map is used by thousands of financial advisors across multiple currencies and languages to help families focus on what matters, make more engaged and confident decisions, and reach their financial goals.


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15. Ric Edelman Looks To the Future



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Services (now Edelman Financial Engines) and the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals. Edelman discusses how he founded his firm with a focus on middle class savers when every other advisory firm was only looking for HNW clients, and grew the business $22 billion in AUM before merging it with Financial Engines. Stepping away this year from the firm he founded, he is now focused on investments based around technologies that he says will transform our lives, including blockchain, genomics and artificial intelligence, and is on a mission to educate financial advisors about cryptocurrency.  

Ric discusses:

  • How his earlier career as a journalist helped set him up for success as an advisor and entrepreneur. 
  • His views on the “holier-than-thou” critics of advisory fees based on AUM. 
  • Why he thinks this is the right time to step away from Edelman Financial Engines, even as he remains the largest individual shareholder. 
  • Why he convinced Morningstar and Blackrock to partner with him in launching the iShares Exponential Technology ETF (ticker: XT), the first of the thematic ETFs focusing on transformative technologies. 
  • How most financial advisors are failing in their fiduciary duties by ignoring the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a new asset class. 
  • Why he created the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals.

Connect With Ric Edelman:

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About Our Guest:

Ric Edelman co-founded Edelman Financial Services with his wife Jean in 1986. He sold a majority stake to Sanders Morris Harris Group in 2005 and merged the firm with Financial Engines, to become Edelman Financial Engines, in 2018. He helped Morningstar create the Morningstar Exponential Technologies Index from which iShares launched the Exponential Technology ETF (ticker: XT). He founded the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals to educate the financial services industry about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. 

 


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14. How To Invest Sustainably with Jay Lipman



Clients largely respond positively to values-based investing—when it can be explained to them. 

In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Jay Lipman, co-founder of Ethic, a direct-indexing investment platform for advisors. Ethic can demonstrate to clients how to construct portfolios that reflect their values, or demonstrate how far their current portfolios are from their personal ideals. Jay shares how Ethic provides advisors with comprehensive data about each company’s impact on different social and environmental issues.

Jay discusses:

  • How Ethic helps advisors dig deep into data based on the values and priorities of the client
  • The biggest hurdles advisors face when it comes to sustainable investing.
  • The trade-offs between “off-the-shelf” ESG portfolios and customizable portfolios when it comes to values-based investing.
  • The trouble with data and standardization when it comes to current ESG investing.
  • Why investment impact is an area where many investors want more information.
  • How Ethic’s founders started the company and the technology incubators and early investors that supported them.

Connect With Jay Lipman:

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About Our Guest:

Jay Lipman seeks to understand and simplify sustainable investing, climate change, human rights and how investing can be a driver of positive change.

At Ethic, the mission is to accelerate the global transition to sustainable investing. Jay works closely with investors to help them understand and craft their unique approach to sustainable and impact investing.

Jay has been named to Forbes 30 Under 30.


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13. LPL’s Tom Murphy on the Firm’s Efforts Toward Modernizing the Advisor-Client Relationship



In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Tom Murphy, senior vice president of LPL’s advisory program. Tom discusses how LPL has augmented advisor services while the industry has evolved from facilitating transactional relationships with clients toward a more holistic planning approach, with all the inefficiencies and customization that requires. He gives an insider look into how LPL is arming advisors with investment and planning platforms to.

Tom discusses:

  • How LPL has helped advisors transition their relationships with clients.
  • What types of client investments fit best in a traditional brokerage service.
  • Why LPL’s model wealth investment platform is growing twice as fast as LPL overall.
  • How advisors are using LPL’s investment platform to customize portfolios for clients with a combination of sleeve-based models and the advisors’ portfolio decisions. 
  • LPL’s advice, and tool, for advisors looking to use digital marketing platforms for growth. 
  • How advisor technology does not have an innovation issue, but rather an adoption issue, and how it is incumbent on the platforms to help advisors better use the tools available to them.  

Connect With Tom Murphy:

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About Our Guest:

Tom Murphy currently serves as Senior Vice President of LPL’s Advisory Programs within the Wealth Management Solutions team.  In this capacity he is responsible for the management and strategy of LPL’s fee based investment programs.  This includes the programs’ investment offering, technology capabilities and pricing.  Prior to this he has held a variety of investment product and advisory roles at LPL.
Mr. Murphy joined LPL Financial in 2006 from Wells Fargo where he held positions in both finance and investment product management.  He served on LPL’s Finance team for five years prior to joining the Wealth Management Solutions team ten years ago.
Mr. Murphy has a Master’s of Business Administration from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.  He also has a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from Santa Clara University.

This podcast is sponsored by LPL.


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12. Christopher King on Advising Advisors About Cryptocurrency



As more RIAs become interested in managing cryptocurrency portfolios for their clients, several tech providers are trying to build easy access that fits into advisors’ existing workflows. 

In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Christopher King, founder and CEO of Eaglebrook Advisors, on why advisors should consider crypto, why separately managed accounts are the best way to get access, early financial backers of Eaglebrook—including many well-known names in wealth management—and which companies he considers his biggest competitors (it’s not who you think, and it’s not an ETF.) Eaglebrook has made significant inroads, being adopted as the crypto platform by large RIA firms, including Mariner Wealth and Dynasty Financial. 

Christopher discusses:

  • Why advisors should bring cryptocurrency options to clients
  • What percentage of portfolios most advisors are dedicating to crypto on the platform. 
  • How he found big-name wealth management backers in the advice space, including Marty Bicknell of Mariner Wealth Advisors and Mark Casady, former CEO of LPL. 
  • How advisors are thinking about bitcoin as both a gold substitute and an appreciating asset class.

Connect With Christopher King:

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About Our Guest:

Christopher is the founder and CEO of Eaglebrook Advisors, the largest separately managed account (SMA) platform in the crypto market, managing over $90 million in assets. Although he originally got involved in Bitcoin and digital assets in 2014, Christopher moved into the industry full time in early 2018 as a venture capital investor at Morgan Creek Capital. During his tenure, he executed deals into 16 crypto companies (e.g., Coinbase, BlockFi, Bitwise), four digital asset investment funds, and liquid digital assets such as bitcoin and ether. 

 


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11. Brian Hamburger on The Advisor Transition Game



Brian Hamburger is the founder of Hamburger Law Firm and Marketcounsel, providing legal and regulatory support to financial advisory firms.

In this episode, David Armstrong talks to Brian about the pioneering work his firm did helping wirehouse brokers “break away” and establish their own RIAs, and how his firm’s services have evolved alongside the growth of the RIA industry. 

David and Brian discusses:

  • The newest regulatory challenges to RIAs
  • How advisor transitions have changed from the early days of the “breakaway broker.”
  • What the erosion of the broker protocol means for advisors moving firms
  • The potential troubles brewing as asset managers and outside investors buy their way into the RIA channel
  • How Brian learned about the industry from his father, a financial advisor, and why he chose not to be an advisor himself. 

Connect With Brian Hamburger:

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About Our Guest:

Brian is the Founder, President and CEO of MarketCounsel Consulting, the leading business and regulatory compliance consulting firm to the country’s preeminent entrepreneurial independent investment advisers. He is also the founder and managing member of the Hamburger Law Firm, a boutique law firm with its practice in virtually all areas related to the investment and securities industry, entrepreneurial and employment matters. MarketCounsel Consulting and the Hamburger Law Firm are the result of an incessant entrepreneurial spirit and genuine desire to provide an unexpected level of value and service. Together, the consulting and law firms represent an unparalleled combination of preeminent counsel and uncompromising service to participants in the retail securities industry.

Brian is an entrepreneur, attorney, columnist, and outspoken industry advocate for independent investment advisers.  For the past 19 years, he has served at the helm of the MarketCounsel companies and the Hamburger Law Firm. Brian was named an Innovator in InvestmentNews’ 2020 class of Icons & Innovators and included in “The IA25: Investment Advisor Magazine’s Annual List of the Top Influential People in the Industry” in 2020.  In 2015, Wealth Management named Brian as one of the top thought leaders in wealth management saying, “Over the past decade, Hamburger has been the architect behind almost all of the highest-profile breakaway deals in the industry, helping advisors navigate the legal thicket of transitioning away from brokerages and into independent business models. As such he’s been a central, but often unheralded, force in the evolution of the RIA industry.” In 2014, REP. Magazine featured Brian on its cover as “The Engineer” of the RIA evolution.

Brian is often called upon to speak at regional and national conferences, not to mention his own annual gathering of the industry’s top advisers and thought leaders. While he has delivered the keynote address to the country’s state securities regulators and met with members of Congress on proposed legislation, he is more comfortable addressing school-age children. He is currently a regular contributor for CNBC and has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Dow Jones, and Reuters as well as every investment industry publication.

 


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10. Rick Ferri on His Career, Mistakes He Has Made and Why He Thinks Most Advisors are Overcompensated.



Rick Ferri has been an outspoken critic of many standard practices in the investment advisory industry. He was an early advocate of John Bogle and index-based investing, claiming most clients were better off with passive investment portfolios over using active, and more expensive, investment managers. More recently, he’s argued that advisors who give investment advice and still charge fees based on a percentage of the assets managed are in the wrong—fees for advice should be divorced from fees for portfolio management—and why many advisors are paid too much for the work they do.

In this episode, David Armstrong speaks with Ferri about how he got his start in the industry, how his thinking has evolved around Wall Street, and whether or not a fee structure that charges clients for investment advice based on assets under management can really exist in a fiduciary framework.  

Rick discusses:

  • His background in the financial industry, including his transition from Wall Street to investment advisory services.
  • Why Rick decided to sell his first $1.5 billion company—and the lessons he learned about what can go wrong.
  • The need to charge separate fees for asset management and financial advice, and why many advisors are charging too much for what they do.
  • How he decided on his hourly rate for advice.
  • The possibility of a AUM based fee existing inside a fiduciary framework
  • Whether ESG investing for most clients is a real trend, or just another way for asset managers to charge more.  

Resources:

Bogle’s Mutual Funds Perspectives Intelligent by John Bogle 

Connect With Rick Ferri:

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About Our Guest:

Rick Ferri, CFA, is an hourly-fee adviser for cost-conscious do-it-yourself investors. Visit RickFerri.com for details. Rick has over 30 years experience in the investment industry including ten years as a financial consultant at two major Wall Street firms and the founder and former owner of a large portfolio management firm. Rick is a financial analyst, author, mentor for young advisers. Rick graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a B.S. degree in business and an M.S. in Financial degree from Walsh College in Michigan. Rick has published extensively including several books on index funds, ETFs and asset allocation. Major Ferri is also a retired Marine Corps veteran and flew fighter aircraft.