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.
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.
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.
Facet Wealth’s Anders Jones on Building a Hyper-Efficient Financial Planning Firm for the Mass Affluent.
In this episode, David Armstrong is joined by Anders Jones, co-founder and CEO of Facet Wealth, to discuss the firm’s recent $100 million equity raise, how the business model of Facet Wealth has evolved from a buyer of clients’ business from other RIAs to a consumer-facing, subscription-based financial planning firm for clients who may not at first have the assets to sit comfortably at a more traditional RIA, and how the company is using technology to improve the efficiency of its over 100 in-house CFPs to the point where each advisor can take on more than twice the number of clients than the industry’s average.
How Facet’s original intention of buying smaller clients from existing RIAs didn’t really work, and why that’s a testament to most advisor-client relationships.
How they’ve grown to 11,000 clients, 75% of whom have never had a financial advisory relationship, with an aggressive digital marketing strategy, taking in thousands of leads a day.
How Facet’s technology model creates highly efficient advisor workflows, separating prospecting and onboarding of clients from the responsibility of financial planners.
How the firm plans to use its newest round of capital—not to hire more advisors necessarily, but to expand the service offerings into areas like taxes and estate planning.
Anders Jones is the co-founder and CEO of Facet Wealth. He is a venture partner with Argyle Ventures, and previously was on the business development team of LiveRamp, an enterprise data marketing platform, prior to its acquisition by Acxiom.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.