My guest on today’s podcast shares my philosophy that the industry could use a little more transparency when it comes to broker-dealers, and he is working to make that happen. Jon Henschen is the president of Henschen & Associates, a recruiting firm that specializes in helping advisors find and match themselves to the right independent broker-dealer when making the switch to a new platform. In a segment of the industry that historically has thrived by keeping much of its compensation hidden with back-end commissions and markups, Jon’s willingness to be transparent is refreshing, to say the least.
In this episode, he talks in depth about what advisors should know about the broker-dealer landscape these days. Listen in to learn how the independent broker-dealer recruiting model works, the differences in dynamic between larger and smaller firms, and what advisors need to know in order to pick the right broker-dealer for them.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/83
History always has a way of shedding light on current issues and giving us insight into the future. Ben Coombs was one of the first recipients of the CFP certification and having been involved in the growth and evolution of the financial planning industry, his insight and acquired wisdom is incredibly helpful. He talks about the early struggles of the industry and shares advice on how to advance your career while providing more valuable services to your clients.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/82
My guest today has found an impressive balance between creating a successful advisory firm and giving back to his community. Louis Barajas is the founder of Wealth Management LAB, a multi-family, office-style advisory firm that specializes in providing financial advice and business manager services to entertainers and other celebrities in the Latino community. The first Latino minority to join the National Board of the Financial Planning Association over a decade ago, Louis built his advisory firm over time, from trying to serve Latino small business owners in the barrio where he grew up to writing books and teaching financial literacy to the Latino and broader communities.
In this episode, Louis shares the stages of his unique path into financial planning that culminated in him starting his own solo practice, as well as how he stayed positive and overcame the setbacks he faced along the way. Listen in to learn how Louis built his success by focusing not on financial planning but on what he calls financial doing, the immutable laws that everyone in his firm follows, and what he says is the key to expanding financial advice to a broader range of underserved consumers.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/81
My guest on today’s podcast has grown his niche practice of serving physicians and retirees to nearly $70 million in assets under management and $800,000 of revenue in just eight years. Matthew Blocki is a 30-year-old financial advisor who built his financial-planning-centric business by starting out at Northwestern Mutual and quickly evolving from nearly 100 transactional insurance clients per year to a hyper-focused practice that’s aiming to grow with just 15 affluent clients per year instead.
In this episode, Matthew shares how he got started and survived in the early years of building his practice from scratch, as well as how he differentiated himself as a 20-something advisor working with retirees. Listen in to hear what helped shape his career in the beginning, how his practice and focus have changed over the years, and what it takes to come out exponentially ahead in your business.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/80
My guest today has built her practice to more than $250,000/year of recurring financial planning fees in just her first three years—and she did it while also starting a family. The founder of FIT Advisors, Anjali Jariwala provides financial investment and tax planning advice for young physicians and small business owners in their thirties for an annual retainer fee that starts at $10,000/year. Working entirely virtually with clients, her firm has achieved impressive growth, due in major part to focusing in on a niche from the start, which allowed the firm to pursue unique marketing channels that most other financial advisors don’t use.
In this episode, Anjali shares how she positioned her advisory firm squarely in the niche of serving independent physicians and similar small business owners by leveraging her background as a CPA and a CFP certificate, as well as how she iterated her business model very rapidly in the first few years until she eventually eliminated all the upfront fees and just raised her ongoing retainer instead. Listen in to learn how she structures her upfront and ongoing planning meetings with clients, how she balanced her work life with her home life after having her first baby barely a year after the launch of the firm, and how she reinvested into and restructured her staff support to be able to continue serving her clients during her time off.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/79
My guest today brings a unique discussion to the podcast, as well as a fascinating history with an organization that a lot of advisors aren’t necessarily familiar with, but can surely learn from when it comes to really listening to the clients you’re serving. Charlotte Beyer is the founder and former CEO of the Institute for Private Investors, a private networking organization for ultra-high-net-worth investors and advisors who serve them. After building a new category of community group twenty-five years ago—in a space where people said it couldn’t be done—Charlotte now has a highly successful business and an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges and concerns of her particular client base.
In this episode, she shares her impressive professional journey as she built a series of conferences and networking events in an online community for ultra-high-net-worth individuals before the world of social media and online communities, as well as insights from her recently updated book, Wealth Management Unwrapped. Listen in to learn how the needs and concerns for people of high net worth differ from those of other clients advisors serve, what Charlotte sees as the future of working with ultra-high-net-worth investors, and lessons any advisor can draw from regarding the importance of adapting what you offer to fit what your specific clients really want and need.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/78
Tanya Rapacz is the co-founder of The Partnership Resource, a unique business in the industry that does facilitation and mediation for advisory firm partners. Given her own experience working as a financial advisor—as well as her experience with a partnership merger that didn’t work out—Tanya understood the challenges that can arise from partnerships even before she was trained in dispute resolution mediation.
In this episode, she talks in depth about what it takes for a partnership to work. Listen in to hear details about Tanya’s process for working with financial advisor partners to facilitate healthy communication and conflict resolution, the surprising truth about what kinds of people make the best business partners, and key areas that should be worked out early on for a partnership to be successful.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/77
My guest today brings a truly unique perspective to the financial planning world. In addition to being an associate professor in the financial planning program at Kansas State University, Kristy Archuleta is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Her background as a trained psychologist means she understands how to help clients improve their financial behaviors in a way that isn’t typically seen with advisors.
In this episode, Kristy shares the details of the work she does at the intersection of financial planning and financial therapy, as well as why—according to the best practices research of therapists themselves—the typical advisor approach is actually not a good way to get people to change their financial behaviors for the better. Listen in to hear what she says makes clients more likely to implement financial planning advice, why she anticipates that financial therapy will eventually become a specialization path for financial planners, and more.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/76
Kathy Longo is the president and founder of Flourish Wealth Management, an advisory firm in the Minneapolis area that oversees nearly $130 million of AUM for 61 affluent clients. Surprisingly, Kathy chose to start this firm after successfully climbing the partnership track ladder to become one of the next generation successor owners of an independent RIA worth over $1 billion.
In this episode, Kathy shares what led to her choosing to leave a successful firm to pursue her own entrepreneurial goals, as well as the challenges she faced in doing so. Listen in to hear how she has grown her business, why it’s so important to find study groups of peers and colleagues, and the crucial philosophy she says all small business owners should embrace.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/75
Today’s guest brings a unique perspective to the show. Not many financial advisor coaches have experience actually being an advisor, but Diane MacPhee is one of the few who understands both sides of the divide. Now the founder of DMAC Consulting Services—a financial advisor coaching and practice management consulting firm—Diane spent over fifteen years as a fee-only financial advisor herself.
In this episode, Diane shares the common challenges of being a successful solo financial advisor, as well as the self-limiting beliefs we sometimes inflict on ourselves that prevent us from growing and being as successful as we could be. Listen in to hear her tips for how to deal with the feeling of overwhelm that can come with growing your business, how to avoid becoming a bottleneck in your own practice, and what she says is the key to financial advisors achieving continued success.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/74
My guest today is well known in the financial services industry as a true creative force. Sheri Fitts is the founder of ShoeFitts Marketing—a marketing consulting firm for financial advisors—and the Chief Marketing Officer for Sheridan Road Advisors—a Chicago-area advisory firm with nearly $13 billion in AUM. With more than 25 years of industry experience, Sheri specializes in crafting unforgettable marketing strategies that really stand out.
In this episode, she shares her journey from working a traditional corporate job to going out on her own as an independent consultant, as well as the key marketing concepts that have helped her get to where she is today. Listen in to hear Sheri’s take on how to leverage and maximize marketing ideas, the fundamental difference between sales and marketing, and what advisory firms need to cultivate in order to succeed.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/73
Today’s guest lives in a very interesting space that is becoming a bit of a hot trend in the industry these days. Dave DeVoe is the founder of DeVoe & Co., a practice management consulting firm for RIAs with a focus on business valuation succession planning and facilitating mergers and acquisitions of advisory firms. After his time leading the Schwab Advisor Services Mergers & Acquisitions program—and now working as an independent consultant who runs one of the industry’s leading deal book tracking studies on financial advisor M & A activity—Dave has a deep history in consulting on and tracking the trends of advisory firm mergers and acquisitions and the value of firms themselves.
In this episode, Dave talks about the mechanics of advisory firm deals from the buyer’s perspective, including the main considerations that go into valuation. Listen in to hear his expert perspective on the buyer and seller trends in the industry, the flaws in the traditional 2x revenue valuation estimate for a firm, and why he sees it as both a buyer’s market and a seller’s market right now.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/72
Peggy Ruhlin, CFP board member and CEO of Budros, Ruhlin and Roe, joins us on the show to share her experience and financial planning journey. She goes into depth about her firms unique process that ensures all clients get the same treatment and experience. Peggy gives us the details of what they offer regarding planning and investment services and talks about how their clients actually requested they get more involved in the investment area.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/71
My guest on today’s podcast has had what I consider one of the most fascinating journeys into the financial services industry. After making several major shifts in her career—which she began as a freelance and professional cellist who played in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra— Sue Stevens founded Stevens Wealth Management, an advisory firm in the Chicago area that serves 150 clients with nearly $350 million in AUM.
In this episode, Sue shares how her unique ability to take leaps of faith led to her leadership roles at Morningstar, Vanguard, Arthur Andersen, and now Buckingham Strategic Wealth. Listen in to hear how she navigated multiple career changes, what she did to craft her own dream job description as the owner of an advisory firm, and her advice for tuning in to your own intuition on your path to success.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/70
Barry Glassman is the founder and president of Glassman Wealth Services, a wealth management firm in the Washington D.C. area that has grown to nearly $1.2 billion in assets under management in barely ten years. Now serving about 250 affluent client families, the company’s impressive growth makes sense when you consider the time and energy Barry spends focusing on building the firm as a business, as well as his distinct methods for standing out to clients.
In this episode, he shares his unique approach to differentiating Glassman Wealth by doing what he calls “interrupting the pattern” from what clients and prospects are typically used to. Listen in to learn the uncommon industry practices that have worked to win over clients, advice for sticking out in prospects' minds, and more.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/69
Today’s guest has had quite an unusual career path in the industry. After starting out as a Client Care Associate for SignatureFD—an independent RIA that currently serves more than $3 billion of AUM for nearly 1,000 clients—Heather Fortner is now a partner, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief Compliance Officer for the firm. It’s an impressive feat by any standard, but especially in a world where it’s still relatively rare for non-revenue-producing members of a firm to have an opportunity to become a partner (not to mention how rare this is for women).
In this episode, Heather shares how SignatureFD’s unique business model works with their series of various niches under the firm’s umbrella, as well as how their holistic financial design process aims to help clients with all types of wealth, including money, time, and relationships. Listen in to hear what skills she believes are most important for everyone—especially women—to develop in order to climb the career track in an independent advisory firm, how advisors can identify the right firm to stick with in the long run, and what she says are the most understated issues limiting the career growth of women in the industry today.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/68
Elliot Weissbluth is the founder and CEO of HighTower Advisors, a unique back and middle office support platform for independent advisory firms that now oversees more than $50 billion of assets under management, with nearly 600 employees. As if those numbers weren’t impressive enough, HighTower built their own data platform to house all their advisor and client data. With this unique setup, they can not only build deeper integrations between popular software programs, but they also have the option to easily swap out their software solutions if a newer best in class comes along.
In this episode, Elliot shares the details of his company’s one-of-a-kind structure with a subsidiary broker-dealer, including how the HighTower model ultimately produces significant cost savings—even at a cost of as much as 15 - 20% of a firm’s revenue. Listen in to hear Elliot's unique perspective on the industry, having built and grown his company with a very different model, as well as the inspiring story of how he coped with severe dyslexia, and ultimately turned the challenge into skills that allowed him to excel in the business world.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/67
My guest on today’s podcast took over as CEO of Buckingham Strategic Wealth and BAM Advisor Services a little over 10 years ago (at just 32 years old!) and has nearly quintupled its size since then. One of the youngest CEOs of any major advisory firm, Adam Birenbaum leads his organization in serving over 22,000 clients and overseeing more than $30 billion in assets under management.
In this episode, Adam shares the growth strategies that have worked for Buckingham Strategic Wealth and BAM Advisor Services, as well as why the company has chosen to grow offices in multiple locations. Listen in to hear his advice for leaders of large wealth management firms, how he looks at the mergers and acquisitions marketplace today, and what he says will determine the most successful advisory firms in the future.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/66
Today’s guest has been able to grow his firm from under $100 million to nearly $35 billion in AUM in just 15 years—without relying on mergers and acquisitions. Peter Mallouk is the president of Creative Planning, one of the largest independent RIAs in the country, and he’s built an organic growth machine through a combination of strategic partnerships and creating a one-stop shop with enough size and scale to deliver the kind of comprehensive value that really makes clients refer.
In this episode, Peter shares what led to his firm’s tremendous growth, as well as why Creative Planning includes not only financial planning and investment services, but also divisions for tax preparation, estate planning, and trust services. He also talks about the broader trends in the advisory industry, how the marketplace is shifting, and the competitive threats that advisory firm owners are going to have to navigate in the coming years.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/65
Today’s guest has completely destroyed the myth that hourly financial planning can’t be scaled effectively. Mark Berg is the founder of Timothy Financial Counsel, an advisory firm that does purely hourly financial planning and made $1.4 million in fees last year. Perhaps even more impressively, 75% of the firm’s clients are recurring hourly clients.
In this episode, Mark shares how he was able to successfully scale the reach of Timothy Financial, as well as why his clients are willing to pay between $280 and $400 an hour for financial planning services. Listen in to hear what led to the firm’s whopping 83% close rate on qualified prospects last year, why most advisors fail at hourly financial planning despite the tremendous opportunity in using this model, and so much more.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/64
Kevin Kroskey’s journey to success is an amazing story of perseverance and a testament to the power of determination. The founder of True Wealth Design, an independent RIA that serves 160 clients, Kevin has managed to grow his practice to nearly $125 million in AUM after what, for many advisors, would have been a catastrophic setback in his early career: going to prison for 17 months.
In this episode, we talk in depth about Kevin’s unique path to starting his own firm after working as a high school physics teacher, switching to the financial services industry, and then finding his career and life brought to a halt by an "unrelated" criminal conviction. He shares how he managed to take back his life and build his advisory business, as well as his advice about what any advisor can do to persevere through the challenges that life sometimes throws at us.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/63
Today’s guest has had a particularly interesting journey in the advisory world. Now the founder of Portfolio Wealth Advisors—an independent RIA that manages nearly $280 million in AUM—Lee Munson managed to build his practice while overcoming a scathing article published about him in the New York Observer.
In this episode, we talk in depth about Lee’s unique career path and how he built his firm to the phenomenally profitable practice it is today. He shares why he deliberately does not meet with clients on a quarterly basis, what he says are the secrets of his success, and so much more.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/62.
Today’s guest is the founder of Workable Wealth, a virtual financial planning firm that has built more than $200,000 in recurring financial planning fees in just its first four years. As if that weren’t impressive enough, Mary Beth Storjohann built the firm while also raising two small children—now two and a half years and three months old.
In this episode, Mary Beth shares details about her personal journey to success, including valuable insight on a subject that hasn’t been touched on much in this podcast: the very real challenge of balancing life at home with young children while also starting and/or running an advisory firm. Listen in to hear how she managed client relationships and her marketing and growth momentum through her maternity leave, as well as her advice for female advisors on handling the balancing act of starting your own firm when you also want to start a family.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/61
What works early on when a firm is just starting out does not tend to work as well once the business starts to grow. Many financial advisors are not prepared for managing a large practice so when it starts to scale and grow, it’s important to re-evaluate how things are structured. Kelli Cruz joins us on the show to share her expertise in human resources management for mid-size to large financial advisory firms. She has a truly unique and effective method to assessing and adjusting the way businesses compensate and incentivize their employees.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/60
Carol Anderson is the founder of Money Quotient, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial life planning training to advisors. She has spent many years working in financial life planning, and in contrast to the typical criticism of the field, her company has managed to systematize their process.
In this episode, Carol discusses Money Quotient’s unique approach, as well as the psychology and sociology research behind it. Listen in to hear how their tactics set a more holistic tone to financial planning engagement and why Carol says financial life planning isn’t an alternative to traditional financial planning, but rather a better way to help clients develop the self-awareness they need to truly identify what their goals are in the first place.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/59