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Financial Advisor Success

The Financial Advisor Success podcast brings you real success stories and insights from the most successful financial advisors, and leading industry consultants, about how to take your advisory business to the next level. Get a glimpse of what it's like behind the scenes building a successful advisory business, and how entrepreneurial advisors navigate the inevitable highs, and lows, of growing a firm. Whether you're a new financial advisor trying to get started on the right foot, or an experienced advisor who's hit a wall, we're here to give you the insights and inspiration you need to break through and reach the level of success you want to achieve. Subscribe to the show, and get even more at the leading industry blog Nerd’s Eye View at www.Kitces.com.
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Now displaying: 2023
Dec 26, 2023

Rob Nelson is the CEO and Founder of NorthRock Partners, an RIA based in Minneapolis that oversees $5 billion in assets under management for 1,500 client households. Rob stands out in the advisory landscape by offering a wide array of services from bill paying to tax preparation, akin to a 'personal CFO'. He achieves this while maintaining competitive AUM-based fees, capitalizing on economies of scale to provide a comprehensive client experience at a cost similar to less extensive firms.

Listen in as Rob shares insights into NorthRock Partners' impressive growth from $1 billion to $5 billion in AUM over six years, driven by organic growth, strategic acquisitions, and robust client referrals from high-earning individuals. He also discusses the firm's structure, which empowers advisors with centralized expert teams while maintaining direct client relationships, and his decision to partner with a holding company for long-term expansion. You'll learn about NorthRock's hiring strategies, the importance of practice for developing advisors, and Rob's belief in the firm's substantial untapped potential for future growth.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/365

Dec 19, 2023

Ted Jenkin is the consultant of JPTD Partners, a consulting firm based in Atlanta that helps financial advisors gather offers, negotiate, and ultimately sell their advisory firms. What sets Ted apart is his firsthand experience of selling his own $2.2 billion AUM firm, cultivated over a decade. This unique perspective as a former owner deeply influences his approach, enabling him to empathetically guide other advisors through the nuances of mergers and acquisitions.

Listen in as Ted shares the intricacies of mergers and acquisitions, diving into insights from his journey of building a consulting firm and the strategies he employed, such as the 'manufactured celebrity approach', which skyrocketed his firm's success but also led to burnout. He also discusses the nuances of how buyers evaluate advisory firms, the importance of niching down for scalability, and the lessons he learned about recognizing true profit margins and the real value of a firm. You'll hear about his transition from business owner to employee post-sale, the significance of outsourcing weaknesses early on, and invaluable advice for advisors aiming to maximize their firm's value when considering a sale.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/364

Dec 12, 2023

Christa Madison is the Managing Director of Financial Planning and Business Development at Sebold Capital, a fee-only RIA based out of Chicago that oversees $300 million across more than 100 households. Christa's distinct approach lies in her adept use of business development and networking skills to rebuild her client base from scratch three times, amidst personal and professional changes. She transformed these challenges into opportunities, adapting to her evolving skills and competencies to seize larger, more profitable ventures.

Listen in as Christa dives into her journey, highlighting the trials and triumphs of her initial foray into insurance sales and the pivotal role of her robust networking and follow-up strategies in rebuilding her client base through various career transitions. She also shares her belief that it takes about three years to transform initial prospecting efforts into a self-sustaining referral network, how she balanced the demands of her burgeoning career with family life, her strategic shift to the RIA channel, and how her early experiences in insurance sales fortified her skills as a financial advisor.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/363

Dec 5, 2023

Jeff Brown is the President of Stratos Private Wealth, an RIA based out of San Diego that oversees nearly $1.5 billion in assets under management for over 350 households. Jeff's firm stands out for its innovative career track system, which features well-defined performance indicators across three levels to systematically guide junior advisors toward becoming lead advisors. This unique structure not only clarifies the path to leadership, but also fosters the firm's ability to cultivate senior advisors from within.

Listen in as Jeff discusses his firm's strategy of generating leads for advisors to enhance client retention and explores their unique performance review system alongside growth tactics like client referrals, content creation, and acquisitions. Jeff also reflects on his journey from a wirehouse to embracing the supported independence of Stratos Wealth Partners, the pivotal career lessons from a challenging partnership breakup that now guide his approach to forming partnerships and operations agreements, and the importance of setting ambitious goals early in one's career.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/362

Nov 28, 2023

Peter Tiboris is a Partner of Park Avenue Capital, an advisory firm affiliated with Northwestern Mutual based out of New York City that oversees $2.4 billion in assets under management for over 1,300 households. Peter and his business partner have distinctively grown their firm within the Northwestern Mutual ecosystem through organic expansion and strategic mergers and acquisitions. Their position as one of the largest Northwestern Mutual offices, coupled with their ability to leverage debt-financing, has given them a competitive edge that propels their growth.

Listen in as Peter dives into Park Avenue Capital's growth strategies, highlighting their unique approach to acquisitions and the innovative bank financing arrangements that fuel their serial acquisitions. He also shares insights into the creation of 3-person advisor pods designed to enhance client capacity and the firm's commitment to a service-oriented culture that fosters client loyalty, reflects on his entry into the industry post-9/11, and breaks down his forward-thinking approach to business decisions.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/361 

Nov 21, 2023

Suzanne Powell is a Senior Financial Advisor that oversees approximately $110 million in assets under management for nearly 150 households at Meridian Wealth Management, an RIA based out of Kentucky. Suzanne stands out for her strategic scheduling, amassing over $100M in AUM by concentrating client and prospect meetings into two 3-month periods each year, enabling her to dedicate the rest of the year to family. She minimizes time on prospecting by efficiently managing a continuous stream of SmartAsset leads with a highly automated response system.

Listen in as Suzanne shares her expertise on driving client growth by managing SmartAsset's lead-generation service, setting up effective communication automations, and strategically targeting leads to amass nearly $70M in new assets. We also discuss how she balances a packed schedule of client meetings with preparation and follow-up tasks, using technology to efficiently present financial plans to save time, her method for nurturing long-term client relationships, and her philosophy on integrating work with quality family life now, rather than waiting for retirement.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/360

Nov 14, 2023

Eric Miller, Chief Financial Advisor and Co-Owner of Econologics Financial Advisors, joins the show today to discuss his innovative approach to financial planning. His unique Financial Prosperity Index, a comprehensive assessment covering 100 questions and 9 different domains, provides clients with a holistic view of their financial health—and helps Eric demonstrate the value of his financial planning services beyond traditional metrics like net worth and investment performance.

Listen in as we discuss Eric's niche-focused practice, catering to healthcare professionals, and his successful strategies for acquiring new clients while delivering substantial value. You'll get insights into his client acquisition tactics, his evolving perspective on celebrating achievements, and his advice for young advisors on honing communication skills for a prosperous career in financial advising.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/359 

Nov 7, 2023

Veronica Karas is a Senior Financial Advisor at CAPTRUST and works from the RIA’s Lake Success, New York office, where she oversees $360 million in assets under management for 200 households. What sets Veronica apart is her distinctive 3-question method to garner referrals from clients, centers of influence, and even prospects—all while maintaining a genuine and non-aggressive demeanor.

In this episode, Veronica dives into her blueprint for onboarding new clients, leveraging a modular planning method spread over a year, and explains the firm's structure that allows associate advisors to work with multiple senior advisors, fostering a rich learning environment and high-touch client service. We also discuss her early-career challenges, her proactive strategy of daily outreach that bolstered her lead generation, and her commitment to ethical practices, even when faced with tough career decisions.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/358

Oct 31, 2023

Jon Henderson is the Founder and CIO of Echo45 Advisors. Based in Walnut Creek, California, Echo45 Advisors oversees $163 million in assets under management for more than 180 client households. What sets Jon apart is his meticulous approach to integrating technology and personalized service, culminating in a finely-tuned advisor tech stack and a dedicated "Client Concierge" team member armed with a series of checklists to ensure unparalleled client experiences.

In this episode, we delve deep into Jon's journey, from his transition to his own firm after he left his more-than-$1 billion AUM team serving 420 clients at Merrill Lynch to his strategic use of technology. You'll learn about his "high tech and high touch" mindset as he expertly navigates the dynamic landscape of financial advisory and hear insights on his holistic perspective on delivering financial services in the modern age. From his pursuit of blockchain and digital asset knowledge to his unique amalgamation of cutting-edge software and personalized service, Jon's story is a testament to the coexistence of technology and human interaction in the realm of wealth management. 

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/357 

Oct 24, 2023

Sarah-Catherine Gutierrez is the founder of Aptus Financial, a fee-only financial planning firm based out of Arkansas that is nearing $2 million in revenue for 480 client households. What stands out about Sarah Catherine is how she has built a multi-advisor, flat-fee, advice-only firm, challenging the industry's common reliance on AUM. Her success is attributed to sustainable marketing systems that allow advisors to concentrate solely on efficient financial planning, free from the distractions of client prospecting.

Listen in as Sarah-Catherine shares her strategic approach to transparently communicate her value through her financial planning fee structure and the creation of a trust-based Center of Influence, which eliminates the stress of prospect acquisition. We also discuss her efficient onboarding process that transforms prospects into clients within just two calls, her decision to segment planning fees, and the inspiration behind her custom financial planning spreadsheet. You'll hear about her tailored cashflow strategies for new physicians, her journey in trusting her instincts as a founder, and the ways her unique marketing approach has opened doors to speaking engagements and fresh prospect avenues.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/356

Oct 17, 2023

Brad Arends is the co-founder and CEO of Intellicents, an independent RIA based out of Minnesota that oversees $6 billion in assets under management for more than 3,000 households. Brad stands out for having built a multi-billion-dollar advisory firm by offering comprehensive financial planning to large company employees as an added benefit, rather than targeting multi-millionaire clients.

Listen in as Brad delves into his transition from focusing on 401(k) plan participants to expanding into wealth management, addressing the challenges of shifting advisors' mindsets and the evolution of his multi-pronged business model. We also explore the implications of the Pension Protection Act on his decision-making, his strategic move to sell a significant portion of his business to prioritize personal wealth management, and his innovative use of data to craft personalized financial plans.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/355

Oct 10, 2023

Grier Rubeling is the founder of Advisor Transition Services, a consulting firm based out of North Carolina that helps advisors move from one broker-dealer or custodian’s platform to another—often while breaking away to start their own firm. Grier stands out with her meticulous approach to aiding firms in swiftly transitioning custodians, a complex task both legally and emotionally. She has developed advanced, real-time Excel tools to keep advisors updated throughout the entire transition process, enabling them to resume their billing services as promptly as possible.

Listen in as Grier shares her strategic approach to aiding advisors in navigating the intricate terrain of transitioning between Broker Protocol, non-Protocol, and Protocol Not Applicable (PNA) scenarios, ensuring efficient client data organization and getting advisors back to billing as soon as possible. We also discuss Grier's unique journey into the financial realm (where her intrinsic ability to streamline systems and processes established her as a distinctive expert in advisor transitions), the challenges of hiring and firing her first full-time employee, and what poses the most significant obstacle in advisor transitions.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/354

Oct 3, 2023

Brett Danko is the Founder of Brett Danko Educational Center, a CFP Board Education and Exam Prep Provider, and the CEO and Managing Partner for Main Street Financial Solutions, an independent RIA based out of Pennsylvania that oversees nearly $2 billion in assets under management for 1,700 households. Brett stands out for combining his love for teaching with financial expertise, creating one of the nation's leading CFP exam prep programs and growing his own RIA to $2 billion in AUM. 

Listen in as he shares his unique approach to CFP exam preparation, as well as insights into his hourly financial planning model and the innovative structure of his firm—which empowers advisors to own their client relationships and design their own fee schedules. You'll also hear about his personal journey from job loss and depression to renewed purpose, highlighting the importance of delegation, mentorship, and self-awareness in building a fulfilling career.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/353

Sep 26, 2023

Bridget Venus Grimes is the President of WealthChoice, a virtual independent RIA that oversees nearly $80 million in assets under management for 68 families, and Co-Founder of Equita Financial Network, an advisor platform that helps advisors share resources. As a solo advisor, Bridget quickly grew her firm to $77M in AUM over 7 years, but found herself stretched thin managing various business aspects while serving her clients. Instead of scaling her firm by hiring more advisors, she chose to delegate non-financial-planning tasks to virtual outsourced contractors, freeing her from day-to-day management responsibilities.

Listen in as Bridget shares her journey of building her firm by outsourcing various tasks like compliance, operations, and client scheduling to focus on her niche of female executives. We also discuss her unique approach to compensation and client service, which led her to launch her own firm, and how she invested $30,000 in writing a book for credibility rather than sales. Bridget also dives into the importance of business coaching, learning not to compromise on client fit, and her decision to bring on her daughter as part of a long-term succession plan.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/352

Sep 19, 2023

Jessica Polito is the Founder and Principal for Turkey Hill Management, a mergers and acquisitions consulting firm that assists financial advisors with the sale, acquisition, integration, or merger of their firms. Jessica stands out for her specialized practice in assisting financial advisors and firms, offering comprehensive guidance—from understanding business goals and educating clients on transactions to valuing firms—all without the conflict of an investment banker's success fee.

In this episode, she delves into how her investment banking experience informs her unique approach to offering independent M&A advice, as well as why she advocates for a flat-fee model to ensure unbiased counsel. She also shares invaluable insights on navigating the complexities of potential buyers and discusses her personal and professional definitions of success, which include combating imposter syndrome through thought leadership and setting a resilient example for her children.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/351

Sep 12, 2023

Jason Wenk is the CEO of Altruist, a newer RIA custodian that has quickly grown to serve more than 3,500 advisory firms and has become the fourth-largest independent RIA custodian by firm count. In response to the inefficiencies he encountered with existing RIA custodians while building his own TAMP a decade ago, Jason developed an 'all-in-one' custodian platform for RIAs, which incorporates portfolio management and performance reporting software.

Listen in as he shares his journey and his all-in-one solution for RIAs, leveraging his experiences as an engineer, RIA owner, and TAMP owner to offer advisors core investment systems at a lower cost. You'll hear about his early business ventures that led him to launch his own RIA, as well as how a client's question about a fixed index annuity sparked a niche content marketing strategy that attracted hundreds of prospects per month. We also discuss Jason’s belief in the application of the fiduciary standard to vendors serving advisors, his gratitude for the experiences that prepared him for launching Altruist, and his passion for creating better industry standards to make financial advice accessible to all.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/350

Sep 5, 2023

Olivia Luper is the Founder of Lexicon Advisor Marketing, a virtual outsourced digital marketing company that specializes in working with financial advisors to generate a steady flow of prospects. Olivia is unique in that she initially began as a ghostwriter for financial advisors before soon realizing that quality content needed a robust marketing system to truly attract prospects. Consequently, she expanded her firm to offer comprehensive outsourced marketing services, encompassing everything from lead magnets and mailing lists to social media ads and effective email campaigns.

Listen in as Olivia unveils her three-step marketing strategy, emphasizing the importance of clarifying an advisor's message, crafting a comprehensive marketing funnel, and offering hands-on implementation for those who prefer it. We also discuss the power of social media—particularly paid ads—to drive traffic to advisors' websites (and the subsequent nurturing of these leads through a meticulously crafted 7-email sequence), the early challenges that Olivia faced in content creation, and why she believes in the power of authentic storytelling to resonate with ideal clients.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/349

Aug 29, 2023

Jeff Jones is the owner and founder of Cypress Financial Planning, an independent RIA based out of New Jersey that oversees $275 million in assets under management for 380 client households. Jeff stands out for creating custom financial planning spreadsheets in Excel that seamlessly integrate into PowerPoint presentations, an approach that not only crafts a compelling financial story for clients, but also ensures transparency in every projection.

Listen in as Jeff shares how he leveraged his engineering background at Lockheed Martin to craft unique Excel spreadsheets, which later inspired a FinTech company now catering to other financial planning firms. You'll learn why he decided not to partner with the FinTech venture (opting instead for specific equity agreements to motivate partners and plan for his exit strategy), as well as how the invaluable guidance from FP Transitions helped in valuing his firm. Jeff also opens up about his early mentorship experiences and his aspirations to contribute through pro bono financial planning.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/348

Aug 22, 2023

Cary Carbonaro is the Senior Vice President and Director of Women and Wealth Services for Advisor Capital Management, an independent RIA with offices around the country that oversees more than $6 billion in assets under management for 1,700 households. Cary distinctively transitioned from selling her practice to United Capital to establishing a leadership role, only to later grapple with the sale of United Capital to Goldman Sachs. This shift presented complexities as she encountered a culture not attuned to her media-centric approach to advisor marketing.

Listen in as Cary recounts her decision to launch her own advisory practice during tech crashes and dwindling marketing budgets, as well as her subsequent choice to sell to United Capital. She also discusses the transformative sale of United Capital to Goldman Sachs and its impact on her marketing strategies, her efforts to buy back her practice, and her move to a smaller firm amidst personal challenges. You'll hear about Cary’s early career confidence struggles and how her evolving definition of success now goes beyond practice growth.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/347

Aug 15, 2023

Jim Ludwick is the founder of MainStreet Financial Planning, an hourly, fee-only financial planning firm, and Procrastination Junction, a coaching program for fee-only financial advisors looking to improve their sales skills. Jim stands out for his three-decade track record in transforming hesitant prospects into loyal fee-only financial planning clients, not through aggressive sales tactics, but by assisting them in their journey from their current situation to their ideal financial position, effectively helping them overcome their own procrastination.

Listen in as Jim shares his journey to success in the financial services industry, discussing how he leveraged networks like the Garrett Network and NAPFA to bolster referrals, as well as why he modified his sales funnel to enhance conversion rates and profitability. You'll hear his perspective on the key to building a top-tier fee-only financial advice business, how he structured his firm around the core principle of work-life balance, and what game-changing strategy enabled him to scale his business.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/346

Aug 8, 2023

Lori Van Dusen is the CEO of LVW Advisors, an independent RIA based out of New York state that oversees more than $2 billion in assets under management for over 450 small-to-mid-sized institutions and ultra-high-net-worth households. Lori's unique niche lies in her multi-decade expertise in handling the complexities of investment issues faced by small-to-mid-sized institutions and ultra-high-net-worth families, which she leverages to differentiate her RIA focused on serious investing.

Listen in as Lori shares her journey to amassing extensive investment expertise, adopting a unique portfolio management strategy, establishing a governance calendar for client interactions, enduring a lawsuit from Citigroup post-independence, and learning the significance of due diligence when selecting an advisor platform. Lori also reflects on the aftermath of her decision to launch her own RIA, the challenges faced and lessons learned, her journey to rebuild billions in AUM, and her persistent optimism that shaped her into the successful advisory firm owner she is today.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/345

Aug 1, 2023

Brad Barrett is the Managing Director and Partner of One Capital Management, an independent RIA based in Westlake Village, California, that oversees $5.3 billion in assets under management for more than 2,000 client households. Brad's unique approach to business development has helped his firm scale and grow organically by creating multiple niche specializations, or business segments, each led by a dedicated advisor team.

Listen in as Brad discusses the firm's unique approach to growth through the development of specialized business segments and the strategic acquisition of niche practices. You'll learn about their innovative media strategy, the importance of regular evaluation of business segments, and the lessons learned from a challenging partnership experience. Finally, Brad shares his insights on the benefits of specialization, the importance of setting realistic career expectations, and the pursuit of long-term advisor happiness and financial success.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/344

Jul 25, 2023

Rita Robbins is the Founder and President of Affiliated Advisors, a Super-OSJ with Royal Alliance that supports 90 financial advisors and collectively manages $3.5 billion in assets under advisement. Rita stands out for her pioneering role in establishing one of the first woman-owned Super-OSJs nearly three decades ago. She has observed the transformation of the super-OSJ model from providing local oversight of brokers selling proprietary products to becoming back-office platforms that offer an increasingly open-architecture product shelf along with compliance, technology, marketing, business management, and other support to independent financial advisors.

Listen in as Rita shares her journey through the evolution of broker-dealer platforms, her strategies for growing her platform, and how her firm thrived during the pandemic due to its robust technological support. Drawing from her decade-long experience as a wholesaler, Rita discusses the launch of her own OSJ, the expansion of her platform's leadership, and her deep understanding of the advisor community's needs. She also opens up about early-career pressures, a traumatic embezzlement incident, and her ongoing struggle with focusing on uncontrollable factors while navigating business challenges and cycles.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/343

Jul 18, 2023

Nancy Hetrick is the Founder and CEO of Smarter Divorce Solutions, a consulting firm based out of Arizona that provides financial expertise to individuals and couples going through the divorce process. Nancy's unique journey from a do-it-yourself divorce to becoming a divorce expert was driven by her personal experience of non-enforceability, leading her to help other women avoid similar situations. She successfully scaled her divorce practice to 8 team members and $1M in annual revenue, while also growing her RIA to $65M AUM by assisting clients with rollovers and investment implementation post-divorce.

Listen in as Nancy shares how she overcame imposter syndrome by recognizing the value of her own life experiences, why she chose to expand her technical expertise to earn her CDFA credential and become a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics and a Certified Divorce Coach, and the strategies she used to grow her network in the divorce niche. We also discuss how she effectively communicates the value of her divorce planning work to prospects, how she earns fees on a divorce case, and what led her to sell her RIA and focus on being a solo practitioner in the divorce field.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/342

Jul 11, 2023

Thor McIlrath is the Owner of McIlrath & Eck, an independent RIA based out of Arlington, Washington, that oversees more than $610-million in assets under management for 970 households. The unique aspect of Thor's business model lies in the way he has organized his firm. Instead of subscribing to the conventional industry practice of fostering deep relationships between clients and a single advisor, Thor has innovated a system where clients interact with a variety of advisors each time they visit, which offers clients a diversity of insights on their situation over time, moving away from reliance on a singular perspective.

Listen in as Thor shares his successful transition to a rotating advisor system in his firm, an innovative approach that centralizes client notes and enriches both clients and advisors with diverse insights, earning approval from 80% of his clientele. We also discuss why Thor's hiring philosophy is centered on compassion and empathy, how he ensures a good fit between clients and the firm, and how he uses an adult education class on retirement to give back to the community and drive a steady stream of new clients.

For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/341

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