If at all possible, we aim to provide people of the RIA business with the brainfood they need to be among the in-the-know and on-the move of the industry.
We founded RIABiz in August of 2009 and started by throwing out the thou-shalt books that tell how to run magazines, newspapers, blogs, news websites, directories and research services. We wanted the color, captions and quality of The Economist, the timeliness of Bloomberg, the personality of your favorite blog and the online destination that doesn’t look like a makeshift way of putting print content onto a website.
When we get a pile of research we want to share, we try to put it into English. We are competitive people and want to break every useful story. We are intellectually vain and want to introduce every new angle. We want to be part of the Google+ generation that puts information with faces and we use them at every opportunity.
Will we succeed in all this with our modest staff and chimp-sized brains? Not always. But hopefully the debris of our efforts will continue to give you a dynamic stopover on your daily meandering of the Internet and instill you with similarly hyper-charged idealistic business objectives that – when they fall short – still stand taller than what’s typically out there.
RIAs are on the march.
Registered investment advisors are faster-growing, better automated, better appreciated and have more market share than ever before. They are becoming magnets for assets.
Not only are hundreds of brokers becoming RIAs as a means of better serving clients, but clients are taking matters into their own hands. They are withdrawing assets from brokerage accounts at UBS, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and moving them to RIAs with names like Hokanson Associates and Portland Global Advisors. This is not all happening by accident. RIAs embody careful planning and ethical dealings, and Wall Street’s failings have made this far more apparent.
At the same time, however, RIAs are chronically challenged by being fragmented into 15,000-firms. They have no single voice and this gives them their own public-relations problem. Nobody knows what they are -- or how to describe them. The best description I found is more than 700 words long. RIAs call themselves wealth managers, financial advisors, investment consultants, investment managers and other tags that prove next to nothing. Brokers use all these names, too, and then some. This is important to note: It’s often easier for RIAs calling themselves wealth managers to relate to an RIA called an investment manager than to a broker called a wealth manager. The reason for this is that, unlike many brokers, RIAs tend to make a plan for clients and then hold themselves accountable for sticking to it.
Though RIAs have detailed plans for their clients, there’s no comprehensive plan for their industry as a whole. The principals of 15,000 RIA practices interact through various asset custodians, trade publications and associations in an ad hoc manner. While these forums engender good discussions, better ones are needed. Five years from now, brokers don’t want to be discussing how they missed the RIA boat. RIAs don’t want to be discussing how they allowed wirehouses to return to prominence or how the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, brokers’ self-policing body, snuck in and made their lives miserable. RIAs want to be able to say they have found ways to achieve scale, execute succession plans and bring aboard breakaways.
It’s vital that real discussions start now while assets are in motion and the post-crisis attitudes of brokers and their clients are unfixed. RIABiz believes it has a place in this process. We believe that other publications share characteristics with the old party lines that I grew up with in rural Maine. You literally shared phone service with your neighbor. RIABiz is a dedicated line where all communications are intended solely for your RIA family. We hope you find this a useful and refreshing change for realizing the strength of RIAs as a distinct industry.
Brooke Southall and the RIABiz team
Brooke is known locally in Sausalito, Calif. as a cyclist, houseboater, and the guy with the huge black dog. On the web he's known as a regular voice on the happenings of the RIA business. He started RIABiz in 2009 after deciding the industry could use a more focused channel of information, which has proven to be the case. Brooke oversees the flow of articles on RIABiz, but still gets to spend a considerable amount of time reporting and writing. Somehow he manages to pump out story after story despite the frequently crashing of his Windows 7 laptop and his hunt-and-peck typing method.
Frank hails from the Garden State, and regardless of being here in the Bay Area for over 25 years, he's always rooting hard for his beloved Yankees. Frank heads-up the RIABiz advertising program, along with tending to his duties of managing our business and financial operations. He's been in publishing within the advisory market since starting at InvestmentNews in 2000, at about the same time Brooke became the RIA-beat reporter for our former employer. He lives with his wife, Roni, along with their 3 teenage daughters and a goldendoodle in San Anselmo. Almost every day, Frank can be found running the trails around Mt Tamalpais.
Dina is a graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and has worked for 16 years as a reporter and editor for publications including The New York Times, the New York Daily News, InvestmentNews, Stage Directions and Oxygen.com. Her book, “Little Red: Three Passionate Lives Through the Sixties and Beyond,” was published in March 2013 by PublicAffairs Books. Dina lives and works in New York City.
Janice has enjoyed a very varied journalism career, doing everything from radio news at WOR and WQXR in New York as well as the ABC radio network and 1010 WINS to sportscasts at WFAN, also in New York City, and ESPN Radio. She has also spent many years as a wire service reporter and editor, at UPI and Knight-Ridder, and written for Crain's New York Business. Newspaper work includes some reporting for the New York Times and copy editing for the New York Post. Doing business news on radio has also kept her occupied a good bit of the time, at Wall Street Journal Radio and Bloomberg Radio. She has also done voice-over work and audio books, as well as some off- and off-off Broadway theatre.
Lisa has been a reporter for over 15 years and has been covering the financial services industry for 8 years - she also comes from the world of InvestmentNews. She's been with RIABiz since November 2010. Lisa is based in the middle of the country on the northwest corner of Indiana, about an hour from Chicago. She's married with two young children – Liz and Chance.
John and Dawn live in the Northwest in Bellingham, Washington, are avid outdoors people, and are really into road bicycles, hiking and motorcycles. They have been managing the Directory since its launch in 2010. They are excited to see the continued growth of RIABiz and the Directory in the past few years, as the Directory approaches 900 companies involved in the RIA marketplace. John and Dawn are also part of our ad sales team.
If Graham wasn't working to sell advertising for RIABiz, he might be writing its articles and, in fact, sometimes does. Despite working in financial advisory publishing since 1999, he never stops asking questions and spreading his contagious enthusiasm. He started in San Francisco with Research magazine before spending eight years with InvestmentNews. He lives in Chicago with his wife and their two young daughters.
Robin joined RIABiz in September, 2016. She’s been in publishing all her career and specifically within the financial advisory market since 2000. To date she’s covered just about every territory in the country seeing her clients & enjoys it very much, as she’s passionate about the business & loves the challenge. She lives with her husband George and they share their time between New York City and Rowayton, CT.
Irwin is a Wall Street trained attorney and business school professor, with over 40 years of experience in the financial services industry. He wrote a book about investments and writes a weekly blog on investing and the capital markets called, Law & Economics in the Capital Markets. Irwin has written for RIABiz for the past year. He lives in San Rafael, and in his own words, is a "cancer conquistador".
Sanders started writing for RIABiz in January 2014. The soft-spoken graduate of the University of Chicago grew up in Yarmouth, Maine where clams are not slang for dollars. Before journalism, Sanders worked in politics and also wrote reports for an angel investing group. Sanders is currently attending law school at the University of Virginia.
Jessica has been writing for RIAbiz since November 2016. She is new to the financial space, but not new to writing. As an English graduate from The University of Texas, Jessica has been asking people questions and telling their stories since her professor handed her a tape recorder. Her passion for people landed her in editorial writing and journalism, and she is excited to be writing for the fintech sector. She currently spends her time in Austin where she tries to convince her French husband that queso is clearly a superior form of cheese.
Since leaving InvestmentNews as a Washington Bureau reporter 15 years ago to be a stay-at-home mom, Sarah has been freelancing as a reporter and editor from her home in Maryland. Her writing has appeared in InvestmentNews, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post and on CNBC.com, among other places. In her spare time, Sarah usually hides out in her music studio or collects cool rocks and shells at the beach.