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Articles published 9/2018


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Michael Kitces: The first year sucks for everyone.
September 28, 2018 at 7:29 PM

Adam Birenbaum: It would be impossible to imagine us making this happen were it not for our colleagues at Focus Financial Partners.

Focus Financial buys $17 billion DFA TAMP for $235 million through its $3.6 billion DFA TAMP

The RIA roll-up adds Loring Ward to BAM with 50% cash down and the rest with Focus common shares

September 28, 2018 at 2:44 AM

Scott Posner only spent a year at IBM but 17 years at BNY Mellon.

LPL Financial hires new 'digital' head of recruiting -- IBM exec Scott Posner -- after the old school approach was leaking oil

Pre-IBM, Scott Posner spent 17 years at BNY Mellon where he rose to executive vice president leading the company’s strategic Initiatives group, reporting to the President

September 26, 2018 at 5:25 PM

Kayla Kennelly: [I] became infatuated with the [Facet] mission. When the opportunity came to take part in it, at a time in my personal life where it made sense, I decided to go for it.

Facet Wealth appoints Mark Tibergien's 'reverse mentor,' Kayla Kennelly, to woo cast-off RIA clients, a boon to a mass affluent strategy that's failed more than once

Kayla Kennelly will play a key role for Anders Jones' startup, which got $33 million of VC money two weeks ago to accelerate its plan to roll-up small, unwanted RIA accounts

September 25, 2018 at 10:31 PM

Norm Boone:  We got four offers.

After attempting LBO and discarding four other offers, Norm Boone jumps into the Private Ocean

CEO of Mosaic Financial shopped around before settling with Greg Friedman, whom he'd long considered a white knight

September 24, 2018 at 8:32 PM

Mike Cagnina: [Muench] understands the industry and the driving forces behind the growing trend of plan sponsors’ shift toward a discretionary investment management model.

SEI goes hard after 401(k) plan sponsors by poaching a star from Northern Trust and bundling him up, but he'll be swimming against market trends

The Oaks, Pa.-based TAMP poached Scott Muench from the $10.7 trillion asset-manager and custodian, ending a nationwide search -- and Muench's 19-year streak at the Chicago-based giant

September 21, 2018 at 11:27 PM

Benjamin Halliburton: There has been less business going through advisor direct in 2017 and 2018 then there was in 2012 and 2013. There has been a tail off.

TD Ameritrade alerts RIAs all referrals of less than $750,000 in assets may stay in-house -- a knock softened by a more RIA-friendly incentive structure

With a treasure trove of Scottrade investors ready to be divvied up, the Omaha, Neb.-based retail and custody biggie moved the minimum up from $500,000 but also upped the incentives a level for a branch broker to refer accounts

September 20, 2018 at 9:22 PM

Rohit Mahna: [There's] a massive convergence as disruptive new entrants are forcing financial institutions to reimagine the entire customer experience across every line of business.

Salesforce's slew of new advisor-focused CRM upgrades gets slammed, while a rival CEO says fresh changes won't 'slow the stampede' of RIAs fleeing the San Francisco giant

A year after Salesforce launches its long-awaited Financial Services Cloud--a financial advisory-focused twist on its CRM software that remains a Fortune 500 darling--the giant vendor unleashed a glut of upgrades

September 19, 2018 at 10:20 PM

Mike Sha: To say it's a busy time would be an understatement.

SigFig tightens its lock-down on UBS's digital fate by absorbing its in-house robo unit and 80 employees, but it's weathering storms on other fronts

The Swiss bank's symbiosis with the San Fran start-up winds ever tighter, but '1,000 banks,1,000 separate versions' hardly lends itself to a plug and play symphony

September 18, 2018 at 5:09 PM

Peter Mallouk: When I reflect back on this journey, there will be one episode I will certainly not recall fondly.

After settling with the SEC for $250,000 over two compliance issues, Peter Mallouk explains what he quietly and painfully experienced as his RIA grew from $15 billion to $36 billion

The CEO of Creative Planning ran into trouble after a local radio host became a client and part of his advertising. The host/client then enthused about his wealth manager well past the SEC's testimonial tolerance

September 17, 2018 at 4:09 AM

David Blundin: We've seen nearly six hundred business plans at this stage, and are reviewing eight a week now.

Oisin's Bits: Casady and Blundin's Vestigo-voyage gathers steam with near $60 million cash-pile; Ethical-robo OpenInvest raises $10.4 million and flips B2B switch, founder lays into mutual funds

In this roundup, Mark Casady and David Blundin's VC-odyssey, Vestigo Ventures, closes its first fund as the duo outline a nine-year strategy, and reveal they pitched in 8.5% of its near $60 million cash-pile; and the socially responsible investment robo-advisor OpenInvest goes B2B, rakes in $10 million of VC funds, gives votes to passive investors, and slams mutual funds.

September 14, 2018 at 9:29 PM


Chris Dupuy: Ex-Focus Financial Exec heading for Rockefeller Capital.

Rockefeller Capital hires Chris Dupuy from Focus Finacial

But can Dupuy help his new boss shake up Rockefeller Capital Management's brand and convince 21st century tech magnates and next-generation middling millionaires to rub shoulders with a Rockefeller brand still best associated with a 19th century robber baron?

September 14, 2018 at 9:12 AM

Richard Steinmeier: LPL has reached a point in its journey where it can begin to engage differently with prospective clients from all market segments.

LPL replaces the great Bill Morrissey with UBS' digital whiz

Rick Steinmeier's hire is timely for LPL CEO Dan Arnold as the post-Mark Cassady game has changed.

September 14, 2018 at 9:03 AM

Jason Lahita: I slowly made myself expendable.

Jason Lahita explains what it means to be true to yourself by stepping aside from FiComm, his booming pr and marketing firm, to rediscover his true passion

Perhaps the best-known RIA PR person out there, Jason Lahita built a firm that grew too big to allow him to do what he loved best--getting in the trenches and crafting campaigns.

September 13, 2018 at 9:12 PM

Derek Bruton: There's a lot on our plate in terms of overall growth.

Two ex-LPL talents join Derek Bruton and Keith Gregg's Chalice start-up

After just three months in-situ as the president of Chalice Wealth Partners, the ex-LPL RIA overseer gets Christopher Giles as chief information officer and Stephanie Holly as chief financial officer.

September 13, 2018 at 2:46 PM

Allison Felix proved herself the old-fashioned way to create a very modern result.

A $2.7 billion RIA makes Allison Felix, 40, its president, after she started as an executive assistant out of college.

Allison Felix' rise to prominence was backed, in part, by CEO Steve Cassaday who paid for half of her MBA and sold her a minority stake

September 13, 2018 at 2:32 PM

Elliot Weissbluth: [Hightower] is actively engaging with a variety of opportunities.

HighTower gets a new CEO, to be revealed later, as Elliot Weissbluth moves upstairs

Elliot Weissbluth's move upstairs ends an era, as Thomas H. Lee's reign begins in earnest, and Mark Cabezas comes in as M&A head.

September 13, 2018 at 2:21 PM

Phil Snow: “Distributed architecture allows us to deploy a lot more desks at a lower price point.

After winning Merrill Lynch, FactSet CEO Phil Snow is challenging Big Data for downmarket RIAs, but convincing them to buy a box is an up-sell nightmare

FactSet scored its largest deal ever this August, landing the 15,000-strong Merrill Lynch wealth management arm; Next, CEO Phil Snow is targeting RIAs, but they'll be a much harder audience to undercut than the terminal-using crowd at institutions

September 12, 2018 at 8:08 PM

Anders Jones: "We're partnering with RIAs to buy their small relationships."

A 31 year-old CEO raises $33 million for very RIA venture -- buying too-small RIA accounts, then serving them on a Merrill Edge-type platform in Baltimore

As LearnVest cedes the B2C financial planning niche, Anders Jones gets cash from Warburg Pincus to go after that market with a whole new approach; it includes cozying up to the RIA M&A boys and reinventing how human advisors plan

September 11, 2018 at 10:07 PM

Jeff Raupp: Whenever you say we're going to make some changes, it creates a little bit of uncertainty, but I feel like we were fortunate ... we were able to dig in and quickly address what we felt needed changing.

Brinker hires a CIO after making do without one

After the hasty exit of Bill Miller in 2016, the $22B TAMP incubated Jeff Raupp as chief investment officer instead of seeking a ringer.

September 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Trap Kloman is no tyrant.

Trap Kloman gets nod as president at Commonwealth

Since being poached in 2015, Trap Kloman quickly earned Wayne Bloom's trust and current president, Rich Hunter, is ready to step back.

September 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Jodi Perry made the leap from sales to near c-suite in a matter of weeks.

Raymond James appoints new head of independent advisors

The former Southeast director is now in the position vacated by Scott Curtis as he ascends the ladder -- and oversees Perry

September 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Donna Wells: I consider myself a hacker, even, if not an engineer.

Betterment hires an engineer to its board but yes she can market ice cubes to penguins

No longer the disruptive New York upstart, the $14 billion AUM robo is outgunned by institutional heavy-hitters -- a dynamic Donna Wells knows

September 11, 2018 at 12:00 AM

The Orion Hack Pack has found its new home but it was almost too hot to go outdoors.

Once so gritty that Utah cops kept a close eye, FUSE in Miami has been up-sized and sanitized by Orion to reflect its more establishment status

With eyes affixed on an investments future -- and Schwab throwing open a door -- Eric Clarke's urgency to seize yawning opportunity is apparent in the upgrade of venue and menu

September 10, 2018 at 5:58 PM

MIchael Bapis is said to be recruit number one at Rockefeller -- as he was at HighTower 10 years ago.

Michael Bapis to leave HighTower and become the first high-profile Rockefeller Capital recruit as CEO Greg Fleming scores major poach

Bapis was Elliot Weissbluth's first recruit to HighTower in 2008 and now he is also Rockefeller CEO Greg Fleming's first poach

September 8, 2018 at 2:00 AM

Joel Bruckenstein: They cannot afford to let this happen again.

After dream of cloud-based PortfolioCenter falters, Schwab Advisor Services makes good by showering small RIAs and third-party software vendors with windfalls

The $1.6 trillion RIA custodian gives real-time data to Black Diamond, Tamarac, Orion and others serving Schwab RIAs and small RIAs get PortfolioConnect for free as long as they don't want to track held away assets

September 7, 2018 at 5:31 PM

Mike Kerins: Going it alone as a VC-backed firm scared me as I didn't have that part of the vision.

As Principal takes RobustWealth reins, the looming question is whether it follows the Northwestern-LearnVest script, which had a depressing final scene

The disparity in size, culture, locale and tenure between the $1 billion AUA robo and the $673 billion financial titan, makes the marriage an interesting case study

September 6, 2018 at 7:55 PM

Rudy Adolf: Pipelines are robust for organic and inorganic growth.

Focus Financial shares soar after Rudy Adolf pumps the pipeline and stiff-arms analyst who presses him on a Focus sore point--organic growth, or lack thereof

The shares are up more than 30% since Aug. 20; the CEO boasted on the quarterly call that the IPO itself sent the M&A pipeline spiraling higher

September 6, 2018 at 12:33 AM

Brooke Southall's faith in organic growth has yielded a real RIA organism.

RIABiz turns nine, gets new faces and some facelifting to stay on top of the hottest corner of the financial services industry--RIAs

The online publication adds Keith Girard as editor and Oisin Breen as writer, stays on 14% revenue growth rate without bending to sponsor pressures or using a gram of ink

September 5, 2018 at 3:53 PM

Fidelity CEO Abby Johnson is opening the doors to millennials with zero-fee mutual funds; will competitors respond?

Abby Johnson's zero-fee play for millennials gets to $1 billion in one month but Vanguard, BlackRock and Schwab say piffle; Note, RIAs need not apply

The play to out-Vanguard Vanguard gets stony response from competitors but analysts say Fidelity may actually be a quick study in the freemium game

September 1, 2018 at 6:38 AM

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