News, Vision & Voice for the Advisory Community


Brooke Southall

A native Mainer, Brooke founded RIABiz 13 years ago because he wanted to write for an editor demanding articles get past syrupy quotation, satanic jargon and the Wall Street framing of how financial advice gets sold. He spends his days now in California writing, editing and coaching writers. He lives on a houseboat, works in an office and juggles calls across the five time zones and four countries his small team works. He's out to prove an economic major can make a living as a journalist and that articles need not be a loss leader if they are written well and geared to an intelligent readership.

Articles written by Brooke Southall


Publish date

Joe Duran: I happen to be the weird intersect between Goldman Sachs and the RIA.

Joe Duran will co-develop Goldman Sachs unit aimed at outsourcing to non-Goldman RIAs after 'magic' never materialized for direct-to-consumer RIA

The Newport Beach, Calif. RIA legend plans to shift from B2C to B2B to fix Goldman's disconnect with RIAs and play to the strengths for him and the bank

February 8, 2023 at 3:03 AM

Liz Nesvold: Thanks to my team for sticking with me through thick and thin.

RIA M&A superstar Liz Nesvold takes control of her own destiny by invoking a contract clause at Raymond James -- and signaling that there is a hard way and easy way the next 90 days can go

The 'Michael Jordan of RIA M&A' may have been passed over on the St. Petersburg, Fla., investment bank's corporate ladder, despite her legendary rainmaking

February 4, 2023 at 2:53 AM

Focus Financial could get rolled down if Clayton, Dubilier & Rice takes over.

Focus Financial is pushing shareholders to take a take-it-or-leave-it private equity offer worth about $6 billion -- including $2 billion debt assumption -- despite a break-up value near $10 billion

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice's $53-a-share, or $4.1 billion, offer is predatory but likely to be accepted, in the sense that analysts imagine the rollup could be sold off in parts; Buckingham, alone, may fetch $2 billion.

February 3, 2023 at 3:03 AM

Ken Golding with his wife, Shirley, in Florida; one day in 1995,he got a call from a guy named Greg Friedman, and the conversation never stopped.

Ken Golding, who rewrote RIA software history only after Greg Friedman got three haircuts, stopped griping and acted on his hair stylist's advice, has died; he was 62

The Junxure legend was in Texas as a code writer for hire when he got a call from a shorn, California startup RIA owner, who was tired of using 'mail-merge' to integrate advice processes.

January 31, 2023 at 3:02 AM

Andres Garcia-Amaya: 'We were surprised how quickly RIAs were willing to adopt.'

Zoe Financial discloses stealth raise from big RIAs, even as it launches its own RIA and walks tightrope on potential conflicts

The New York City referral machine raised funds last May from Mariner Wealth, Creative Planning and Sequoia Financial and now says those firms won't get preferential dibs on referrals.

January 26, 2023 at 2:20 AM

Brooke Southall: 'Few industries are as self-perpetuating as financial advice.'

RIAs begin 2023 on top, radically road-tested, and morphing from one undefined state to an even blurrier one -- but also one more valuable

The enormity of the $7-trillion AUM profession's task post-2022 expands, morphs and looks more missionary and underpriced

January 12, 2023 at 5:26 AM

Kimberly Foss: 'Our cultural fit was extremely high.'

Media magnet Kimberly Foss sells her RIA to Mercer Global and declares cultural fit 'extemely high,' citing shared DFA ties and a woman's touch

The Empyrion owner will now work under the $48-billion, Denver and Santa Barbara RIA rollup, which keeps finding women in wealth who believe it transcends 'pale, male and stale'

January 11, 2023 at 3:28 AM

Lauren Taylor Wolfe: Change must begin at the Board level.

Lauren Taylor Wolfe goes for Envestnet's throat by demanding four of seven board seats -- including her own -- in what one analyst views as a budding 'hostile [board] takeover'

The 7.5% stakeholder in New York City claims the Berywn. Pa., firm has been run with an 'abandonment of fiduciary responsibility.'

January 5, 2023 at 5:16 AM

James Ianazzo may need to clear a fifth hurdle to get on with his life as a stock broker.

Why FINRA's late appearance into smoothie-throwing broker James Iannazzo's life might be rough

It's been about 11 months since Merrill Lynch fired him, and the CFP Board stripped him of the CFP mark; attracting the SRO's attention means more woes.

December 29, 2022 at 1:05 AM

Shirl Penney: I very much value our relationships with Fidelity and Pershing.

Shirl Penney lands hot cash in cold market, raising $100 million (says source) to 'charge onto the offensive' as competitors 'hunker down' under debt

The CEO and co-founder of Dynasty Financial Partners salves IPO pain by cobbling cash from existing backers, a Boston private equity firm, Abry, and even RIA custody partner, Schwab, at valuation near $500 million.

December 20, 2022 at 2:37 AM

Wayne Bloom: We're really a giant national RIA.

Commonwealth cuts RIA custody fee, toggles Fidelity and Schwab as sub-custody and co-custody partners, and explains why its model puts $1 trillion of (mostly) RIA assets in reach

Fresh off three-year hiatus, Wayne Bloom framed his Waltham, Mass. IBD as both a big, national RIA and a custodian to smaller ones but also promises to 'remember where you come from' -- namely a commission-based brokerage beginning.

December 7, 2022 at 4:57 AM

Josh Brown [right] with Jay Tini: We're not stopping.

Josh Brown and Barry Ritholtz want rock-star culture and rocketing growth in one RIA so they hired Jay Tini to manage the paradox

The dynamic New York City super-blogger duo now have a $2.8 billion AUM RIA and a 'massive fanbase' to cultivate, but they also foresee a need to rein in and retain

November 22, 2022 at 2:38 AM

Kurt MacAlpine:  Post-IPO, the Canadian business will not fund any future U.S. acquisitions.

CI Financial will cut off U.S. RIA unit from Canadian cash infusions as part of 2023 IPO but with a giant parting gift -- total forgiveness of its substantial mountain of debt

The Toronto asset manager, drenched in $2.7 billion of debt, promises an imminent IPO of a larger-than-planned stake in its $126-billion AUM to pay off lenders.

November 17, 2022 at 2:27 AM

Lauren Taylor Wolfe: Management and the board seem to have attempted Kabuki theater.

After Envestnet rebuffed an ESG hedge fund's demand for a board seat, the fund managers sent a shrill, scalding letter in retaliation to force the issue

The Berwyn, Pa., firm invited invective by allegedly stiff-arming the startup ESG fund's request, even though it holds a 7.2% stake in the company.

November 16, 2022 at 2:49 AM

Bill Crager: We look forward to working closely with FNZ to provide scaled, streamlined, deeply connected experiences

Bill Crager reads the room and commandeers State Street's old RIA custody unit for Envestnet with FNZ deal

With sandbox rules out the window, Envestnet CEO will private label re-branded State Street Wealth Manager Services -- 'one of biggest long-term opportunities to date,' analyst writes

November 10, 2022 at 10:48 PM

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