Tuesday, 14 May 2024 10:20

How One RIA Tripled AUM in 4 Years

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Summit Financial was founded in 1982 as an independent firm. Over the last 4 years, assets under management grew from $3 billion to over $10 billion as it aggressively recruited talent from wirehouses and other firms. Ed Friedman, the director of business development and growth at Summit, shared some insights on what has driven the firm’s recent success.

The biggest factor is creating a culture that allows advisors to be fiduciaries, grow their own businesses, and have a meaningful stake in the firm’s long-term success. Friedman stresses that clients are ultimately loyal to an advisor and not a company. 

Additionally, advisors at independent firms have more control over their destinies. In contrast, an advisor's fate at a wirehouse or larger institution can be affected by unrelated factors. For instance, many brokers at Merrill Lynch had their equity wiped out in 2008 when it had to be bailed out by Bank of America. Similarly, advisors at First Republic were impacted by the crisis last year, despite the wealth management unit’s strength. 

Friedman also attributes the acceleration in growth to bringing in professional management. This has allowed advisors to focus on clients, prospecting, and financial planning, while other matters such as compliance, backoffice tasks, and administration are handled by the firm. 

Finsum: Summit Financial is more than 40 years old. Yet, the RIA’s growth has exploded in recent years as it has brought in professional management and found success with its independent-hybrid model. 

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