Change is usually driven by a combination of push and pull. Yet in the case of consultants managing $1 billion+, those factors are even greater.
After a record-breaking 2020, 2021 is proving to be an extraordinarily active year of movement among consultants at all levels.
Yet it’s the top advisors, who manage in the multi-billion-dollar range, that often get the most attention — and for good reason. A move at any size comes with disruption and risk – each of which intensifies as the business gets bigger and more complex.
With over 30 moves as of this writing, one must wonder what is driving this activity. That is, which catalysts are so powerful as to leave this upper echelon genius to the arduous effort of converting firms to replace the comforts of a very familiar nest?
The reality is that mentor movement is driven by a combination of pushes and pulls: “pulls” of frustrations and limits, and “pulls” toward something more exciting or that exhibits greater competence and increased independence and control.
Consider The UBS veteran Max Pechler who transformed First Republic Wealth Management In November this year. Managing just shy of $1 billion, Max was the first to admit that the status quo was good for him. But he was attracted to its ability to serve its customers in a way that felt less limited and an opportunity to accelerate growth. First the Republic aligned with everything it was looking for and then some.
Like Max, there are many people for whom freedom isn’t quite right. For example, Lee A. Sperling built a business managing $4B in JPMorgan Private Bank. His July transition to Morgan Stanley represents one that was guided by a desire for greater investment flexibility and control than in the private banking world. Also, the desire to move to a non-bank owned firm where there was more potential for better technology and platform.
On the other hand, in September, siblings Scott and Brett Bill and their team left Merrill with $1.75B in assets to launch RIA Nilsine Partners with Dynasty Financial Partners. As Scott shared in a press release, their goals were based on expanding offerings to better serve their customers and accelerate their growth — but without the limitations of operating within the confines of a larger organization. “We now have the ability to be solution-based, not product-driven,” Scott said—and that’s the very assumption, along with the potential to build equity in an enterprise that’s truly their own. One of the strongest pulls.
So what are some common pushbacks that prompt advisors to consider change?
- too much bureaucracy – More stringent compliance to the lowest common denominator and management limits consultants in their ability to serve clients and grow their businesses.
- loss of control – As firms tighten rein, consultants are forced to fit a mold that may not suit their business and hinder their ability to thrive.
- change in compensation – Advisors are doing the math and realizing that as companies take a bigger slice of the pie and postpone it for a longer period of time, they could stand to lose more by staying.
- change in culture – Culture has come to play a stronger role in the decision to make a move, as many seek the environment that it “once was.” That is, where there is a greater relationship between the firm’s ideology, leadership and their advisors. This is one reason why boutique firms and regionals like Rockefeller Capital Management and First Republic Private Wealth Management are winning the race for top talent.
- To gain more freedom, flexibility and control While a firm is serving a consultant well, it is not uncommon to simply “want more” in terms of building a business and increasing its ability to serve clients.
- to monetize in the short term – With deals at a higher watermark, consultants are getting the opportunity to opt for a lucrative advance transition check through a recruitment deal and potentially improve their professional life at the same time.
- To build an enterprise and equity value – Consultants willing to play the long haul and who are focused on building an efficient and scalable enterprise will be rewarded with a higher valuation at the end of the day.
- want to accelerate development Whether it’s to gain a referral mechanism, the ability to customize the customer service experience, or even how a new firm’s brand may better resonate with clients, consultants can help increase their bottom line. capacity is prepared.
Consultants advance when the catalysts make a tangible impact on their ability to adequately “get it done”—that is, serve their clients and grow their business.
But for some advisors—particularly those who have a strong entrepreneurial spirit—exploration is often opportunistic, because the reality is that what’s in front of them isn’t “enough.” And it is this same notion that acts equally as a push and a bridge towards something better.
As Gerry Goldberg, ex-Wells Fargo consultant appointed CEO and co-founder of $8.5B+ GYL Financial Synergies, described it in a recent podcast interview with me: “It’s all too easy for those of us who succeeded in the wirehouse and elsewhere to say, ‘You know what, I’m making a good living. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ But why do the forces of inertia carry you forward? If we had done so, we would have missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime.”
In a world where the cascade of possibilities has expanded tremendously, a better professional life is achievable for almost every advisor – and it is the same notion that is creating a wave of movement like never before.