The Alliance for RIAs Releases Whitepaper For Financial Advisors; Flags Major Potential Challenges Ahead For Industry

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• Increasing competition from a new breed of market participants • The age of clients is a critical factor in practice value and transferability of business • Independent advisors have more choice than ever in delivering value to clients • What is the true worth of an advisor’s business?

The first installment of the whitepaper series. . .moves to caution advisors that the time to build the ark is before the rain

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The Alliance for RIAs (aRIA) ( today released the first of a four-part whitepaper series for financial advisors called Creating Value and Certainty Within Your Independent Advisory Firm. The series of papers is based on the experience of aRIA members who collectively manage over $20 billion of client assets.

Part One, The Evolution of Value Creation, presents the group’s point of view on how the industry is changing and what some of the largest and most successful firms are doing to position their businesses for the future. Most importantly, it provides a detailed analysis of the challenges facing independent advisors when it comes to breaking away from a wirehouse, growing an RIA practice and truly creating value in a practice.

Differentiating this series of papers is that they represent the thinking of some of the industry’s top RIAs. aRIA group members include Brent Brodeski, CEO of Savant Capital; John Burns, Principal at Exencial Wealth Management; Ron Carson, CEO of Carson Wealth Management Group; Jeff Concepcion, CEO of Stratos Wealth Partners; Matt Cooper, President of Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors; and Neal Simon, CEO of Highline Wealth Management.

The first installment of the whitepaper series reviews the blossoming of the independent advisory space and then moves to caution advisors that the time to build the ark is before the rain. Among issues advisors will be facing in the next decade:

  •              Increasing competition laterally within the independent space
  •              New wealth management providers from other verticals and on-line RIAs
  •              Business continuity and succession planning
  •              Difficulty realizing equity value of their business; and
  •              An uncertain regulatory future

The bottom line: Times have been good for independents, but advisors need to prepare now or potentially be caught without a seat when the music stops.

“The goal of these papers is to provide the best of aRIA’s thinking to the advisor community as a whole,” says John Furey, principal at Advisor Growth Strategies, LLC and Managing Member of aRIA. “We’re in the middle innings of the game here, and this group is willing to share their experience in growing their businesses and creating true value for the future.”

“aRIA is dedicated to sharing with our fellow advisors what has been working as well as advise them on potential dangers ahead,” says Jeff Concepcion, CEO of Stratos Wealth Partners. “There are some issues within the industry that everyone is talking about and some that not enough are talking about. We feel our views might add a different perspective on them all, and we are happy to share.”

The paper opens with a landscape analysis, and quickly highlights key trends that will drive growth in the independent sector of the industry. Among them:

  •              Improvement to advisory support models
  •              Industry consolidation and scale
  •              Continuation of the breakaway broker movement
  •              Increased sophistication of advisors
  •              Tarnished brands of large national wirehouses and banks and
  •              Friction within the private wealth divisions of large banks.

But for all of the trending growth indicators, the paper warns that now is not the time to rest on laurels.

Highline’s Neal Simon summarizes some of the issues awaiting advisors down the track. “Advisors are aging, and the clients of advisors are aging along with them. Left unaddressed, this creates the perfect storm of opportunity and uncertainty. Add to this the fact that most advisors a) do not have a succession plan, and b) even if they do they fail to realize that their plan is not the same thing as a plan to sell – and you have major looming issues.”

John Burns, Principal at Exencial Wealth Management, continues, “Advisors have never had more choice with regard to growing and building their businesses, but all of that choice can be confusing if you don’t understand what you are looking at. All of us in this group have gone through the process of surveying the options, dealing with the players and learning from those experiences. If we can add some degrees to the learning curve for our fellow advisors, we’ll be thrilled.”

Future installments in this series will arrive beginning in Q4 and will cover:

  •              Part II: Taking control of your future: scale, value and uncertainty
  •              Part III: Myth vs. reality: What is your independent advisory firm really worth?
  •              Part IV: Navigating your path forward and achieving your ideal model

Download a free copy of this whitepaper at:


About Advisor Growth Strategies

Advisor Growth Strategies, LLC (AGS) is a leading consulting firm serving the wealth management industry. AGS provides customized business management solutions for independent firms seeking to aggressively grow their business and for financial advisors in transition. Our services include strategic planning, recruiting and acquisition programming, compensation design, and succession planning. We serve established independent advisors, large breakaway advisor teams, and institutional level corporations. On the web at:

About aRIA

aRIA Group, the alliance for RIAs, is a “think-tank” study group comprised of six elite RIA firms that collectively manage more than $20 billion in client assets. The group, managed by John Furey of Advisor Growth Strategies, offers insight for advisors considering ways to enhance their firms’ enterprise value. Members include Brent Brodeski, CEO of Savant Capital; John Burns, Principal at Burns Advisory Group; Ron Carson, CEO of Carson Wealth Management Group; Jeff Concepcion, CEO of Stratos Wealth Planning; Matt Cooper, President of Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors; and Neal Simon, CEO of Highline Wealth Management. The group meets regularly, releasing thought leadership pieces of interest to both independent and wire-house advisors interested in exploring long-term growth strategies.


About Weitz Funds

Wallace R. Weitz & Company was started in 1983 with about $11 million under management. Over the years, the firm has followed a common-sense formula: own a group of strong businesses with deeply discounted stock prices. By staying true to this philosophy – and
sticking to industries it understands – Weitz Funds has been able to pursue solid returns for investors. Today the firm, a registered investment advisor, manages approximately $4.4 billion for the Weitz Funds, individuals, corporations, pension plans, foundations and endowments.
Learn more about Weitz Funds at

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Jason Lahita
FiComm Partners, LLC
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