Advisor Blog

Retirement Planning Costs in a Low Return World

At a recent open house hosted by one of our new offices I encountered something quite unusual: Affluent retirees were openly questioning costs in a large group setting. One gentleman commented, “I didn’t mind paying 1% in fees when the stock market was going up 12% and bonds yielded 6%, but shouldn’t adviser fees be…

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How We Eliminated Email Overload, Death by PowerPoint + Boring (Boring!) Conference Calls

There are a ton of articles and studies on why effective company communications are critical to culture, employee engagement + overall productivity, but very few solutions are offered. At United Capital where excellence + innovation are our leading principles, we decided that we could not accept the above reality as ours. With 600+ employees, ranging…

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To Grow Through Acquisition, Sell Your Own Practice First

Over the last 11 years I’ve attended and participated in dozens of conferences and break-out sessions on the topic of M&A within the wealth management industry. When I am speaking or as a panel member, I often kick the session off with these questions: “By show of hands, how many buyers are in the audience?”…

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3 Things Financial Advisers Need to Know When Serving Female Clients

I recently watched an Ellen DeGeneres clip where she makes fun of the Bic pen designed for women. Ellen humorously points out the cliches Bic used in designing and marketing its pen. Their “pen for women” is like any other writing instrument, but comes in cutesy “feminine” colors and is double the price of a…

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Learning and Profiting from Gen X

Today’s era represents the first in history where almost every generation is learning how to interact with the world from their children. Our kids teach us how to use social media, and we teach our parents how to use Netflix. This has led to a manic fascination with millennials and how they consume. The generation…

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The Land of Unicorns; how to increase your firm’s value

Unicorns are private companies with valuations in excess of $1 billion. Facebook and Google were the pioneers and Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat and Pinterest are some of the most dominant unicorns today. CB Insights recently estimated the aggregate value of all of today’s unicorns at a breathtaking $599 billion. Our industry has its own rising unicorns.…

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The Power and Peril of Debt-Financed Growth

In my previous blog post(s), I listed several questions a seller of a wealth management business should be asking a potential buyer during due diligence. In the most recent post, we dove into understanding the importance of having clarity around the buying firm’s capitalization table, where we learn a lot about the difference in seller’s…

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The mobile divide: Protecting your business from the cell phone

Uber is killing the taxi cab, Amazon is overtaking retail and Netflix is dominating entertainment, but it is the cell phone that makes this all possible. The threat from digital disruptors only became pervasive when technology took the huge leap of becoming portable. The biggest danger to your business is the cell phone resting in…

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Cloud or Legacy? Which IT set up is right for you?

Recently I came across an article that included a fact I found astounding. In a Feb. 22 article from The Wall Street Journal, reporter Emily Glazer noted that JPMorgan’s “40,000 technology employees make up about 17 percent of the bank’s head count.” I have no idea if that’s a reasonable number to support JPMorgan’s vast…

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Capitalization Tables show true colors of potential acquirers

As head of acquisitions for United Capital, I’ve worked on dozens of transactions involving wealth management businesses over the last decade. Selling firms are often led by incredibly capable entrepreneurs, but I’ve observed a surprising lack of understanding in the value of the equity these folks might be receiving from the buying firm. There is…

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