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Financial industry news and events for RIAs.

4 min read

TradePMR’s Invite-Only M&A Symposium Is One of the Most-Discussed Events at the 2024 T3 Conference

Jan 30, 2024 2:29:13 PM

Robb Baldwin, Joe Duran and Dan Kreuter marked the unofficial start to conference season with a look at client service and entrepreneurism in wealth management.

At TradePMR, we’ve never been shy about setting high expectations and the right tone. In light of that, TradePMR Founder and CEO Robb Baldwin commemorated the unofficial start of the 2024 conference season with an invite-only M&A Symposium during the first day of the Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference. Joining Baldwin was Joe Duran, CEO of Rise Growth Partners and founder of United Capital, and Dan Kreuter, CEO of Gladstone Group.

The trio covered a wide range of topics, including M&A expectations for the near future (especially in light of changing advisor demographics and growth trajectories); the massive impact of making small improvements to client services; and how to convert big entrepreneurial goals into success stories.

These themes set the stage for the rest of T3, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in Las Vegas. Long after the conclusion of the M&A Symposium, attendees continued to reflect and discuss the points raised by Baldwin, Duran and Kreuter. For those unable to attend, we’ve put together this summary to share with our readers.

Beginning T3 with a conversation about M&A was strikingly timely for many. When industry aggregators entered the advisor landscape, they ushered in more than a decade of dealmaking that only seemed to increase in value. Last year seems to have brought that chapter to a close, however, with 2023 apparently marking the first slowdown in deals since the 2008 financial crisis, Baldwin said during his opening remarks.

When trends change, advisors take notice—and it’s not just changes to deal flow that are raising questions. The demographics of the wealth management industry itself are provoking concerns about the future. Some 37% of advisors are set to retire by the end of the decade, and it looks like everyone wants a piece of the outgoing group’s approximately $10.4 trillion in assets, Baldwin said.*

To further complicate the state of the industry, aggregators and advisors alike are finding that making a deal without the right rationale is far from a golden ticket, said Duran.

Mr. Duran further elaborated on his position stating: “If you’re doing acquisitions to get big, that is not a winning strategy. You’ll get size, but ultimately you’re not building anything where the collection of things is better than the individual parts,” he explained. “Don’t just do acquisitions for acquisitions’ sake.”

One of the takeaways brought on by United Capital’s 2019 sale to Goldman Sachs is that brand is important, Duran said. Once associated with Goldman, United Capital nearly doubled its assets under management in just two years, which he believes was largely due to the brand recognition of the Wall Street institution.

“Brand is what you promise to do, who you promise to do it for and how consistently you do what you promised,” Duran explained. Mr. Duran went on to state his belief that advisors who fail to master their own brand identity will have a hard time finding success—either organically or through acquisitions.

In fact, whether it's defining one’s brand or focusing on the details, it seems that small changes can beget powerful and lucrative business valuations. Historically, financial services were sold, not purchased. But today’s clients are looking for guidance, well-being and reassurance that they’re on sound financial footing.

“Advisors should always be asking, ‘What would it be like to be one of my clients?’” said Duran. In answering that question, advisors will uncover the true persona of their ideal clients and how they can better serve them. “We’re such a boring industry that you just need to be a little bit creative and you will do some very interesting things.”

As with all memorable symposiums, attendees left the event with more than just business advice. Duran reminded those in attendance that although it is often frightening, change, he believes, is the key to growth.

“The more successful you are, the less willing you are to challenge how you work,” he said. “Invest in your growth. You are surrounded by the people you deserve.”

At TradePMR, our Advisor Evolution Sciences platform is designed to help advisors change and grow, by leveraging the latest in behavioral finance alongside our time-tested technology. We know what it’s like to be an advisor, because we were built by an advisor. That’s why we continue to provide what we feel are industry-leading solutions, even in the face of industry-defining challenges.

To learn more about how we’re pushing beyond the limits of traditional financial advice, subscribe to our LinkedIn Newsletter TradePMR Talks and sign up to attend our SYNERGY24 Conference.


About TradePMR

For more than two decades, TradePMR has worked with growth-minded independent registered investment advisors (RIAs), providing innovative technology tools and support designed to transform their businesses. The privately-held brokerage and custodian services provider (Member FINRA/SIPC), based in Gainesville, Fla., works to streamline fee-only investment advisors' operations through comprehensive custodial, operational, and trading support. For more information, visit www.TradePMR.com.

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This material is not intended to be relied on as investment advice and does not constitute a recommendation of any particular investment or investment strategy or an inducement to buy or sell any securities. The opinions expressed herein are those of the presenters and do not necessary reflect the opinion of Trade-PMR, Inc. Any opinions expressed are as of the date of this presentation and are subject to change, without notice. There is no guarantee that any forecast implied will come to fruition. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any reliance on the information herein is done solely at the discretion of the reader. Securities offered through TradePMR, member FINRA/SIPC.

* 40% of Advisory Assets Will Transition in 10 years, According to Cerulli, Cerulli & Associates, June 13, 2022

Written by TradePMR