HOW DO YOU GO FROM $0 TO MORE THAN $30 BILLION IN AUM in less than 9 years? Marty Bicknell of Mariner Holdings did it through acquisitions, organic growth, and good timing. Of course, there’s more to it than that and in this episode, Marty adds texture to one of the most exciting growth stories in the financial services industry.
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- Founder/CEO of Mariner Holdings
- Former senior vice president of investments at A.G. Edwards & Sons
- #2 on Barron’s 2014 list of the Top Independent Wealth Advisors in the United States
- Member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO)
- Unlike most advisory firms, Mariner doesn’t segment clients into A, B, C, D levels and provide different levels of service for each level. Instead, they segment by advisor who then specialize in working with a certain segment of client. This makes it easier to train and develop advisors and ensures, “the same high level of service for all clients.”
- What stops an advisor from experiencing breakout growth? Marty says, “People get too comfortable and are not willing to innovate, not willing to challenge or change the status quo because it’s working okay.”
- When it comes to acquisitions, you have to uncover a lot of rocks before you find a gem. In 2012, Marty said he, “Personally visited over 200 firms but only made four acquisitions that year.”
- The hardest part of getting a deal right is culture. Marty said, “You can take ninety-nine percent of a deal process and put it on a spreadsheet and get a black and white answer. Culture is one that doesn’t fit there.”
- To determine if a potential acquisition is a good cultural fit, Marty said, “It’s a time commitment and to a certain degree it’s gut, but the bottom line is, I have to want to be your partner.”
- What keeps Marty up at night? Not enough new talent coming into the industry to replace the aging advisor population.
- And what gets Marty up in the morning? He said, “I do believe that this is a remarkable time to be in this industry.” He explains why in the podcast.
- Think you can differentiate yourself through investing? Unlikely. Marty said, “We believe very strongly that investments are a commodity.” Me too.
- Marty’s firm separates the functions of giving advice and business development. Advisors advise and business development professionals “have no post-sale client responsibility and are focused on driving new relationships to the advice givers.” In the podcast, he explains in detail how these two separate functions work seamlessly together.
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