Robert Russo

Robert Russoage 38

Managing partner and founder, Independent Advisor Alliance

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Robert Russo left Edward Jones in 2007 because he wanted to run a pension consulting firm. He co-founded Blackbridge Financial, a wealth management firm focusing on retirement plans and other services.

In the process of building a network of advisers to generate referrals, he created a widely successful business as an office of supervisory jurisdiction for LPL Financial advisers around Charlotte, N.C.

Mr. Russo now spends more hours on the road for work than he does sleeping because he’s always recruiting new advisers to his Independent Advisor Alliance. But it’s worth it. He’s built the firm into a $1.5 billion hybrid practice with more than 50 representatives and 13 full-time staff. 

“Since my clients are independent advisers, I have to constantly evolve and innovate so they can deliver cutting-edge services to their clients,” he said.

Mr. Russo, an advocate of transparent pricing, charges advisers a flat $30,000 a year for his services, and said he believes advisers themselves should move away from pricing based on assets under management.

“I don’t think a client should have to figure out what they are paying,” he said.

Mr. Russo shares his innovative industry thinking as a member of advisory firm boards, and he speaks on financial literacy to his church and other groups.

— Liz Skinner

Fast Facts

  • First job was a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant
  • Guilty pleasures are staying up late, snacking and high-end sporting event tickets
  • Is afraid to fly (but still does!)
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