Founder, Focus Financial
The challenges of small businesses have always inspired Rudy Adolf, 54, founder and CEO of Focus Financial Partners, which invests in independently operated adviser practices. Early in his career, the Austrian native worked with his CPA father and witnessed the sadness of small-business owners who had to sell the companies they had worked so hard to build.
"They were losing a big part of their lives, destroying their visions," Mr. Adolf said.
Years later, living in the U.S. and running a global brokerage, he recognized the accelerating trend of advisers jumping ship to become independent and join registered investment advisory firms.
Taking a closer look at why, he became "intrigued and captivated by the power of the fiduciary model," Mr. Adolf said.
He appreciated the outcomes it produced not only for clients, but also practitioners — entrepreneurs who wanted to practice in their own unique styles and preserve their legacies.
Consequently, Mr. Adolf, an entrepreneur at heart, resolved to create a business to support these departing advisers and others who wished to remain independent. His firm provides them access to best practices, capital, a structured succession program and co-ownership in Focus Financial.
"What we understand is the power of the entrepreneur combined with the fiduciary model. We celebrate the uniqueness and individuality within this industry," he said.
Raised in an Alpine chalet on the outskirts of Innsbruck, Mr. Adolf came to the U.S. 25 years ago for an eight-month consulting assignment in fast-paced New York. He laughingly described the shock of being "the mountain boy suddenly in the boardroom of a major bank."
Another notable occurrence? He met his future wife and didn't return to Europe.
– Deborah Nason