Advisory firms make their mark by running strong businesses

InvestmentNews honors companies that rank highest among the competition with Best Practices Awards

Nov 24, 2018 @ 6:00 am

By Liz Skinner

InvestmentNews recognized 11 financial advice firms with Best Practices Awards on Nov. 13 at a ceremony in Boston.

These firms rank among the top quartile of 385 independent advisory firms that participated in the 2018 InvestmentNews Pricing and Profitability study.

The winners vary by size, fee model and geography, but they have something important in common.

"They all have plans on how they want to grow and they execute on them," said Mark Bruno, managing director and associate publisher of InvestmentNews. "These firms don't get there by accident — they grow by design."

The research, sponsored by Pershing Advisor Solutions, also revealed five of the most common business issues that limit the growth of advisory firms: inadequate marketing, insufficient capacity, untrained staff, lack of brand presence and a poor proposition, said Mark Tibergien, chief executive of Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon firm.

The winning companies range in size from $205 million in assets under management to $4.1 billion.

The firms given 2018 Best Practices Awards are: Balentine, Dowling & Yahnke, Financial Freedom Wealth Advisors, MFP, Ogorek Wealth Management, Phillips Financial, RCL Advisors, Rinvelt & David, Rose Capital Advisors, Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney, and SYM Financial Advisors. Read more about 10 of these winners here.

Location: Atlanta AUM: $2.45 billion Custodian: Pershing Advisor Solutions
Balentine has helped entrepreneurs and families reach their goals for more than 30 years through wealth management and investment planning.
All-star practices: 35% AUM growth due to new clients from existing referrals; operating profit margin above 20%
Location: San Diego AUM: $4.1 billion Custodian: Schwab Advisor Services
Founded in 1991, Dowling & Yahnke incorporates a philosophy of modern portfolio theory, along with guidance on financial decisions that look to meet financial goals.
All-star practices: High revenue per professional; focus on driving AUM through organic growth
Location: Houston AUM: $521 million Custodian: Ameriprise Financial Services
Financial Freedom Wealth Advisors helps its clients achieve financial goals based on factors important to the client, along with providing personal financial advice. Their main areas of focus include executive compensation and benefits, retirement income strategies, and wealth preservation strategies.
All-star practices: 53% AUM growth due to contributions of existing clients; 17% revenue one-year growth
Location: St. Cloud, Minn. AUM: $568.2 million Custodian: Pershing Advisor Solutions
MFP provides solutions to help clients prepare for life-changing events and specializes in death and disability planning and investment accumulation and distribution.
All-star practices: 17.9% year-over-year revenue growth; 17.4% year-over-year AUM growth
Location: Fort Wayne, Ind. AUM: $1.03 billion Custodian: Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services
Founded in 1949, Phillips Financial specializes in intentional financial planning, asset management and insurance management. Under the leadership of Richard L. Phillips, it assists with personal and business finances.
All-star practices: 16% AUM growth due to contributions from existing clients; 25% operating profit margin
Location: New York AUM: $1.44 billion Custodian: Schwab Advisor Services
RCL Advisors, founded in 2007, is focused on addressing unique wealth management priorities of clients through their professionals' expertise in retirement planning, income-tax planning and risk management. Its advisers work with high-net-worth individuals and institutions.
All-star practices: 12% revenue one-year growth; AUM growth highest from new clients from existing client referrals
Location: Grand Rapids, Mich. AUM: $285 million Custodian: Kestra Financial
Since 2004, Rinvelt & David has specialized in financial planning, insurance and investment planning. The firm manages finances based on the "Life Plan" index, rather than an overall broad financial market index.
All-star practices: 18% revenue one-year growth; revenue per professional of $1 million
Location: Miami Beach, Fla. AUM: $205 million Custodian: Pershing Advisor Solutions
Founded by Michael Rose in 2012, Rose Capital Advisors has focused on the principles of independence, transparency and client advocacy, while providing financial planning and wealth management for high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and families.
All-star practices: 37% AUM growth due to contributions from existing and new clients; 37% one-year growth
Location: McLean, Va. AUM: $3.7 billion Custodian: Schwab Advisor Services
Sullivan Bruyette Speros and Blayney have been focused on personalized financial planning, portfolio management, fiduciary services and tax services for affluent individuals, families and corporations since the firm was started in 1991.
All-star practices: 35% AUM growth over past 2.5 years, adding $1 billion growth
Location: Winona Lake, Ind. AUM: $2.41 billion Custodian: Schwab Advisor Services
Founded in 1968, SYM Financial Advisors provides financial leadership to individuals, business owners, corporate executives and health-care professionals. The firm name derives from the prefix "sym" meaning together, because it creates a wealth plan to bring together their clients' goals and resources.
All-star practices: 40% AUM growth due to contributions from existing clients; 38% operating margin

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