50+ Employees

2

Merit Financial Advisors

Overall Ranking6

Employees56 Firm TypeHybrid CEO and FounderRick L. Kent LocationAlpharetta, Ga. Primary CustodianLPL Financial Broker DealerLPL Financial

Overall Ranking6

Employees56 Firm TypeHybrid CEO and FounderRick L. Kent LocationAlpharetta, Ga. Primary CustodianLPL Financial Broker DealerLPL Financial

“If you try to tell people to do things, it’s very challenging. Instead we ask, ‘What can we do together?’” said Rick Kent, founder and CEO of Merit Financial Advisors.

“If you try to tell people to do things, it’s very challenging. Instead we ask, ‘What can we do together?’” said Rick Kent, founder and CEO of Merit Financial Advisors.

“In our industry, you hear ‘clients first.’ I personally believe in ‘team first,’” he said.

When leadership decided to embrace this philosophy, the six-office, 56-person firm reduced the management hierarchy dramatically and created 11 teams of four to six people. Every year, the executive team lays out its corporate objectives and the small teams collaboratively decide how to achieve them.

A member of the executive team meets with each team quarterly and weekly. The biggest advantage of the weekly check-ins, Mr. Kent said, is that leadership can uncover any roadblocks quickly, giving them more time to figure out how to help and provide advice and feedback.

“We don’t want them to feel that we’re breathing down their necks,” he said, “We dispel that idea by telling them, ‘This is not tied to your compensation; we just want to help you get better.’”

Since instituting this approach four years ago, assets under management have tripled and Mr. Kent expects them to double in the next three years.

— Deborah Nason

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