Welcome everyone! Welcome to the 365th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today’s podcast is Rob Nelson. Rob is the CEO and Founder of NorthRock Partners, an RIA based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that oversees $5 billion in assets under management for 1,500 client households.
What’s unique about Rob, though, is how while many advisory firms increasingly talk about being more than ‘just’ their client’s financial advisor and instead their entire ‘personal CFO’, Rob has been able to scale NorthRock up to $5 billion of AUM to offer such a breadth of services, from bill paying to tax preparation to supporting clients on their bank lending, all while still charging an AUM-based fee that is similar to firms with a less comprehensive client experience by leveraging the economies of scale he’s been able to create.
In this episode, we talk in-depth about the growth strategy that Rob’s firm has executed over the past 6 years to grow from $1 billion to $5 billion in AUM, including organic growth from current clients – (many of whom are corporate executives and professional athletes with strong positive cash flow), strong new client asset flows from referrals (as current clients refer peers who could benefit from NorthRock’s high-touch service), and opportunistic acquisitions of both larger and smaller practices that are willing to do a transaction with Rob because they want to offer their clients the comprehensive service that NorthRock has staffed up to provide.
We also talk about how Rob structured NorthRock to allow its advisors to leverage the expertise of centralized expert teams covering investments, insurance, and other planning areas, while remaining the primary relationship manager for the clients themselves, how Rob has expanded his leadership team to match the needs of his growing firm but finds that in a growing business there are always still more leadership gaps to fill, and how Rob recently decided to sell a majority stake in NorthRock to a larger holding company, instead of taking on money from a private equity firm, because he felt it allowed him to get funding with a longer-term mindset to support NorthRock’s continued expansion (while being able to still maintain discretion over its operations as NorthRock grows for decades to come).
And be certain to listen to the end, where Rob shares his firm’s approach to hiring, including being crystal clear about the job description of the person it wants to hire and what their typical day will look like, why Rob thinks repetitive practice (getting as many ‘reps’ in front of prospects and clients as possible) is the best way for associate advisors to develop their skills, and why, despite already building a large and successful multi-billion-dollar firm, Rob still thinks that he and his firm still have significant untapped potential that they have to get bigger to fully unlock.
So, whether you’re interested in learning about how to operate a high-touch financial advisory enterprise, how to scale an advisory business through a combination of organic and inorganic growth techniques, or how to build a leadership team and staff to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding client base, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Rob Nelson.