Ten years ago, the idea of independence was anathema to most consultants – and almost completely unknown to an executive at a company like Merrill Lynch.
But for Greg Franks, the “banking” of Merrill – the company he worked for nearly three decades – was just “tragic”.
In this episode, Greg talks about how the initial optimism about the positives that Bank of America brought to the company quickly turned into a battle that management was waging behind the scenes.
Nonetheless, he praises his tenure there, where he held senior management positions in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, where he also served as Director of the Western Division, Mid-Atlantic Division Director and Regional Managing Director.
As a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, he was responsible for over 5,000 consultants, $ 450 billion in client assets, and $ 4 billion in annual revenue.
But it was a cultural shift imposed by the bank – like increasing the minimum account size, cross-selling products, and decreasing control over advisors – that he and other Merrill executives, including Lyle LaMothe, all of whom ran Merrill Lynch , imposed wealth management, couldn’t keep up.
Today Greg shares the story of his own leap into independence in 2011, from being ranked at Merrill to being Managing Partner, President and COO of Snowden Lane Partners, including:
- What was going on at Merrill that made him move – and how those changes will continue to affect the company and shape the emergence of new models in the industry landscape.
- Leaving the wire house and exploring other opportunities from top companies – and why he felt they were all very much the same.
- How important it is to join the company as a consultant – and how this experience helped him develop a lot of empathy and a deep understanding of the role.
- His investment in the company began with former Merrill Business Risk Officer Rob Mooney – and how the experience he and his partners gained at Merrill defines today’s Snowden culture and value proposition.
- What he sees as the true value of independence for a financial advisor – and how the freedoms associated with corporate ownership can be “intoxicating”.
- What sets the company apart from others in the boutique sector – and how a model like Snowden’s differs from what he has left behind in the wirehouse world.
While we often hear the advisor’s perspective on changes in the brokerage world, it is even more powerful to gain the management’s point of view and understand what led to those changes – that is, the behind-the-scenes struggle to maintain the freedoms the advisors need once had. But as Greg shared, “It was a losing battle.”
It’s an episode that gives an exclusive behind-the-scenes look – a firsthand perspective on a changing wealth management industry – with valuable insights for everyone who works in it.
Download the transcript of this episode …
Listen to more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Independence: A podcast for financial advisors contemplating change.
Mindy Diamond is the CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, NJ, a nationally recognized boutique search and advisory firm in the financial services industry.