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Advisor Insights

Building a Niche Advisory Firm From the Ground Up

Knowing your customer is critical.

When I first considered venturing out on my own to build an independent advisory firm, I was a young MBA grad with a few years of experience in the wealth management industry. Today I have my own shop that is focused on millennials in technology industries. But at that time, as I looked around, I quickly saw that most firms were by and large pretty much the same.

The most well-known advisor practices had essentially the same culture, were built on the same old business models, and were not a good match for my generation. I remember interviewing at firms and being asked to write down 50 names of those who would make ideal clients for the firm--read: those who had $250,000 of investable assets. Now tell me, as the first college grad in my family, where was I, a 23-year-old Black kid, supposed to find people with that kind of money? And more importantly, how would I get them to trust me with managing their life savings?