I was the 19th employee of Ritholtz Wealth Management when I joined the firm four years ago next month. I knew I was getting on a rocket ship, but I underestimated what escape velocity would feel like. In my first year, we crossed $1 billion in assets under management, a record-breaking accomplishment for a start-up RIA growing solely through organic growth rather than acquisition. But in 2021 alone, we grew by $1 billion in assets. Yes, part of this was market growth, but we were onboarding new clients at breakneck speed. It was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying, very much like I imagine it would be like to ride a rocket into space.
Back in 2018, I had time to do many things. I wrote volumes of blog posts, talked to every reporter who reached out to me, attended and spoke at countless industry conferences, joined the firm’s investment committee, and began welcoming new clients into the fold. For the first time in my career, I wasn’t responsible for executing trades. Our Chief Trading Officer, Patrick Haley, took care of that with precision and skill. Bill Sweet, our CFO, reviewed client tax returns and analyzed complicated tax questions. Our operations director, Erika Mauro, opened and transferred new accounts at a speed I’d never witnessed. Everywhere I turned, there was a colleague who specialized in an area to help leverage my time – insurance, college planning, ESG investing, and estate planning.
And the clients kept coming.
There was a rush during the pandemic spring/summer of 2020 when we had Zoom calls from dawn to dusk. No one had anything else to do, and nowhere to be. Flush with cash or fresh off a big investment mistake, people were reaching out for our help. I spoke of 2021 above, but the second half of the year was incredibly intense for me. 10 new clients came on board in the final quarter alone. Now as the Lead Advisor for The Preserve, a service model for high net worth clients that I helped create, these new clients have questions that require more manpower, time, and analysis to answer. I am no longer maximizing my time but drowning under a list of emails requiring my response.
I need help.
I’m hiring an associate advisor.
I’m looking for a star. This is someone who knows they want to be a financial advisor and is ready to learn through a hands-on apprenticeship with me. Perhaps you’ve worked in operations for a few years and want to transition into an advisory role. Or maybe you’re a paraplanner at a firm with few opportunities for advancement. You may be working in a bank, brokerage firm, or an insurance company and want to make the move to an RIA. Either you’ve started studying for the CFP, have already passed the exam, or want to start.
What will you be doing? You’ll be on every client call, for a start. You’ll help me prepare for that call by updating financial plans, reviewing notes from the last meeting, and coordinating the resources needed for the conversation. On the call, you’ll take notes and handle all follow-up actions. When new clients join, you’ll evaluate their portfolios and devise an investment implementation plan. My goal is to teach you everything I know so that in a few years, you will have clients of your own. This is not the typical 55-year-old advisor promising to retire in a few years and then keeping you in perpetual indentured servitude. RWM is growing, fast. We need you to stand on your own two feet as an advisor. The clients are coming.