Mindy Diamond on Independence: Jack Peterson on Summit Trail's Blockbuster Breakaway

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It was one of the most significant and notable leaps to independence in 2015. And even today, advisors still talk about it.

Jack Petersen was the head of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management for the Americas, resulting from a quick turnaround move after Lehman’s bankruptcy in 2008.

After years in the business, Jack admits feeling burnt out in the management role, so he shifted back to his roots as an advisor, which led him to later consider whether there was a better way to serve his ultra-high net worth clients.

That is, he came to the realization that to serve this sophisticated client base properly meant customization and recommendations outside of the Barclays infrastructure—and it was clear that another traditional firm would present them with the same challenges.

Pulling together a few like-minded teams that also served the unique needs of this constituency, Jack and five other co-founders launched Summit Trail in July 2015 with support from Dynasty Financial Partners.

It was a landmark event in size and scope: $3B in managed assets at three simultaneously launched sites across the country.

Headlines announcing the move described Summit Trail as a “National Wealth Management Boutique” launched by “6 Leading Executives,” with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Summit Trail immediately became one of the largest independent wealth management firms in the United States.

Today, the firm manages $16B billionin client assets, with offices added in Boston, Seattle, Harrisburg, and Washington DC. And while they’ve done some acquisitions, their growth has been driven primarily by organic means.

In this episode with Louis Diamond, Jack discusses his journey, including:

  • The wealth management industry as it was before and after the 2008 collapse—and how that event influenced his decision to go independent.
  • The inability to provide customized advice and services to UHNW clients—and how that seemed to be more of a “broader industry problem” and not just a “Barclays problem.”
  • Pulling together six diverse teams across the country—and how Dynasty helped facilitate the process at a time when even just going independent was far less common.
  • Their incredible growth—and how they accomplished it by primarily organic means.
  • Their unique business model—and what key attributes they “cherry-picked” from the broker dealer world.
  • Their client policy—and why they chose to focus solely on the ultra-high net worth segment.
  • The strategic value of private equity—and why they have opted not to take on outside capital at this time.
  • And the notion of how large firms build their infrastructures—and why these “supermarket platforms,” designed to manage tens of thousands of advisors and their clients, make it difficult, if not impossible, to serve the unique needs of sophisticated ultra-high net worth clients.

It’s a conversation with a successful advisor and business owner who built an enterprise by “putting clients first”—providing teachable moments for advisors at all levels.

Download a transcript of this episode…

Listen to more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change


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