REP.: Tell me a bit about Creative Planning’s approach.
Peter Mallouk: Some firms get where they are by managing money; some firms get where they are through a holistic approach; some get where they are through high-touch. I think we have a combination at a very high level. And I think our clients can smell that, they can feel that, and they’re very quick to refer. We don’t just backfill something and say we do it. Some firms have a CPA or attorney they use. Our legal arm has a dozen attorneys. We take it very seriously.
REP.: Many of your peers in the RIA space are consolidating, but you’re focused on growing organically.
PM: I’m not against, per se, partnering with another organization. But to me that means someone is going to bring something to the table that they’re going to do better than you. For some firms, they aggregate because they want scale. We have scale. We’re getting there on our own. Some are doing it because they need talent. We believe talent is coming to us. Some need money management expertise or planning expertise, but we’ve addressed all those things. So for us, the organic growth is better because we’re accomplishing all those things, but we’re doing it while we retain our philosophical soul. Now I’m not saying that there will never come a day when we say, “We really need to get into this space and we’re not really pros at this, so let’s go find somebody.” But to me, just adding $500 million of assets, that’s not a reason to merge or partner with anybody.
REP.: How does your background in estate planning impact Creative Planning’s approach?
PM: I think so many advisors are caught up in finding the one investment that is 1 percent or 2 percent better than the next one. Now if you’re talking about someone with a seven- to eight-figure account, that’s a little fancier. It’s really more about taxes then, whether it’s capital gains or income or estate taxes. I just don’t think a lot of advisors really get into all of that. They’re really focused on what the percentage gain is year-to-date, and don't care about the ramifications.