Ron Carson, long the No. 1 on REP.’s Top 100 IBD advisor list, has launched a platform that allows other advisors to access his investment strategies. Through Carson Institutional Advisory (CIA), as it’s called, Carson will manage advisors’ client money, and count their assets in his own AUM.
Two FAs have signed on so far—Scott Ford of Cornerstone Wealth Management and Michael David of Pinnacle Financial Group—taking Carson’s asset count from $3.2 billion to $3.4 billion. A third FA is currently being processed. Carson believes the program could bring in $5 billion of net new assets into the strategy next year.
Advisors who sign on with CIA will co-brand with Carson Wealth Management Group, Carson’s RIA firm. The partnership will give advisors access to Carson’s eight investment strategies, as well as the firm’s analysts, morning research calls, research reports, and trade notifications. These can be accessed through Carson Wealth’s iPad application or on the web.
If advisors want a higher level of support, they can sign up for marketing support, public relations and media outreach, and business development support.
Carson is not the first advisor to launch such an initiative. In 2008, Ric Edelman rolled out the Edelman Financial Network. Advisors could apply to be part of the network and get access to Edelman’s investment platform—the Edelman Managed Asset Program.
It will cost advisors anywhere from 45 to 65 basis points to run the investment strategies, Carson said. But there’s a strict vetting process. Advisors who want to partner up with Carson must have at least $20 million in AUM, fulfill a client bill of rights that Carson has established, and adhere to a code of ethics.
“Advisors are struggling with being squeezed from the bottom-up,” Carson said. “Clients are demanding more services, requires more people, requires more expertise. They have a tough time doing that.”
Carson said he’s not trying to move in the direction of an aggregator such as HighTower or United Capital. Unlike the aggregators, advisors keep their brand name and ownership of the firm under his program.
Rather than a move to become an aggregator, Chip Roame, managing partner at Tiburon Strategic Adivsors, sees the move as a way for Carson to expand his brand nationwide. Roame believes Carson Wealth would act more as a turnkey asset management program.
“I see this as a continuing trend towards middleware between financial advisors and custodians/broker/dealers, Roame said. “These interim firms, TAMPs, aggregators, and others like this, play some of the roles of the FAs and the back-office providers.”
There’s also a built-in succession plan if advisors want it. If an advisor decides to exit the business, the investment strategy won’t change, and Carson will buy their business from them if they want.