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An Investment Banker’s Perspective on Building an RIA Firm for Maximum Value

Liz Nesvold of Silver Lane Advisors discusses what it means to build your business with the end in mind—and why it’s one of the most critical directives an RIA firm owner should follow.


For many advisors, the choice to build an independent firm over other available options—from remaining a captive employee on through to joining an existing registered investment advisory firm—is typically rooted in having a strong entrepreneurial nature and desire to create equity and value in the longer term. Yet, the latter is where many business owners get stuck.

How do you build an independent firm designed to achieve a goal of maximizing enterprise value?

As founder and managing partner of Silver Lane Advisors, the investment bank behind the legendary First Republic acquisition of Luminous Capital and host of other headline-making deals, Liz Nesvold is well-positioned to provide solid advice on the topic.

Liz shares some insights on what it really takes to set up your RIA firm for success, as she and Mindy discuss:

  • What differentiates a business from a practice.
  • When it makes sense for a firm to raise debt financing over selling equity—and how it impacts enterprise value.
  • How service providers have influenced the growth of the independent space, as well as their intrinsic value to firms.
  • What key attributes make a firm attractive to potential acquirers.
  • Who the most active buyers are and how this list has changed over the past few years.
  • What can be expected in the way of M&A activity over the next 5 to 10 years.
  • And ultimately, what it means to build your firm with the end in mind—and why it’s one of the most critical directives a business owner should follow.

Based on the options, support and growing appetite for M&As: “This is the greatest opportunity for going independent that we’ve seen in the last 25 years,” Liz shares.

It’s an episode for those considering the independent space and seeking a better understanding of the long-term opportunities, as well as current firm owners who have their sights set on maximizing their firm’s potential.

Listen to the podcast.

Browse more episodes in this podcast series ... 

Mindy Diamond is President and CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, N.J., a nationally recognized boutique search and consulting firm in the financial services industry.

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