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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Margaret Dechant on Breaking Away to Full Independence

Margaret Dechant, CEO of 6 Meridian, explains the reasoning behind the firm's decision to go fully independent instead of using one of the popular breakaway broker support platforms.


FAS-Ep-238-Margaret-Dechant-02-768x768.pngWelcome back to the 238th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today's podcast is Margaret Dechant. Margaret is the CEO of 6 Meridian, a hybrid-RIA located in Wichita, Kansas, that has $3 billion in assets under advisement, serving 700 clients.

What's unique about Margaret, though, is that, in 2016, she and her partners broke away from a very lucrative practice at Morgan Stanley to go fully independent, and rather than use one of the popular breakaway broker support platforms, decided to launch their own firm entirely from scratch in order to build the business exactly the way they wanted.

In this episode, we talk in depth about what it was that Margaret and her partners wanted to be able to offer their clients and their team members that they weren’t able to accomplish within a wirehouse, the circumstances leading up to Margaret and her partners deciding to break away, including the realization that, despite investing heavily into their own brand and acting as a stand-alone unit within Morgan Stanley, all the work they were doing within the wirehouse wasn’t truly their own (and instead was considered Morgan Stanley's “work product”), and the decision-making process that Margaret went through when figuring out what the business they wanted to build actually would look like (rather than simply trying to find the best recruiting offer from any number of competitors).

We also talk about why Margaret and her team ultimately opted to go fully independent, divvying up the tasks amongst themselves to launch their new firm from scratch (rather than leveraging the services of a turnkey service platform provider), the tax alpha reasoning that Margaret and her partners decided to actually launch their own family of ETFs for their clients last year, and how Margaret’s focus on reducing the number of centers of influence they sought referrals from and, instead, nurturing deeper relationships with just a few of them who had already provided referrals to 6 Meridian has helped the firm bring in increasingly larger and more complex clients.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Margaret shares some of the lessons she’s learned from being in the business for over 30 years, including the benefit of focusing her own mental energy on only the things that she can control, Margaret’s efforts towards recruiting and developing younger advisors in order to build 6 Meridian into a multigenerational firm, and the additional service offerings that Margaret is exploring as a way to provide even more value to her clients in the future.

So whether you’re interested in the thinking behind Margaret and her team’s decision to break away from the wirehouse model, why they decided not to leverage a turnkey platform when launching 6 Meridian, or the services she wanted to roll out to her clients when creating their own family of ETFs, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Margaret Dechant.

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TAGS: Careers ETFs
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