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Mindy Diamond on Independence: Two Perspectives on Private Equity and RIAs

Mark Copeland, founder of Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, and Ben Prigal, vice president of Reverence Capital Partners, discuss the value of partnership between private equity and RIAs.

Why should an advisor who is not actively considering a sale or capital partner care about private equity in the RIA space? Because, like it or not, private equity is here to stay. It’s not merely some trend or fad: it represents a paradigm shift in the industry that will shape the growth (and consolidation) of wealth management firms for years to come.

Unsurprisingly, the independent space has become a treasure trove for private equity firms—and for several good reasons.

  • RIAs and private equity firms share a common goal: A focus on growth.
  • RIAs are a great investment: They have high profit margins, consistent cash flow, and low capital needs.
  • And ideally, private equity firms and the RIAs they invest in tend to work in partnership: A real value-add for the RIAs, which can benefit from the expanded business knowledge these firms bring to the table.

In the case of Signature Estate & Investment Advisors (or SEIA), the $19B RIA firm headquartered in Los Angeles and with offices across the country, their growth was attributed almost solely to organic means ever since their founding in 1997. Yet their vision was to expand via inorganic growth and attract other like-minded advisors to become a part of their extraordinary firm.

That’s where private equity firm Reverence Capital Partners came in. Focused on investing in the financial services space, they see their relationships as strategic partnerships designed to foster growth.

While some independent firm owners still bristle at the thought of selling a piece of their business, Mark Copeland, founding partner of SEIA, sees it much differently, as he discusses in this episode.

In Reverence Capital, he saw a partner with a shared vision and the capital that would allow them to focus on achieving their vision for SEIA.

Likewise, Ben Prigal, Vice President at PE firm Reverence Capital, offers a similar perspective. In SEIA, they saw a partner with an outstanding business, a strong management team, and substantial growth opportunities.

Together, they share both sides of the capital partnership story on this special episode with Louis Diamond, including:

  • SEIA’s vision—and they identified Reverence as the right partner to achieve their goals.
  • Growth and succession strategies—and how a private equity firm’s investment can benefit an RIA.
  • Looking beyond capital—and how a private equity firm can provide additional value to the independent firm.
  • Identifying the right partners—and how both an RIA and private equity firm view a good fit.

The episode provides two interesting perspectives on achieving growth and offers valuable advice on deciding when or if selling a portion of the business is the right path to take.

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