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A Best-of-All-Worlds Model: Full-Service Independence with Equity Upside

A Conversation with Jim Gold, CEO and Founding Partner of Steward Partners

With over two decades in the wealth management industry, Jim Gold watched “the quality of life erode dramatically” at the wirehouse and felt that the window of opportunity to build something better was open. So in 2013, he left the senior leadership ranks at Morgan Stanley and along with several others built Steward Partners as a “reaction to the cultural shift inside of the traditional firms,” and with a nod to the best of “the old Wall Street model of a partnership.”

A full-service independent employee-owned partnership, Steward is designed for advisors who like what independence stands for yet are not interested in building something from scratch. And this quasi-independent model – with the infrastructure of a wirehouse and the flexibility of independence – is resonating with prospective breakaways all over the country.

The firm has experienced explosive growth and is accelerating its trajectory: Just as this episode launched, Steward announced that it is taking in outside capital for the first time in order to facilitate expansion. Jim shares some inside baseball on that decision, as well as how he sees it impacting the firm’s future.

Jim and Mindy discuss:

  • What really inspired him to make the leap to independence—and why he feels that advisor movement is driven not by changes at a particular brokerage firm but by changes to the brokerage model overall.
  • Why Steward is described as a “best of all worlds” environment—and the types of advisors who are the right fit for the firm’s culture and community.
  • The benefits of their employee-owned partnership model—and the role equity plays in it.
  • Why they chose Raymond James as a partner—and the resources the firm brings to the table.
  • How the value of equity has changed in the industry—and why advisors are now opting for less cash up front in return for the opportunity to build wealth through equity.
  • Why he thinks that we are still in the early innings of the movement to independence—for both advisors and management.

Jim candidly shares his experience with a good dose of reality and provides sage advice for advisors considering independence: “You have to shed all your preconceived notions because the world has changed dramatically in the last five to 10 years.”

Listen in to learn more about how those changes are creating opportunities for advisors at all levels.

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