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Diamond Podcast for Financial Advisors: How NorthRock Built a $6B+ Firm By Listening to Clients

NorthRock Partners CEO and founder Rob Nelson shares his formula for mastering excellence and creating a superstar enterprise

This episode is fueled by the perspective of hindsight, which provides a unique lens into the growth trajectory of an RIA.

Five years ago, Rob Nelson joined us on this series to talk about his business model, which “organically evolved,” as he put it, to serve a high net worth client base of professional athletes, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and philanthropists.

Rob built the foundation of his practice at Ameriprise and its predecessors in 1993, and later transitioned from the broker dealer to become a fully independent RIA in 2013.

Rob and his team embraced an expansive list of services, many growing out of specific client needs and requests. In short order, they had created a firm that touted specifically tailored offerings—even a separate firm focused solely on philanthropic efforts.

NorthRock’s early success attracted an equity investment from Emigrant Partners and, more recently, insurance holding company Sammons Financial Group.

From 2019 to today, NorthRock grew from $1.9B to over $6B, with over 150 employees and 7 locations. Plus, Rob is set on doubling the business over the next two years.

The fact that they grew so rapidly isn’t the real story here—it’s how they did it.

In this episode, Mindy Diamond revisits Rob’s journey, discussing how they got from there to here, including:

  • The NorthRock formula for success—and how their strategies can be leveraged as a blueprint to turbocharge growth.
  • Their extraordinary client base—and what specific needs NorthRock addresses for them.
  • The value of partnerships—and how Sammons Financial Group plays into their future goals.
  • The role of “excellence”—and why that’s a critical part of their work with clients and the NorthRock team’s path forward.

Plus, Rob talks about their partnerships, M&A, philanthropy, and their plans for future growth. It’s an episode that looks at a timeline of success, with key takeaways for wirehouse advisors, business owners, and everyone in between.

Download a transcript of this episode…

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