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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Problem Solving With Lou Tranquilli

Lou Tranquilli details his journey through the financial advisory industry, from life insurance sales agent to broker/dealer to hybrid RIA and now an independent RIA.



Welcome back to the 137th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Lou Tranquilli. Lou is the founder of Tranquilli Financial Advisor, an independent RIA based in Clinton, NJ that oversees more than $100 million of assets under management for 110 clients. 

What’s unique about Lou, though, is the way his advisory firm has evolved over more than 25 years across every channel of the industry, having started out as a traditional life insurance sales agent, shifting to the broker-dealer model, then becoming a hybrid RIA, and now making one more recent transition to the independent RIA channel. 

In this episode, we talk in depth about how Lou structured his independent RIA as an experienced practitioner. From why he chose Trust Company of America as his custodian rather than one of the traditional big four custodians, the way he brought together an integrated technology stack built around his custodian, to how, despite criticisms that solo advisors will need more size and economies of scale to compete, the increased efficiency of technology to support his solo RIA over his prior broker-dealer actually allowed him to reduce his staff support and increase his profit margins after making the transition. 

We also talk about Lou’s journey through the industry itself, from starting out as a traditional life insurance agent in the 1990s and embracing the sales job, even making top of the table with MDRT, to deciding to walk away from the insurance sales job after a decade of tiring of the environment where, as Lou puts it, you’re out of business every minute you’re not calling somebody, and to walk away from his insurance renewals in order to transition to a recurring revenue AUM model that would allow him to focus more on serving existing clients. How Lou hired a marketing director to help him craft and then focus into a niche and triple his firm in under four years, and the way he sought out confidants and formed a study group to get ongoing feedback and guidance from peers on how to continue to refine his business. 

And be certain to listen to the end, where Lou explains how despite the fact that he’s always been focused on trying to help clients solve their problems, his own advice role and the services he provided were impacted and materially different as he switched from one industry channel to another.  

So whether you’re interested in learning about how Lou went independent and lauched his own RIA, how he outsources his staffing needs, or how a business development manager helped him grow, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast.

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