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Mindy Diamond on Independence: Embracing the Value of Private Equity and Interdependence

A conversation with Michael Nathanson, CEO and Chair, The Colony Group.


“Interdependence” is an interesting word—particularly when used in the context of the independent space.

Because for many, the thought of starting an independent practice conjures visuals of being more solitary and self-dependent.

Yet for Michael Nathanson, the notion of interdependence is one that fostered the growth of RIA The Colony Group.

It’s a philosophy that revolves around embracing partnerships and the merging of ideas, experiences, and expertise. And it extends to providing anything and everything their clients need in a multi-family office construct.

And it’s that very philosophy that fueled the firm’s growth from $1.2B to some $20B in assets under management in just over a decade.

In his previous life, Michael was a Senior Partner at the international law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP when he was first introduced to The Colony Group. In 2004, he resigned his role at the law firm to “take a chance to do something different,” as he put it, opting to become The Colony Group’s CFO and General Counsel. Michael quickly advanced to President and CEO of the firm, and now serves as Chair and CEO.

So how does a former attorney become such a driving force behind the culture and vision of an independent wealth management firm?

In this episode, Michael shares his journey with Mindy Diamond, including:

  • The Colony Group’s extraordinary growth—and how the concept of “interdependence” turns their mission into a reality.
  • The real value of equity partners—and why they chose Focus Financial over others.
  • Key aspects of the firm’s acquisition strategy—and how their unique culture and family office services are attractive selling points.
  • The “curated” services they offer high net worth clients—and how “democratizing” access to services once available to only ultra-high net worth clients is a cornerstone of their success.

Michael offers a unique perspective on a changing landscape and why “focusing on what made our industry great in the first place, which is independence and being fiduciaries in putting our clients first,” is the key to success. There’s a lot to learn in this episode, for employee advisors and business owners alike.

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