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Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Former $750M UBS Advisor’s 'Split' for Independence

Robert Harris tells Louis Diamond what led him to break up his team at UBS and choose independence instead.


Many top teams are built on synergistic dynamics—where one advisor’s talents are complemented by another’s. These partnerships can provide the shared expertise that results in better service for clients and greater success for the business overall.

But, like any relationship, there often comes a point where partners may find themselves on different pages. And it’s particularly common when considering the future of the business.

That is, one may feel that the firm no longer serves them and it’s time to consider other options, while the other is content, with no desire for change.

It’s at that point where some reach an impasse that can only be resolved by breaking up the team to go their separate ways.

And the very scenario Robert Harris found himself in.

Having built a strong business at UBS over more than two decades, Robert started questioning the status quo and decisions that the firm was making—which made him wonder what value they were ultimately receiving.

But his partner didn’t share those feelings.

After an intensive due diligence process, and a lot of introspection, Robert made the difficult decision to break up the team to pursue what he felt was best for his high net worth clients and the business overall.

So in September 2019, he joined Avidian Wealth Solutions (formerly STA Wealth).

Robert candidly shares his story with Louis Diamond, including:

  • The value of a partnership to both the clients and business—and how they are challenged when individuals find themselves with disparate visions and goals.
  • The potential impact of retire-in-place-programs (such as UBS’s ALFA) on team members at different phases of their careers—and what each advisor needs to think about when a partner is considering signing on.
  • The process one goes through when breaking up a team—and how Robert resolved that, both emotionally and financially.
  • The pushes and pulls that led Robert away from UBS—and how, after exploring different options, he was drawn to independence.

It’s certainly not easy to break up a partnership—particularly when strong feelings have developed over years of building a successful business together. But when the partners have different visions for the firm, it can be difficult to find a single path that will satisfy both.

As Robert candidly shares, it ultimately comes down to being honest with yourself and doing what’s best for the clients overall.

It’s an episode that will resonate with anyone who is currently in a partner or team construct—or considering one.

Download a transcript of this episode…

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Listen to more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change.

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