Institutional consulting is a specialty within the wealth management industry focused on advising corporate, foundation, endowment and retirement plan clients. It’s a business area that’s often well served by large firms such as Morgan Stanley’s Graystone Consulting, Merrill or UBS—which typically have the advantage of a well-known name and a solid platform.
Yet much like private wealth, institutional clients have come to want more from their advisors—services beyond what might be offered by a brokerage firm.
Such was the case with Phil Fiore. He started building his practice at Prudential Securities in the 1990s, moved to Merrill in 2005, then on to UBS in 2009. He and his team, FDG Institutional Consulting Group, built a strong business with more than $8 billion in institutional assets and $400 million in private client assets.
Yet it was in 2017 when Phil and his partners decided that working for a large firm limited their ability to grow and offer more to their clients. They had a desire to expand their footprint and their services—neither of which they could achieve at UBS.
So Phil and his team opted to make the leap to independence, launching Procyon Partners with Dynasty Financial Partners.
In this episode with Louis Diamond, Phil looks back over his journey and the first five years as an independent business owner, including:
- The move from Merrill to UBS—and how that compared with their choice to ultimately opt for independence.
- Transitioning the business—and what differences they realized in converting their institutional clients vs. their private wealth clients.
- The unique requirements of institutional consulting—and what limitations prevented them from serving their clients optimally from in a wirehouse structure.
- The breadth of opportunity they realized in independence—and how that fostered growth for their institutional business as well as their private wealth services.
- Plus, Procyon’s extraordinary success in M&A—and how the firm has found a niche as a landing spot for RIAs looking to shed the day-to-day of running a business.
Often advisors, particularly those with primarily institutional clients, feel that they cannot better serve their clients in independence—and often feel stuck. But with an expanded independent ecosystem, advisors are now finding they can not only match the service they can give their clients but often improve upon it while expanding their business, as Phil and his team has.
It’s an eye-opening look at the real potential that exists—one with lessons for employee advisors and business owners alike.