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Mindy Diamond on Independence: How Janney Montgomery Scott Built a $135B Firm

Jerry Lombard, president of Janney’s Private Client Group, talks about the regional firm’s exponential growth over recent years, and how its unique balance of freedom and flexibility makes the employee model an attractive alternative for advisors looking beyond the wirehouses but who see independence as a bridge too far.


The notion of independence means different things to different advisors. For some, it’s about building their own RIA firm brick by brick, while others look to create their own independent business with turnkey support from a broker/dealer.

But independence is not just a destination for “breakaways.” Independence has come to represent a mindset—the desire for greater freedom and flexibility—“acting” like a business owner without actually taking on the task of being one.

And it’s that very desire that even some of the industry’s oldest firms are looking to fulfill. For example, Janney Montgomery Scott has roots dating back to 1832. The firm even once held the second-oldest seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

Yet it’s their Private Client Group that’s making waves in the wealth management industry.

The Janney as we know it today is a privately held firm—an independent subsidiary of Penn Mutual Life Insurance—that’s become an attractive landing spot for top advisors who are looking for a more flexible approach to serving clients.

So much so that, as of this recording, the firm has amassed $135 billion in assets under advisement and has a footprint across 21 states served by over 850 advisors.

It’s a business that has grown exponentially over nearly two decades, sparked by the leadership of President Jerry Lombard—the guest on this episode.

Jerry joined the firm in 1983 as a financial advisor trainee at its Philadelphia headquarters. This top-producing advisor worked his way up the corporate ladder to become the president of the Private Client Group, striving to grow the firm’s fee-based business.

In this episode, Jerry shares the Janney story and unique value proposition with Mindy Diamond, including:

  • The firm’s ability to remain relevant in a landscape replete with options—and how their roots dating back to 1832 help to define Janney’s culture;
  • Their recent recruiting tear—and what it is about Janney that advisors find so attractive;
  • The role of Penn Mutual—and what benefits they bring to the table; and
  • The firm’s competition, including other regional and boutique firms—and why advisors might choose Janney over independence.

Plus, Jerry offers specific examples of top teams who recently joined the firm and the success they’re seeing—and much more.

Firms like Janney have been the recipient of so much great talent because they are answering a common call from advisors. That is, “Just give us the tools and control we need to serve our clients free of conflict and without being tied to a big firm agenda.” And based on the firm’s growth, Janney is hearing the call loud and clear.

It’s an episode that provides an insider’s perspective of another viable option in a growing landscape.

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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