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Mindy Diamond on Independence: From Insurance Sales to $8B RIA: A Northwestern Mutual Breakaway Story

A conversation with Andy Schwartz, principal, Bleakley Financial Group.

 

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As a college student selling insurance, Andy Schwartz didn’t envision that someday he’d be at the helm of an $8B RIA—but he did know he was on to something.

Growing up in a lower-middle-class family in New Jersey that didn’t “have much” but worked hard for all that they did have, Andy learned early on that success isn’t necessarily about “where you go to college or where you grow up.”

Andy went from selling just insurance at Northwestern Mutual to managing $3.5B in assets as the leader of one of the largest groups at the firm. After nearly three decades, he and the team left Northwestern in 2014 to go fully independent as Bleakley Financial Group.

Today, Bleakley has $8B in assets under management, and Andy, a $10 million-plus revenue producer, has been recognized by Forbes, Barron’s and the Financial Times as one of the industry’s top advisors.

In this episode, he shares his incredible journey with Louis Diamond—a narrative that exemplifies how hard work and determination can lead to good fortune. They discuss:

  • How he came to the realization that he could do more for clients than just insurance—and how that thinking transformed to the investments and planning business he later built.
  • When he decided to break from Northwestern Mutual—and how the limitations of working for an insurance-focused broker/dealer impacted his team’s ability to serve clients.
  • How the firm has grown from $3B to $8B since going independent—and what he credits for that extraordinary growth.
  • Why Bleakley opted to become a hybrid RIA firm—and what he sees as the benefits of being multicustodial.
  • What an advisor needs to consider prior to making the leap to independence—and how setting your ego aside to fully understand your skill set is key to identifying your path.
  • Why an advisor would opt to join Bleakley or a similar platform model—and how it compares with affiliating directly with a broker/dealer.
  • Why he remains an advisor versus transitioning to a full-time CEO—and how that decision has impacted the success of the firm.

In all that Andy shares in this episode there is one message that resonates throughout: Being thoughtful in your decisions and focusing on the long term are key to guiding success.

It’s a unique spin on business growth that has relevant takeaways for every advisor.

Download a transcript of this episode …

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