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Mindy Diamond on Independence: From Knocking on Doors to Building a $2B Independent Enterprise

A conversation with Jim DeCota, President & Principal of Enso Wealth Management, on his success after breaking away from Edward Jones.



There’s much to be said for a strong culture.

It typically serves as the main distinction between firms and, for many advisors, is credited with fostering growth through an ethos and community that they feel well-aligned with.

Take Jim DeCota, for example. His journey in wealth management started after opting out of a career in accounting and joining the financial advisor training program at Edward Jones.

It was 2003, and he could have easily chosen one of the big wirehouse training programs, but he felt Ed Jones was a better match for his entrepreneurial nature.

Jim built his business by knocking on doors – literally – cold-calling and networking within his community.

And he was growing, ultimately to $85mm in assets under management at the firm.

But much like many independent-minded advisors we speak with, he felt like he was outgrowing the model and wanted more autonomy.

So in 2014, he left Jones to launch RIA DeCota Wealth Management, which would become Enso Wealth Management in 2016—a firm that today manages some $2B in assets.

In this episode, Jim shares his story with Louis Diamond, including:

  • The strong culture Jim experienced in his early days at Ed Jones—and how it became less fraternal and more competitive over time.
  • Building a nascent practice at the firm—and why Jim chose to break away after 11 years.
  • The concerns over legal repercussions after his departure from Ed Jones—and how that impacted his transition process.
  • The choice to build an RIA firm from scratch—and why he felt that path was the right one vs. joining another firm.
  • The unique recruiting model he built at Enso—and how it differs from other platforms.
  • Plus, Jim discusses what he describes as “Independence 3.0”—and how he sees that as driving competition in the independent space.

As Jim shared, he really wanted to be a “business owner” and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the business owner clients he was working with and the prospects he was speaking to—a vision he could only realize outside the confines of Ed Jones.

It’s a story for any advisor who may be feeling that they’ve “outgrown” their current firm with practical takeaways on how best to resolve those feelings. And even more so, a deft narrative around achieving extraordinary growth.

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