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Mindy Diamond on Independence: Why a $5B UBS Breakaway Team Set Out to Build the 'Boutique Firm of the Future'

Rob Sechan, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, NewEdge Wealth, shares his journey to independence.


Everything starts with a vision.

In the early stages, it might be an idea that forms as a result of an experience, and over time it becomes more tangible.

An image that is molded, nurtured and translated until it becomes something real.

It’s how many of the greatest business ideas have come to fruition. And very much how it came to pass for Rob Sechan and his partner Jeff Kobernick.

Because while at UBS, Rob and Jeff built an amazing business with nearly $5 billion in assets under advisement. And one would think that a team that size certainly has an “all-access pass” to anything UBS might have available for them to serve their ultra-high net worth clients.

But as Rob shares, client service became increasingly difficult as UBS transitioned from what he describes as “an enabler to risk mitigator.”

When it no longer felt like they could offer unlimited and unconflicted advice to their clients, it was time to explore ways in which they could. Yet in their exploration, they couldn’t find an option that aligned with their vision of a better way to serve their clients.

That is, a firm designed for ultra-high net worth clients—a conflict-free environment where advisors can become a customer of the Street with access the whole of market and all possible investment solutions. Plus, they expected the highest level of safety and stability, and the very best of technology, along with a community of like-minded individuals who have a shared desire to build something bigger than themselves.

So they built what they felt would bridge the gap in offerings and in December 2020, RIA firm NewEdge Wealth was launched.

In this episode, Rob shares the journey that he and Jeff took, along with fellow UBS veterans Walter Granruth and John Strauss Jr. The conversation delves into:

  • The mega-business that he and Jeff built at UBS—and how changes at the firm over time impacted their ability to serve clients.
  • The options they considered through due diligence—and why they felt there wasn’t one specific model or firm that aligned with their goals.
  • The stellar team they assembled at NewEdge—and how partner EdgeCo Holdings adds value, stability, technology and talent to round out the vision.
  • The specific gaps that NewEdge fills—and why he sees this as the “boutique firm of the future.”

Yet it’s the advice that Rob shares that will continue to ring true whether you’re considering a move or not: “Exploration is mandatory if you want to remain competitive.”

It’s an interview that explores how a vision turns into a reality—and ultimately results in the birth of a unique model in an evolving sea of options.

Download a transcript of this episode…

Listen to the podcast

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

Mindy Diamond is CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, N.J., a nationally recognized boutique search and consulting firm in the financial services industry.

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