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Mindy Diamond on Independence: A Rare Glimpse into the Culture, Cachet and Success of First Republic

A conversation with Robert Thornton, Executive Vice President & President of First Republic Private Wealth Management.


This is a story that truly exemplifies how much the wealth management landscape—and advisor mindset—has changed in recent years.

Because even in a world where “choice” has become the new norm, there are only a few firms that have captured the attention of advisors like First Republic Private Wealth Management.

First Republic Robert ThortonIn this rare interview, Robert “Bob” Thornton, Executive Vice President and President of First Republic Private Wealth Management, joins the show to talk about their remarkable success.

The firm has gained incredible traction over the last decade, which kicked off in 2010 when Bob was tasked to transform the wealth management unit into a major player.

And they did so in a really big way!

Since then, First Republic’s private wealth management unit has grown from $14.5 billion under management to more than $190 billion today—making it one of the largest corporate RIAs in the country with more than 200 advisors under its umbrella.

In 2020 alone, First Republic recruited 8 mega-teams representing a total of $19 billion in assets—with top talent from Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Private Bank and Goldman Sachs. And 2021 kicked off with the onboarding of a large Citigroup team managing nearly $3 billion in assets.

And speaking of talent, when Bob joined the firm in 2004, he brought with him 20 years of experience in senior roles at Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.

Incredible as it all sounds, what’s really extraordinary is this: Top advisors are quite discerning and a tough lot. To get them to move at all is exceptional, but to get them to move to a bank—and one that is lesser known than the biggest brand names—makes the story even more remarkable.

In this episode, Bob and Mindy explore…

  • The key differentiators of First Republic as a bank and private wealth management firm—and how the unique synergies between the two are the basis for their success.
  • The role of “culture” in their value proposition—and how entrepreneurialism and community effectively blend within the corporate structure.
  • The “real referral mechanism” between bankers and wealth managers—and how advisors who joined have benefited by way of extraordinary growth.
  • And ultimately, how a boutique wealth management unit can successfully satisfy the desire for the freedom of independence with the support and infrastructure of a major firm.

It’s a unique opportunity to hear, firsthand, from the leader of a firm known to maintain a low profile when it comes to being in the media—and get Bob’s perspective of what First Republic is doing to make it such a stand-out amongst advisors and the wealth management community at large.

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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