There’s a trend that’s been on the rise and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon: The drive toward independence led by the successors of multi-generational teams.
Because as senior partners get closer to making the decision of whether or not to sign onto their firms’ retire-in-place programs, next gen leaders are in the background looking at options that could provide a better future with greater freedom and control over how they serve clients and build their businesses.
And that same freedom and control extends to considering how the senior partners want to live the rest of their business lives.
The guest on this episode, Bryan Garris, is a next gen who found himself in that very position.
Bryan literally grew up in the business. As a child, he played in the Dean Witter office where his grandfather once worked, and his father Nick Garris and partner Orlo Elfes started building their practice.
Just out of college, Bryan joined Nick and Orlo at Morgan Stanley and in 2008 the team moved to UBS.
A decade or so later, Bryan started listening to this podcast, as well as those of Michael Kitces and others, and began questioning the value they were receiving from UBS—something he characterizes as a “misalignment” of the bank’s priorities with their own.
Bryan wanted what he was finding other independent advisors had: The freedom and control to serve clients and not have to worry about selling products or obligations to the bank. He wanted true open architecture and the ability to market and build their brand.
Ultimately, Bryan wanted to be a true fiduciary—and he could never see that as a possibility as employees in the brokerage world.
But with two partners who had far less of a runway meant getting them on board with the vision he saw for their business as an independent firm.
Yet it turned out to be a far easier sell than he expected.
In May of 2020, the team, then managing $330mm in assets, left UBS to form TriaGen Wealth Management in Calabasas, CA, with transition support from TruClarity Management Solutions.
Bryan talks candidly with Mindy about what motivated him to start “armchair exploration,” including:
- The drivers that made him investigate options outside of UBS—and why he felt independence was right for them.
- The conversations he had with his senior partners about their future—and how going independent could impact each member of this multi-generational team.
- The decision to pass on UBS’s ALFA program—and how they solved for Nick and Orlo’s ability to monetize their life’s work upon retirement.
- The challenges a next gen advisor faces when trying to establish their role in the business—and what Bryan did to ensure he was “carving his own path.”
- The “misalignment” with the firm that he and the team felt—and how that impacted their ability to serve clients as fiduciaries.
- The choice to work with TruClarity—and what Bryan saw as their value in the due diligence and transition processes and beyond.
As Bryan learned more about what others like him were able to achieve in independence, he wondered, “Why not us?” It was that threshold moment that gave him the courage to build a clear vision for their future and a path to achieve it as TriaGen Wealth Management.
It’s a great story that shares how the next gen is leading change—not only in individual practices, but in the wealth management industry at large.