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Michael Kitces’ #FASuccess Podcast: The Scalable Delivery of Financial Advice with Ric Edelman

Ric Edelman delivers to Michael Kitces the truth about advisor-marketing and explains how he grew and scaled his business over time.

Welcome back to the 89th episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast.

This week’s guest is Ric Edelman. Ric is the founder and executive chairman of Edelman Financial Services, a mega-independent RIA with more than $22 billion of assets under management with 165 advisors serving 36,000 clients across 43 office locations from coast to coast. What’s unique about Ric, though, is that he started out like any other financial advisor, selling mutual funds in the 1980s as an individual advisor, doing financial education seminars to local elementary school PTA groups to meet prospective clients and just trying to survive. But in the 30 years since, Ric grew an advisory firm that far outgrew his own capacity to serve clients, ultimately building a marketing machine that brought in a whopping 45,000 prospects to the firm last year alone.

In this episode, we talk in-depth about how Ric grew and scaled Edelman Financial over time: How they’ve been able to build a $22 billion firm while staying focused squarely on the mass affluent and not increasing their asset minimums, why Ric is adamant about keeping the firm’s minimums as low as $5,000 for a new client, how the firm successfully justifies a fee schedule that still starts at 2 percent AUM fee, and why he considers it the firm’s job to bring in new clients and to simply service those clients rather than being burdened with the time and effort of getting their own.

We also talk about how Ric scaled and evolved the marketing of the firm over the years. From starting out conducting seminars to local PTA groups then getting a guest spot on a radio show that ultimately turned into a radio show of his own, which led him to writing a book, followed by eight more, and now is expanding digitally as well, all with the theme of providing free financial education to those who need it, and recognizing that many will simply be helped with the information, but a few will inevitably reach out to the firm to ask for help and become prospects in the process.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Ric talks about how he would build his marketing differently if he were starting fresh today, why he sees such an opportunity with Edelman Financial’s merger with Financial Engines, and why he believes that most advisors are still grossly underestimating how much the best advice for clients and the advisory business itself will change in the coming decades as medical advances materially increase the typical client’s life expectancy.

So whether you’re interested in learning about how Ric structures advisor compensation to encourage great client service, where advisors add the most value and why they’re typically unaware of it, or what Ric sees as the biggest changes for the planning profession in the coming years, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast.

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