Terri Kallsen, who stepped down from her role as chief operating officer of RIA Wealth Enhancement Group in July, has joined Rise Growth Partners, Joe Duran’s new company set to launch in early 2024, as managing partner and senior operating advisor.
Last month, Duran, who sold his company, United Capital, to Goldman Sachs in 2019, revealed details about his new venture, which will acquire a roughly 30% stake in next generation RIAs with between $750 million and $5 billion in AUM. In exchange, Rise Growth will provide growth capital and resources to help them become national RIA platforms with $10 billion or more in assets.
Duran and his team will provide each RIA with an “enterprise risk assessment,” a report identifying gaps in their business and measure them across three key areas: business management, which encompasses the service model, leadership and how the RIA tracks and measures results; the enterprise platform, meaning the technology used for clients and advisors and the back-office; and the growth strategy—both organic and inorganic.
“My role will be working as a chairperson of their board with their CEO and aligning the strategy, aligning the vision to address the assessment and then setting that roadmap out and then working with them, with the resources at Rise as well as other areas, to help them hit those quarterly, annual and three-to-five-year KPIs (key performance indicators),” Kallsen said.
She’s currently building out her own team to help her do just that.
Rise Growth Partners expects to launch in the first quarter of 2024 with at least two RIA firms, then expand to at least six firms through the year, Kallsen said.
The team is in New York this week, speaking with several private equity firms interested in investing in Duran’s company.
“We’re spending five full days working with PE firms, to really show the plan, the innovation, the expected key performance indicators, and trying to find the right PE partner to then share this investment for the kickoff and first quarter,” Kallsen said.
Kallsen said after a 30-year career working with entrepreneurs, she felt like it was time to join an entrepreneurial organization herself. Prior to WEG, Kallsen spent seven years at Charles Schwab, most recently as executive vice president of investor services, where she oversaw 7,000 employees and $1.6 trillion in assets. Before that, she was president, wealth management at USAA.
She joined WEG in 2020, with the goal of building out the firm’s infrastructure in preparation for growth.
“During that time, I got to be a part of the acquisition process and the organic growth process that WEG created from $19 billion to about $65 billion in about three years,” she said. “During that time, I worked with entrepreneurs. I helped set up the infrastructure, the tech stack, the process. A lot of their client service procedures—we worked on as a team at Wealth Enhancement Group. And I saw how they were serving their clients in such innovative ways and such caring ways.
“I now after 30 years, I get to be a part of this entrepreneur, this spirit of innovation, the spirit of doing what’s right for clients,” she said.
This year, Kallsen felt she had accomplished her goals at WEG, and her departure was amicable.
“Jeff really didn’t feel like he needed a COO anymore because he had the infrastructure," she said. "And I actually wanted to do something more entrepreneur.”
Kallsen said Rise Growth Partners will continue to add senior level executive positions to support HR, finance, marketing and technology.
“We’re going to be building a very innovative tech stack to be able to support these offices through artificial intelligence, so that’s going to require people at that level of experience,” she said.
That tech stack won’t be available to RIAs on day one, but the firm will build it out over time as an option for companies on the platform.
“What’s so unique about Rise Growth and Joe’s vision here is that, these RIAs don’t have to give up full control," Kallsen said. "They still have their name on the door; they still get to lead the process; we’re there to help support and coach and provide resources and expertise. This is the model—we bring the expertise and the funding—but the current CEO and executive team still get to manage the business, which is so different than some of the other organizations I’ve worked for when it’s full-blown acquisition.”