Helping Advisors Through Every Step of Transition with Jaime Golden

​​Jaime Golden is president of Acquisitions at Kingswood U.S., and spends most of his time working with financial advisors who are considering or working through full or partial acquisitions of their firms.

In this episode of Power Your Advice, Doug Heikkinen and Jaime discuss trends Jaime is seeing for both rep movement and M&A in our industry.

  • Why might an advisor consider changing firms
  • The thought process advisors go through before making a change
  • What questions come up most in the process, and how Kingswood helps answer them
  • How Kingswood helps advisors who have plateaued achieve growth
  • What the biggest advantage is for advisors working with Kingswood

Resources: Kingswood U.S.

Related: Investment Banking Can Enhance Financial Advisors’ Value Propositions with Michael Nessim



Jamie Golden, Douglas Heikkinen

Douglas Heikkinen  00:03

Hello and welcome to the Power Your Advice podcast. The power your advice podcast is designed to bring financial advisors new ideas, why those ideas should be considered and how to implement them into your business. This podcast is brought to you by Advisorpedia the best place advisors to grow comm to to grow their minds and businesses. . .

This is your host, Doug Heikkinen. You know, there was a lot of rep movement in 2020. And we're seeing the same kind of movement happened this year. To get a pulse on this and more. We're being joined by Jamie Golden, who is the President of Acquisitions at Kingswood US. Welcome, Jamie.

Jamie Golden  00:40

Thank you very much. Glad to be here.

Douglas Heikkinen  00:42

How are things in New York? Before we get to all that? Is there any semblance of things heading back to towards normal?

Jamie Golden  00:50

I wouldn't say normal, but we are heading in that direction. Every day, I might go out for a cup of coffee. And I'm seeing about 15% of the people that back on the street. There's some street vendors, people selling pretzels. So I'm seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. But there's a long way back 15%.

Douglas Heikkinen  01:10

That doesn't seem like a lot of people, it still seems kind of like a ghost town?

Jamie Golden  01:13

Well, it's 15 more percent than zero, which is, which is where we're coming from.

Douglas Heikkinen  01:20

So it's progress. It's progress. Great. You're talking to a lot of reps and advisors all the time. What did you see on the recruiting landscape in 2020? Is that trend continuing this year.

Jamie Golden  01:35

So in 2020, it was obviously a very interesting year, and everyone was obviously just trying to figure out their next steps. Initially, advisors were hesitant to move with the pandemic, they were nervous to upset their clients are worried I'm in any way. So they kind of wanted to initially stay where they were, when they realized that one, the markets were not crashing, and two, they were able to manage their business as easily. From a technical technology standpoint, that they were prior to that pandemic, things started to really open up and people sort of got out there and went went to go after it. So after, you know, everybody realized that this was kind of the new normal for the near future. I think everybody dug in and decided it was to pick their head out of the water and start to make moves to better their business and to better their relationships with their clients.

Douglas Heikkinen  02:36

So, things picked up again. And is that trend continuing this year? I mean, what Gosh, we're already into March.

Jamie Golden  02:44

Yeah, it's almost a the years are sort of melding into one or rolling into one. So yes, there's been a lot of activity. People are, I'm finding a big trend towards independent advisors, I feel like in this environment, there's been a lot of consolidation. And the guy who, you know, built the business 20 years ago at an independent could wake up one day and find himself working at, you know, advisors group, or or LPL. And you know what, that's not what they signed up for, you know, these guys built businesses as an independent as entrepreneurs. And with all the consolidation within the industry, like I said, they wake up and all of a sudden, they're working for LPL, and they become part of this humongous bureaucracy. And I think they get a little jarred by that. And that's where we've seen a major flak to people saying, hey, wait, this is not what I signed up for. That's not what my clients signed up for. I need to get back to my roots, which roots, which is independent advisors.

Douglas Heikkinen  03:53

That's one of the reasons that advisors are making a move, are there any other initial things that makes advisors get a little itchy, and makes them want to consider making a move?

Jamie Golden  04:05

You know, it all sort of plays into one factor. So, you know, once they become part of these conglomerates, there's a number of factors that make them want to want number of factors that make them want to move, you know, as as I just stated, but additional that's, that's the main thing I'm seeing right now. You know, other than that you might have people are looking for new and better technology, obviously, that's another important point, as these advisors are working from home, you know, and it needs to be smooth, and they need to be able to aggregate all their assets and, you know, show a clear picture to their clients that's been more on the forefront than pre pandemic. I think technology also is definitely a big technology and ease is definitely a big factor as well.

Douglas Heikkinen  04:59

Once they do decide that they're going to dip their toe in the water and get serious talk about their thought process, what are the some of the stages they go through to get to the end?

Jamie Golden  05:09

I think it's similar to maybe walking down the aisle and getting getting married. I think there's definitely some excitement in the beginning, followed by some insane fear, followed by some, am I doing the right thing. And and it's, it's our job to sort of walk them through that process, and do some hand holding at that point, myself. As an advisor, I came up as an advisor, I've been through changes. So I get it. It's a nerve wracking time. I mean, you're you're uprooting your business, you got to, you know, sign a lot of paperwork for your clients. And it's, you know, you don't know how much retention you're going to have and, and what clients might just say, Hey, you know what, it's not worth it for me. So from start to finish, again, it's really just being organized on our end and hand holding them through each specific process of, you know, getting out of their old BD and into the new one, what the technology looks like, what support they're going to have from us, in order to transfer the whole business over. And ultimately, you know, getting them up and running and then supporting what they're trying to do. Which, by the way, is what Kingswood is very good at. We're very good at diversity in the sense that we don't just try and fit a square peg into a round circle, we understand. As I said, we all come we all were advisors, we understand, you know, each advisor is different. And we try to be as fluid and as we can to support each advisors needs because they're different. I mean, it's just a fact, you know?

Douglas Heikkinen  06:50

Yeah. And once they do marry you the paperwork is so extensive, divorcing as hard.

Jamie Golden  06:58

Divorcing is hard. Right? There's no doubt about that. I think you said it. You said it. Right. I can't, I can't disagree there.

Douglas Heikkinen  07:06

What are some of your questions that they ask? And what's the ones that you end up answering the most during this thing? during the process?

Jamie Golden  07:14

You know, the best questions they ask, you know, really, again, I run into a few major topics, which is compliance comply, when I say I think compliance being number one, and not that these guys are uncompliant. But the compliance has become such a major factor in this business, as it's gotten more and more and more and more regulated, that at times, it can sort of choke the life out of the choke the life out of advisors business, because they're spending so much time answering compliant questions that, you know, is as simple as can I send my client a birthday card, you know, it's not very advanced compliant questions, but they're spending so much time on that, that they really lose focus on their core, which is managing their assets and growing their assets. So what we try to do, again, is give them a place where they can, they don't need to get caught up on that and tripped up on that. And we try to streamline that and really give them the support so that that's what they can do. help them manage their clients assets as best as they can and help grow their businesses. That's our business. So our business is really supporting those advisors. And we get a lot of compliance questions, a lot of technology questions, and obviously a lot of payout. And is there any upfront money questions?

Douglas Heikkinen  08:41

And yeah, yes, let's try the money. We would all like to think that advisors are altruistic, that it's not about the money. It's about finding the right fit. Is that true? Or is it about the whole package?

Jamie Golden  08:52

I mean, I don't want any advisors to get mad at me if they hear this, but it's a really funny thing, because they come in going, it's not about the money. It's not about the money. It's not about the money. It's really about the fit, which it is about the Fed, and they're 100% correct. But then, you know, what, once you get through all the hurdles of Yes, we're the right fit, or you are the right fit for us, and we can do this and that and, and whatnot for you. It does, certainly the money does come around in a in a big way. And I get it. I mean, look, we're in the we're in the money business. So it makes sense. So I think it's a it's a balancing act. But but I do think, you know, I really think that what separates us from an LPL or an advisors group who, you know, might throw a ton of money at these guys up front, and then, you know, they got to pour through a 400 page contract and they're locked up for seven years and there's all types of bells and whistles they need to do in order to keep that money. I think they should be aware that at a certain point, it shouldn't be all about the money because I think that freedom and flexibility and ability to be an individual is worth a lot more than the extra, you know, 10%, you might be able to get from a wire house or a larger type of company. So it's something for them to really think about. And it's hard because as people dangle large sums of money in front of your face, it's hard to say no, but, you know, as entrepreneurs, I would urge everybody to really sit back and look at the whole picture as to what's the best next step for them? You know what I'm saying?

Douglas Heikkinen  10:32

I do. I imagine one of the types of advisors you see is ones that find themselves at a plateau. They just can't grow any more because the advisors doing too much they're small, is are there ways that Kingswood helps these advisors? Who are at that plateau reach new heights?

Jamie Golden  10:49

That's a great question. So yes, that's another thing we are very tuned into. And you're correct. That is a big issue. Another issue, why advisors, you know that their assets under management, get stale, they're just managing the same clients and they're not growing. So we have an internal recruiting team. I think we're up to about six guys from California to New York, where we're able to we have software we in we use here at Kingswood, we're we're able to really zero in on in advisors, particular area, so let's just say we hire a group out of Louisville, Kentucky, we can then from there, if they have a setup and an infrastructure, where there's a 24 there or there's an office there, well we can then do is we can put our recruiting team within a say 20 4050 mile radius of our osj is address and we can start recruiting advisors to that location. So we can build a bigger nucleolus and expand our Kingswood footprint, wow, expanding the advisors business. And in addition, I'm finding that, you know, there's a number of advisors that are I think, you know, in the range of 57 to 70, that are just looking for succession. So, you know, being our having our structure, we're able to finance these succession deals for the right advisor. So we can come in and play matchmaker and, you know, be the financial arm of these succession plans, and then hook the two advisors up, let's just say in Louisville, Kentucky, where, okay, this fellow here, he's got $50 million, he's, he's been in the business for 30 years, he's looking to retire in the next three to five. And he's looking for a buyout, a buyout and a smooth transfer after after that, and we can put those people together. And we've had a lot of success doing that. And it's been great for us in terms of our own growth. And I think it's helped our advisors immensely as well.

Douglas Heikkinen  13:00

Not to give away your secret sauce, but is the way you recruit advisors changed over the last couple years.

Jamie Golden  13:08

It really hasn't been and I'll give you our secret sauce. Because you know, you either have it or you don't. And that's really just being able to connect with people on a human level. And I don't mean to sound sort of silly there, but it's the truth. It's, it's what you do as a advisor, when you connect with your clients. I mean, look, every client, every advisor can offer a client, Microsoft or or Netflix or a certain strategy or, you know, build them a retirement portfolio, but it's really about relationships. And my myself and my group, have always known that and it's come natural to us, whether we were doing it from the client, then when we were advisors, or now that we're doing it on the advisor and well as the advisors have become our clients. So that's it. I mean, if you if you have the ability to you know, isolate someone's you know, objection what they're really looking to accomplish and and you know, really answer it honestly and say hey, look, we're we're really think we can be a good partner for you. And the key word is partner, because that's what we really look for, especially in our trajectory of growth right now. It's it's really about having the right strategic partners throughout the country, and helping them grow because helping them grow is what our business model is. And I think you're just our natural ability to connect with people and being in this industry for 20 years, gives us that leg up. And if you have that ability, and you work that ability, then God bless you. I think you could do the same as last but not everybody has it. But that's my secret sauce. I'll let you know upfront.

Douglas Heikkinen  14:49

It's March Madness, and we're seeing a lot of men's and women's basketball teams competing on the court. So you're competing with other recruiters. What's the biggest benefit of for advisors working with Kingswood, what are you offering that others aren't?

Jamie Golden  15:05

Again, I think, you know not to beat a dead horse. But it's it's partnerships. It's not an employee, employer or employer employee relationships. We're really looking to build with people. And they'll find that in the culture, once they join our team and see how we operate. Again, I think it's very helpful that a number of our management team have been in their position. So you know, our motto has always been we, we are advisors who are building a firm for advisors. And that's true. And that's well know a lot of people do not come from the same background that are in our in our position at this point. So I think that's been key.

Douglas Heikkinen  15:51

So sounds like you joined this firm for a reason. How optimistic are you for the future of Kingswood?

Jamie Golden  15:57

So, I, you know, the sky is very bright for us, I think we're just positioned in a very unique fashion where were small enough where that we know the names of all our advisors, because they are all our partners. But what's unique to us is we're very well financed. You know, we have backing of a public company, that Kingswood UK group, and it gives us the ability to compete with the big boys without being a huge bureaucrat, it feels for lack of a better word without being the, you know, the Department of Motor Vehicles, we have the same tools, you know, as them, we're very competitive with payouts, we're very competitive with upfront money, we're very competitive with structure and great deals, but we can do it in an environment where you're not just another number, you're not just another spoke in the wheel. So I think that gives us a very competitive advantage. And some of our management here, you know, including myself, we've been together in one form or another for over 20 years. So we have that history. We believe in each other. And we know that that'll come across for the advisors and we just honestly believe it's why would you work anywhere else, there's really no reason to that with without sounding, overconfident, that's honestly just how we feel.

Douglas Heikkinen  17:20

It's the team.

Jamie Golden  17:21

That's it, you know, and I certainly if you've played sports in your life, and and and all the guys, I've trained in my life, or all the advisors that have worked with me, I always bring up the team sports analogy, whether you've been an athlete or not, you know, you come in, you got to, you know, prove yourself you got to show that you can carry your weight and then you will have, you know, that team behind you for every facet of the future. Moving ahead,

Douglas Heikkinen  17:51

Jamie, that was super interesting. We really appreciate you joining us today.

Jamie Golden  17:55

My pleasure. Thank you for having me. We certainly wish you and Kingswood the best of luck. Thanks very much

Douglas Heikkinen  18:02

For everybody at Advisorpedia our producer Jakie Beard and the Power Your Advice podcast team. This is Doug Heikkinen


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