How this $2.5 Billion Team Saw Past the Handcuffs of Deferred Compensation
A conversation With Margaret Dechant, CEO and founding partner of Kansas-based independent firm 6 Meridian
Former Morgan Stanley advisor Margaret Dechant had what she describes as a “self-sufficient business” at Morgan Stanley, managing $2.5B in assets from a client-base built of business owners, professionals and executives.
She and her partners had a vision of how they wanted to serve these entrepreneurial-minded clients; that is, with greater flexibility, access to a diversified set of investment solutions and better technology for more sophisticated planning. Yet each of these become increasingly difficult to deliver from within the walls of the brokerage firm.
As Morgan Stanley’s compensation plan changed with more being deferred, she and her partners did the math: “With the revenue stream that we were generating, if we had stayed much longer, those numbers would become the handcuffs they were designed to be.”
So, in 2016, the team set out to break free of those proverbial handcuffs and build their own firm.
In this episode, Margaret discusses:
- How they decided whether or not to use a service provider—and how the team’s “divide and conquer” approach led them towards a successful launch.
- Why the team decided on BNY Mellon’s Pershing to custody assets—and the role Pershing played in the transition process.
- What services they are able to deliver today—and how that differs from what was possible as employees at Morgan Stanley.
- How the desire to be “true fiduciaries” played into their decision to break from Morgan Stanley—and why that remains at the core of their vision.
- How their clients responded to leaving behind the Morgan Stanley brand—and how commitment and innovation were key to their clients’ acceptance.
Today, 6 Meridian is building their business their way, with access to “a landscape that’s bigger and wider than we ever thought it would be.” And while it wasn’t easy to walk away from their deferred compensation and the brokerage firm they built their business at, Margaret said, “We knew that long-term, we were all going to be better off.”
Based on this conversation, 6 Meridian and their clients are well more than better off.
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Margaret Dechant is Chief Executive Officer and Partner of 6 Meridian LLC, an investment and advisory firm based in Wichita, Kansas. Often credited as the visionary of the 6 Meridian team, Margaret has earned the informal title of “people architect.” Her ability to connect with individuals and harness their respective strengths is uncanny. And her passion for service is unmatched.
In September of 2016, Margaret and her partners successfully broke away from Morgan Stanley to launch their RIA firm, 6 Meridian LLC. In less than six months, the team of 13 had reestablished all business operations and successfully transitioned $2B in assets. Within two and half years, 6 Meridian had grown to a team of 20 and $2.4B in assets.
Margaret’s career includes Executive Vice President of the Commerce Trust Company and Senior Vice President and Wealth Advisor with Bank of America Private.
Margaret has volunteered time for many organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas, Youth Entrepreneurs, and The Kansas Humane Society. She has also served as a mentor for young professionals and has been a featured panelist for a number of career mentoring and leadership events. In 2014 recognized as one of Wichita’s Top Women in Business, in 2017 was selected for the Wichita Business Journal Hall of Fame, and is an alumni of Leadership Wichita.
In their spare time, Margaret and her husband, Todd, are avid supporters of the Kansas City Chiefs and Wichita State Shockers, and enjoy travel to the beach, the mountains, and all points in between.
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