Inside Baseball on Building and Growing an Independent Firm
A conversation with Marty Bicknell – CEO and President, Mariner Wealth Advisors
The RIA space has grown in massive proportions over the last several years, with a number of mega-firms setting the pace through ambitious acquiring practices and smart recruiting of top talent.
Yet it’s those firms that are continually looking for new ways to serve their clients and grow their businesses which are making the most waves. They’re building partnerships and investing in platforms to offer advisors under their umbrella the ability to do more with greater freedom and flexibility—that is, provide an attractive alternative to staying within the brokerage world or starting their own firm.
And the guest on this episode seems to be going after all of the above in a big way.
Marty Bicknell is CEO and president of Mariner Wealth Advisors, the $26B Overland Park, Kansas-based RIA firm that seems to be on a roll lately.
For example, from January of 2019 through March of 2020, they closed 11 acquisition deals. And in April of this year, Mariner announced a partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners to create Mariner Platform Solutions, supported by back- and middle-office resources from Dynasty.
Nationally ranked by Barron’s as one of the top 4 RIA firms for the last 4 years, Marty says he’s driven by a “client-first” mantra, guiding him to continue to look for new and better ways to serve clients and grow the business.
And it all began in 2006 with just $300mm in assets.
In this episode, Marty discusses…
- What started him on this journey of incredible growth—and what he is ultimately looking to achieve for Mariner.
- How Mariner differentiates itself in a crowded and competitive marketplace—and how separating business development from advice serves the firm’s value proposition.
- What key measures the firm took to impact growth—and how their acquisition process differs from that of their competitors.
- What Mariner looks for in a prospective seller—and what’s in it for sellers to join a firm with the size and scale of Mariner.
Marty also shares advice for nascent firm owners and prospective breakaway advisors on how to build a firm designed for growth—and to become an appealing buyer or seller in the future.
It’s a great opportunity to get in on a candid conversation with the driving force behind one of the industry’s leading RIA firms.
Exploring M&A: Finding the perfect match between buyers and sellers
Acquirers typically fit into one of 4 profiles: Here’s how to identify which types of sellers will align best with each. Read->
Strategically Exploring M&A in the Independent Landscape
Which of the 4 types of acquirers would be a good fit for your business? Read->
Gaining Scale: Why it Matters to Your Advisory Practice
Scale seems to be the buzzword du jour, but what does it really mean for your practice? Read->
As the CEO and president of Mariner Wealth Advisors, Marty drives the strategic direction and growth strategies, analyzing and anticipating market trends and future opportunities for the firm. As a recognized leader in wealth management, he devises innovative solutions to meet the needs of our clients. He has extensive personal and professional experience with closely held family businesses and their unique complexities. He often mentors other successful entrepreneurs.
Marty, along with seven others, founded Mariner Wealth Advisors in 2006 with a goal of keeping the client at the center of all we do. He wanted to build a firm that could simplify our clients’ lives by having all the resources they need under one roof. The day the doors opened, Marty made the promise to put the clients’ interests before anything else…a promise he still holds dear to this day.
Marty has a bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.
He serves on the board of directors for the KU Advancement Board for the University of Kansas Medical Center, Snappy Kracken and on the MRIGlobal Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and is a board member for the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City. He is also involved in supporting several organizations through his sponsorship and committee participation, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), The University of Kansas Cancer Center and Marillac campus, Youth Entrepreneurs, Global Orphan, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Marty was named in Investment Advisor’s 2016 Top 25 Influential People in the investment/financial industry, the Kansas City Business Journal’s 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 Power 100 List and, under Marty’s leadership, Mariner Wealth Advisors has had the privilege of being ranked in the top four Independent Advisory Firms by Barron’s the last four years.
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