A conversation with Jack Petersen, Managing Partner and Advisor at Summit Trail Advisors
The Barclays breakaway discusses his 2015 landmark leap with 5 partners, 3 offices, and $3B in AUM, plus shares why he feels UHNW clients are best served in independence, what they do to drive extraordinary growth, and much more.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed by the guests on this podcast are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Diamond Consultants. Neither Diamond Consultants nor the guests on this podcast are compensated in any way for their participation.
About this episode…
It was one of the most significant and notable leaps to independence in 2015. And even today, advisors still talk about it.
Jack Petersen was the head of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management for the Americas, resulting from a quick turnaround move after Lehman’s bankruptcy in 2008.
After years in the business, Jack admits feeling burnt out in the management role, so he shifted back to his roots as an advisor, which led him to later consider whether there was a better way to serve his ultra-high net worth clients.
That is, he came to the realization that to serve this sophisticated client base properly meant customization and recommendations outside of the Barclays infrastructure—and it was clear that another traditional firm would present them with the same challenges.
Pulling together a few like-minded teams that also served the unique needs of this constituency, Jack and five other co-founders launched Summit Trail in July 2015 with support from Dynasty Financial Partners.
It was a landmark event in size and scope: $3B in managed assets at three simultaneously launched sites across the country.
Headlines announcing the move described Summit Trail as a “National Wealth Management Boutique” launched by “6 Leading Executives,” with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Summit Trail immediately became one of the largest independent wealth management firms in the US.
Today, the firm manages $16B in client assets, with offices added in Boston, Seattle, Harrisburg, and Washington DC. And while they’ve done some acquisitions, their growth has been driven primarily by organic means.
In this episode with Louis Diamond, Jack discusses his journey, including:
- The wealth management industry as it was before and after the 2008 collapse—and how that event influenced his decision to go independent.
- The inability to provide customized advice and services to UHNW clients—and how that seemed to be more of a “broader industry problem” and not just a “Barclays problem.”
- Pulling together six diverse teams across the country—and how Dynasty helped facilitate the process at a time when even just going independent was far less common.
- Their incredible growth—and how they accomplished it by primarily organic means.
- Their unique business model—and what key attributes they “cherry-picked” from the broker dealer world.
- Their client policy—and why they chose to focus solely on the ultra-high net worth segment.
- The strategic value of private equity—and why they have opted not to take on outside capital at this time.
- And the notion of how large firms build their infrastructures—and why these “supermarket platforms,” designed to manage tens of thousands of advisors and their clients, make it difficult, if not impossible, to serve the unique needs of sophisticated ultra-high net worth clients.
It’s a conversation with a successful advisor and business owner who built an enterprise by “putting clients first”—providing teachable moments for advisors at all levels.
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Jack B. Petersen
Co-Founder and Managing Partner
With a 30-year career in the wealth management industry, Jack Petersen is a recognized leader and business builder. He started his financial services career in the Morgan Stanley MBA training program as an Advisor to financially successful individuals and families and has enjoyed a variety of leadership positions over his career. This wide ranging experience set has ideally prepared him for his current role.
Jack is the Managing Partner of Summit Trail Advisors and one of the firm’s six founding executives. In 2015, this team of six established the firm as an industry-leading wealth management boutique to provide an exceptional client experience and superior investment results for the ultra-high-net-worth market. Many of Summit Trail’s clients include highly successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and private investors. As a testament to the firm’s philosophy and achievements, Summit Trail has been recognized by Barron’s annually as one of their Top 100 Registered Investment Advisors.
At Summit Trail Advisors, Jack provides overall leadership direction for the firm’s long-term business strategy, which includes acquiring other RIA firms and advisor team lift-outs from banks and broker/dealers. He’s known as Summit Trail’s culture cultivator and works with a small management team to oversee the firm’s day-to-day operations. He also continues to lead a team of advisors serving a group of clients who rely on his extensive wealth management expertise.
Prior to founding Summit Trail Advisors, Jack was a Managing Director and Head of the Americas for Barclays Wealth and Investment Management Division, which focused on the needs of ultra-high-net-worth families. Jack had joined Barclays as part of its acquisition of the Lehman Brothers Private Investment Management business. He played a critical role in the negotiation of this acquisition.
At Lehman Brothers he held various positions, including Global Head of Private Investment Management, having risen to that post after holding the titles of National Sales Manager and U.S. Head of Private Investment Management. Earlier in his career, Jack was a Principal at Morgan Stanley.
Jack earned an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. He is also a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he earned a B.S in Finance from the Carlson School of Management.
Jack values his time with family and friends. He and his wife live in Ridgewood, NJ and have two adult sons. An avid outdoorsman, Jack enjoys golf, running, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing and continues to mow his own lawn.