A conversation with R. Scott Bills, Chief Executive Officer, Partner, Nilsine Partners
R. Scott Bills considered himself a Merrill Lifer. But as the firm changed and the desire to build a brand and better serve their clients grew stronger, he and his team decided to make the leap to independence, launching Nilsine Partners.
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…
A lot of advisors we speak with on this series and in the course of our business share how they never thought they’d leave their firm.
Then, as is a fact of life, things change. That is, both the firm and the advisor may shift their priorities in ways that are no longer congruent.
And for the advisor, the firm that once served as the foundation for growth of the business no longer seems to be the right fit.
Such was the case of Scott Bills. He considered himself a Merrill Lifer—someone who thought he and his team would never leave.
For Scott, his Merrill story started back in 2005, when he joined the firm. It was a family business that included his father (who retired a decade ago), his brother Brett, and their team.
Together they grew an astounding business to nearly $2B in assets under management.
But, over time, they recognized things were changing at the firm. And while they craved greater freedom, they were feeling stuck by loyalty to Merrill—that is, until their loyalty to best serving their clients and business won out.
In September of 2021, the Colorado-based team made the leap to independence with support from Dynasty Financial Partners and Schwab as their custodian.
In this episode, Scott and Mindy Diamond discuss the evolution of the Merrill team and their transition to launching independent firm Nilsine Partners, including:
- The process of thinking through change—and the realities of making the leap to independence.
- The pulls that motivated their decision to leave Merrill—and how the desire to build a business and a brand was stronger than their loyalty to the firm.
- The pushes that led to consider change—and how mounting pressures to push Merrill products and limitations around what they could do for clients played a significant role in their decision.
- Opting to shrink to grow—and why it made sense, strategically, to leave some clients behind.
- Doing the math—and why it’s critical to understand the costs associated with being an employee vs. an independent.
- Plus, Scott shares tangible examples of the differences he and his team found between the wirehouse world and independence—including the ability to be solutions-based and not product-driven.
It’s an episode with value for anyone considering change, as well as business owners who are looking to advance their practice to the next level—and beyond.
Everything You Need to Know About Independence: An Industry Update
Jason Diamond joins the show for a quick yet thorough education on the continually evolving independent space answering the questions that many of our advisor-clients ask us during due diligence. Listen->
Stop Feeling Pushed: 6 Steps to Leveraging the Positive Pulls
No one likes to feel “pushed” into making a decision. So how do you turn the tables and regain control of your career? Read->
Push vs Pull: When Desire Wins Out Over Frustration
The motivation for many advisors who are moving these days has been gravitating from a “push” to more of a “pull”. Read->
The Inverse Grid: Is Your Firm Providing Enough Value?
When considering the products and services a firm provides in exchange for the revenue they keep, is it really a good value? Read->
Shrink to Grow: Why Advisors are Making the “Strategic Decision” to Let Go of Assets
In a world where bigger is considered better, many of Wall Street’s most talented and productive advisors are opting to go against the grain and leave chips on the table. Read->
Scott Bills,CFP®, CPWA®, CRPC®
Chief Executive Officer | Partner
Scott is currently Chief Executive Officer | Partner of Nilsine Partners. He was previously a Senior Vice President Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management from 2005 until founding Nilsine Partners in 2021.
Scott has been recognized by Forbes and named to their “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list in 2019, 2020 and 2021; as well as their “Best-in-state Next-Generation Wealth Advisors” list in September 2019, “Top 250 Next-Generation Wealth Advisors” list in July 2019 and “America’s Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors” list July 2018.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with a minor in Economics from Utah State University. Scott is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional, designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. He also earned the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) designation and holds the Certified Retirement Planning Counselor® (CRPC®) designation. He currently serves on the Foundation Board for Utah State University. He previously served on the Board of Directors for Lupus Colorado as Past-Chair and on the Executive Alumni Board for Utah State University.
Scott, a Colorado native, lives in Lone Tree with his wife, Annie, and their three daughters. In his free time, he enjoys golf, travel, skiing, yoga and his spin bike. He also loves cheering on the hometown sports teams of the Broncos, Avalanche, Rockies, Nuggets and his Utah State Aggies.