Mark Tibergien has been on the IA 25 list every year since it’s been published, and his sharp mind, insight into the advisory world and passion for the profession hasn’t abated over those years. He’s as influential as ever in both his leadership at Pershing and in urging advisors to run their practices like businesses and to use their human capital smartly and efficiently. In the years prior to Pershing, when he ran Moss Adams’ advisor consulting group, he became the preeminent chronicler of this still-young profession, of what it needed to stay vibrant and growing, and he had the research to back him up.
As we said of him in 2007, “Tibergien speaks easily and confidently on a number of topics of interest to independent advisors, but he's not glib. His fingertip control of Moss Adams' vaunted data, his hands-on work with hundreds of advisory firms around the country, and his keen analytical mind allow him to speak with quiet authority on everything from the Merrill Lynch rule to the culture of accountants to the prices being paid for advisory firm these days. That's why he has been on the IA 25 for every year it's existed.”
In 2003, the first year of the IA 25, we said this about him: “Tibergien stands out not only as an authority on the advisor business, but also as a ceaseless campaigner to make it better. Tibergien thinks too many advisors fail to leverage their practices properly in human terms. ‘So much of what an advisor does is dependent on himself or herself,’ he says. As advisors grow their practices, many add support staff, but they continue to focus the business around themselves. ‘They need to become more effective, not more efficient.’”
Tibergien is also a moralist who refrains from sanctimony. In 2007, the fifth year of the IA 25, we wrote in his profile that “most observers of the investment advisory/financial planning universe, and its practitioners, would agree that building businesses out of practices would help advance the profession and provide the principals of those firms with more buck for their sweat equity bang. But only Mark Tibergien positions the issue as a moral one. ‘We have to learn to be more responsible as an industry,’ he argues. ‘You just can't create co-dependency’ with your clients—‘you have so many people depending on you…and then say “Good Luck.”'"
But this is not an elegy. In September of this year, Tibergien will mark his fifth anniversary of taking the CEO’s role at RIA custodian Pershing Advisor Solutions, where by all measures he’s achieved success. In addition to its growth among high-end RIAs in the United States, those who want to achieve growth and who serve clients with complex financial needs through access to products and markets across the world, using the cutting edge NetX360 technology platform, PAS is now a growing presence in the U.K., where changing regulation is helping to create an environment in which independent advisors can thrive. When he was named to the Pershing position in 2007, we quoted Tibergien as saying "we must create such a superior customer service model that it will make a difference" in advisors' business lives. But perhaps the greatest and most appropriate testament to Tibergien’s influence in the advisor space is the people who work with him now, and those who used to work with him who have felt his influence in their careers and made their own influential marks in the industry, such as Philip Palaveev, Rebecca Pomering, Dan Inveen and Eliza De Pardo from his Moss Adams days.
At Pershing, if you speak to any of the executives who run customer service or practice management or technology, at some point they’ll mention Tibergien as the practical visionary behind their striving for success. To be successful, you need a vision, but you also need to measure your progress toward success, as Tibergien has long preached in his speeches and in his column for Investment Advisor. He likes to say that “culture is what people do when the boss isn’t around,” and at Pershing those people have internalized the vision and embraced the measurement. That’s a definition of influence that shows itself in all those people’s interaction with others.
Find out who was named on the 2012 IA 25 in Investment Advisor's May issue.
Check out more extended interviews of the 2012 IA 25 at AdvisorOne.
Read more about Mark Tibergien in the 2011 IA 25.