Tibergien Encourages Advisors to Focus on Women, Younger Investors for Growth

Determine what you want your firm to be in 10 years, the Pershing Advisor Solutions CEO counsels, then build a structure to achieve it

“Our message is resonating” with advisors, says Mark Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions, pointing out that the RIA custody arm of Pershing has crossed the $100 billion in AUM mark from its 540 advisor relationships, a figure that is growing by 70 to 80 advisory firms a year.

Acknowledging the “very competitive business” that PAS is in, with “formidable” competitors, Tibergien said Wednesday in an interview during the Pershing Insite 2012 conference in south Florida that he was particularly pleased with the “vast improvements in the client service experience” that have occurred in the four and a half years since he took the helm at PAS.

Mark TibergienTibergien (left) said that in addition to providing a global new products set and “keeping pace” in technology, PAS’ “big thrust” this year is in encouraging the custodian’s RIAs to move from a “practice management focus to a business management process.” That resonates particularly well for the kind of advisors that PAS is appropriate for, he says: those who provide comprehensive advice to high-net-worth clients with complicated financial lives.

PAS advisors, he says, “have a luxury other RIAs don’t have: professional management.” He suggests that we will see “more amalgamation and consolidation” in the RIA world, particularly among those advisors who may not have professional management and who are struggling with growing their businesses.

There’s another overarching message from Tibergien for advisors. For the past five years, Tibergien says many advisors have been keeping their “noses down and butts up” in focusing on the immediate needs of their businesses, but they now need to “look over the horizon” and determine what they want to be and do in 10 years’ time. For those advisors who do want to grow their businesses, they should consider two areas in which to find new clients: among women investors and younger investors.

While most advisors tend to focus on older, and often male, investors, Tibergien suggests advisors ask themselves whether they want to keep their focus on “a group that is dying” and if they do decide to focus on Gen X and Gen Y investors and the massive women’s market, “what does that mean in terms of structure” for advisors’ businesses?

On regulation, Tibergien said he was disappointed that the entire advisory industry and its associations didn’t cooperate in forging a common approach in the wake of the financial crisis to institute more protections for investors. Instead he said, the industry is being forced to deal with “random legislation without a framework that creates unintended consequences." As a custodian, he concluded, what PAS and Pershing is most concerned about is simply protection of the client assets.

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Mark Tibergien is the longtime lead columnist for Investment Advisor. Read his latest article, Growth and Austerity.

For a comprehensive look at Pershing Advisor Solutions and Tibergien’s accomplishments at PAS, see this cover story from Investment Advisor, Human Capitalist.

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