As 2007 winds to a close, it seems an appropriate time to reflect back over some of the notable occurrences of the past year. One event comes to mind that I was sorry to see go largely unnoticed, or at least, not commented on: Mark Tibergien’s leaving Moss Adams to become CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions.
I remember sitting in Mark’s general session at the FPA national conference in Seattle, where he presented the findings of the 2007 Moss Adams Financial Advisory Compensation & Staffing Study to a packed house that had to be over 2,000 attendees. His leaving Moss Adams had just been announced the day before, and was mentioned when he was introduced. Yet while his presentation was well-received as always, his audience failed to give him a standing ovation, which I felt at the time was a missed opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous contribution Mark has made to the independent advisory profession over the past 20 years or so.
Mark was a client of mine for many years, and I’ve know him since he was on the IAFP Board in the mid-’80s, so I’m not unbiased here by any means. Still, it’s hard to think of anyone who’s contributed more to making independent advisory practices into businesses that Mark Tibergien. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that when he started consulting with advisory firms during the Reagan administration, they really weren’t businesses at all, merely jobs: while today the average firm is worth into seven figures.
No, he didn’t invent fees on assets under management, or client-centered advice. But his tireless message that advisory practices have a business dimension that cannot be ignored for the good of the clients as well as the advisor–delivered wherever advisors would listen from rubber-chicken local chapters to every major national convention in the industry–almost single-handedly changed the way advisors thought about their practices. More importantly, it changed how they ran them.
So as you’re contemplating the tenth offer you’ve had this year to sell your practice to a bank for more than Tiger Woods earned on Tour this year, you might tip a glass of Cristal to Mark, and wish him well in his new job. I know I will.