You’ve heard about Greg Friedman perhaps in conjunction with Junxure, the CRM firm he co-founded, or the Your Silver Bullet technology integration initiative, or when he won the Best in Tech award from Schwab Institutional. These days, he’s in the vanguard of another major trend in the advice industry: mergers and acquisitions of advisory firms. Last May, his firm, Friedman & Associates, merged with Salient Wealth Management to form a powerhouse northern California advisory firm that has since been rechristened Private Ocean. Editor Jamie Green caught up with the ebullient Friedman during the FPA Retreat in San Antonio in late April.
How’s the merger going?
At our one-year anniversary, we’re exactly where we thought we would be. But I underestimated clients’ perceptions–I knew it would be a big issue, and we’ve done so much communications, but I’ve been surprised at how little of it seems to get through.
Is it just a question of time?
I hope so, because if the clients are not comfortable…. But I’ve asked them to judge us on how we actually perform, rather on what they’re worried about, because there’s zero tolerance for errors. On the larger question, we’re in the late 8th inning, or even the top of the 9th, on merging the firms’ systems, processes, and structures. And remember, these were two big, long-established firms.
Our executive coach, for myself and the whole management team, Sharon Huber, says culture trumps strategy every time. She says it’s a three-year process, so I feel pretty good about where we are.