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6 Attributes of Business Pioneers: Envestnet’s Bergman

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Members of Envestnet’s senior management kicked off the firm’s advisor summit in Chicago on Wednesday with an inspirational session on the characteristics of pioneers, both in business and otherwise.

This year’s conference theme, “A new perspective,” is meant to encourage visionaries, with Chairman and CEO Jud Bergman noting that Envestnet wants to “be the advisor’s outfitter, porter or guide as you blaze your own path.”

Bergman framed his comments with six attributes common to all pioneers:

  • Pursue a new path
  • See a different horizon
  • Perceive a new world or opportunity (“a new perspective”)
  • Adapt to this new world or opportunity
  • Overcome adversity, sometimes not fully
  • Share their achievements with the broader community

“The pioneers path is at times thrilling, at times terrifying and often both,” he added, noting “pioneers work in three stages: See, perceive and adapt.”

Bergman punctuated his comments with quotes and thoughts of well-known pioneers like Lewis and Clark, Steve Jobs (he claimed his firing from Apple in 1985 was the best thing that ever happened to him) and Jackie Robinson.

“Jobs said that after he was let go he could go from being a tech titan to having the freedom that comes with starting over,” Bergman said. “Jackie Robinson believed the right of every American to be a first-class citizen was the most defining issue of his time.” He said, “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives.”

Stuart DePina then took over to move the discussion from the philosophical to the practical. DePina, group president of Envestnet | Tamarac, discussed changes to the practice management environment, beginning with threats to the advisory business, among them:

  • The emergence of new models that provide online advisory services
  • Increasing regulations resulting in broader compliance
  • The “New Normal:” Economic uncertainty resulting in constant market volatility.

But he also pointed to what he called the “incredible opportunity” that exists for advisors today.

“With nearly $32 trillion of investable assets in the hands of consumers, the biggest risk to individual financial futures is the fact that they have to manage their own retirement money—a risk bigger that the issues tied to health care or Social Security,” Depina said.

He also pointed to quantifiable benefits of integrated technology in practice growth, noting the results of a survey performed by Aite Group:

  • Advisors with integrated technology have two times the assets as those who do not (or $90 million more)
  • They produce $100,000 more in annual revenue for the firm
  • Advisors that work for the firm earn 20% more
  • The firms spend 32% less time on operations

Bill Crager, president of Envestnet, then concluded the session with a look at the firm’s growth.

“We have $368 billion in assets as of the end of 2012, which is a 164% increase overall from 2011,” Crager said. “That means you all are nipping at the heels of the major Wall Street firms.”

He added that Evestnet was fifth last year in net flows behind Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and UBS.


We invite you to visit the 2013 SMA Managers of the Year home page to view profiles of the finalists and for additional and ongoing coverage of the winners and the award ceremony.