This is Mark Tibergien’s 11th appearance on the IA 25. Read his extended profiles from 2012 and 2011. Click here to view the complete list and Special Report schedule for extended profiles for each of the 2013 IA 25 honorees.
Mark Tibergien has been writing for Investment Advisor now for more than a decade. Not coincidentally, he is also the only person to appear on the IA 25 for all 11 years of its existence. But Tibergien’s influence on the industry started before his affiliation with us, and in the history of the independent advisory business, Tibergien’s influence will last far beyond 2013. That’s because almost single-handedly he has preached that to become a profession, advisors must be business people. In his writings and speeches, in his tenure at Moss Adams and as the CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions, Tibergien has consistently raised thorny issues that some advisors would rather avoid and has used his bully pulpit to challenge advisors to be not only good business people but true leaders as well.
Take his October 2011 column on the dangers of a “cult of personality” at advisory firms. He wrote that “a strong personality is a great quality when beginning or rebuilding a company—but inevitably, a leader’s firm grasp of key issues becomes a grip of death for the business. Enterprises that are overly dependent on a single strong leader can rarely survive the end of that person’s tenure unless a proper transition plan is implemented early, communicated loudly and executed effectively. Business continuity issues are not solved by finding a buyer for the business, but rather by building a culture of courage, passion, accountability and confidence that allows others to step up when you ultimately step down.”
In a cover story earlier that year, we wrote about his emphasis on human capital, but concluded that “in good Pershing fashion, this focus on human capital doesn’t just place those leaders in the right spot, it then measures their effectiveness. People, people, people. Measure, measure, measure. There’s one other thing: Pershing Advisor Solutions is a place where the people share a vision that emanates from Tibergien, but is clearly internalized.”
Looking back at his very first column for Investment Advisor, in February 2003, Tibergien’s stated goal for his writings is as cogent now as it was then. “I’ve found that like most professionals, financial advisors are well-trained to help their clients, but receive no formal education about how to make a living doing it.” In his time researching the advisor industry at Moss Adams, his team “discovered a huge disparity between those few advisors who, through prior training outside the profession or natural business sense, have created financially successful practices and the majority of their peers.” His stated goal for his Formulas for Success column? “I’m going to explore what the most successful practices do to get that way, and what you can learn from them to increase the success of your own practice. After all, if you can’t make a living as a financial advisor, you probably won’t be very helpful to your clients, either.”