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Carson Institutional Alliance Adds Almost $1.4 Billion in First Year

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“We have $1.385 billion in assets under advisement, which might not sound like a lot,” said Ron Carson, in a statement few people other than Ron Carson could make. “However, Alliance partners have committed more through letters of intent and transfers.”

What “might not sound like a lot” is an astounding amount over the life of a career, yet Carson was referring to the amount gathered in just the first years of Carson Institutional Alliance.

Carson Institutional Alliance, which Carson describes as “a network of client-centered, growth-minded, solutions-focused advisor partners committed to delivering trust, transparency and accountability,” made the announcement of its AUM the first annual partner summit at the beginning of October at its headquarters in Omaha. In addition, several other advisory firms are in various stages of committing to Carson Institutional Alliance, which he says could include joining the platform while maintaining their current brand, or rolling up as a fully branded branch.

“What separates us from firms like United Capital or Focus Financial Partners is that you join our firm without losing your name or your equity in the firm,” Carson told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday. “However, after two years you have the option of monetization. You don’t have to, but we have a turnkey succession planning solution if you do.”

The  alliance was established “to give advisors the positioning power that comes from aligning with a Barron’s top-ranked team, and the opportunity to take their business to the next level with a proven business model.” As a result, he said, advisors are able to deepen their relationships with clients and prospects by providing highly transparent investment solutions and lower overall costs. Carson added it has three objectives:

  • Provide advisors with a flexible approach to building partnerships
  • Give advisors instant access to and positioning power of the full Carson Institutional team
  • Offer advisors an on-demand succession solution

In addition to succession planning, Carson Institutional Alliance provides professional compliance services, technology, marketing and other features meant to take the back-office and time-consuming tasks off the advisor’s plate so they can spend more time with client-facing activities. The cost to the advisor, Carson added, is often less than what they would spend had they kept the activities in-house.

“The fees they once had to charge to maintain all these of these services are now eliminated, yet they can actually raise the portion of the fee that goes directly to them,” he explained. “They get all this neat stuff, an increase in cash flow within 60 to 90 days and the only impact to the client is an enhance value proposition.”

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Smaller firms, those with $500 million or less (Carson’s definition), can especially benefit, he argued, as profit margins are getting squeezed and compliance regulation is increasing the cost of doing business.

Carson Institutional Alliance plans to reach $2 billion in AUM next year and $10 billion in AUM in five years, but that doesn’t mean CIA is accepting all comers.

“We said ‘no’ more than ‘yes’ this past year,” he said. “More than anything, we want to preserve our culture, one that puts clients’ needs ahead of our own.”

Check out Ron Carson’s Latest Gambit: Digital Coaching Platform on ThinkAdvisor.