John Burmeister, president of the Broker-Dealer of the Year in Division I this year, could not attend the editorial roundtable in person. In a separate interview, Burmeister weighed in on the issues raised during the roundtable.-Ed.
Jamie Green: Let’s start with Lion Street itself — this is a new kind of firm?
John Burmeister: Lion Street was founded by Bob Carter in 2010 as a distributor of insurance products, but he also asked ‘How can we make it different?’ If you have ownership, that’s a big differentiator. So we started building owner firms; two years into it, the decision was made to have a broker-dealer and RIA for a fully integrated firm.
Green: Who is attracted to your model?
Burmeister: We’re attracting life and wealth management firms [that offer] holistic planning; our advisors excel at servicing all those needs. What’s also central is the culture and idea-sharing among owner firms. We bring them together through conferences and growth groups, where they can interact with each other.
In the recruiting process, we want someone who sees the value of ownership — they’re owners, so if they help another owner build their practice, we’re increasing their value.
They’re experienced, have well-established practices, and they’re willing to invest in growth.
We have a fully integrated platform — full-service broker-dealer, RIA, multi-life capabilities, expertise across the spectrum, influence with carriers, either life insurance or the Pershing [clearing] relationship. Both our employees and advisors have an ownership stake in the company, [providing] cultural and financial alignment.