In March, Michael Kitces moved from Pinnacle Advisory Group to Buckingham Wealth Partners. The popular Nerd’s Eye View blogger and financial planner, though, has not altered his “branding.”
The cobalt-blue shirt/uniform remains in place, as does his 24/7 Kitces.com content and Twitter presence. And Jeff Levine, CPA, formerly of BluePrint Wealth Alliance made the move, too; he recently updated his Twitter nickname from “That Secure Act Guy” to “The Buckinghammer.”
Both members of the dynamic duo believe the change will let them “up their content game” and grow “the Kitces platform,” said Michael Kitces in an interview, noting that this content team now includes nine people after starting out with just two.
“As the number of writers has expanded, we wanted to create more alignment on the team and bring it under one umbrella and one advisory firm,” he explained. That led to the recent decision to become part of Buckingham from Pinnacle, where Kitces had been for 17 years.
Buckingham says Kitces is now head of planning strategy for the firm and Levine is director of advanced planning.
The St. Louis-based group consists of an independent RIA firm serving more than 140 advisors in 40-plus offices, as well as a turnkey wealth management services platform (including the former Loring Ward business) that serves more than 500 financial professionals; as of Dec. 31, the firm’s affiliated advisors and other clients worked with some $50 billion in assets.
Larry Swedroe, a long-time advocate for and leader in the “evidence-based investing” movement, serves as chief research officer of Buckingham’s RIA.
“We’ve always wanted to be the destination for this industry’s top talent. And in times like these, thought leadership and true counsel with the best planning resources are needed more than ever,” Buckingham Wealth Chairman and CEO Adam Birenbaum said in an interview.
As Kitces sees it, Buckingham “wants to grow its base of advisors and [TAMP] clients, and we drive both.”
But what does this really mean for die-hard Kitces.com fans/”nerds”? “We want more nerds to nerd out with us on financial planning and advisor content,” said Kitces, who has 57,600 followers on Twitter. “Our focus is to create more specialized nerdy content for advisors, which we’ve always wanted to do.”
As Birenbaum puts it: “Kitces.com will be the platform of content, so we can be the industry-leading destination for planning thought leadership; Buckingham will be where that knowledge is put into practice.”
Kitces sees the tie-up as a way to bring more experts and their wisdom to Kitces.com. The website “will continue to be open and as free [of charge] as possible. We’re just gearing up for more resources, research and content,” he explained.
Most content he posts online is free. The paid members’ section offers continuing education credits and webinar-style versions of articles. (Advisors logged over 20,000 hours of CFP CE credits tied to Kitces and Levine’s content last year.)
“Jeff and Michael are stewards to this industry, and … they will continue to provide many educational advisor services via the Nerd’s Eye View blog and other platforms as before,” Justin Ferri, chairman of RIA Buckingham Strategic Wealth, told IA.
More Details on the Deal
“Our mission has been to align Kitces.com [content] at the ‘nerds’ level’ and at the advisory level, too,” said Levine, in an interview. “We also thought it would be beneficial [for the two of us] to affiliate with the same firm and … have an impact across the nation in terms of better planning outcomes and advice.
“We both felt independently that Buckingham was the place for us,” he added. “Being with a larger firm gives us a bigger reach and the ability to touch more lives.”
The deal also means “we are aligned culturally and philosophically around the nerdiest issues that Michael and I live and breathe daily,” Levine said. “[Buckingham’s] advisors relish that.”
Asked in mid-March about his upcoming travel plans, given the continued spread of the coronavirus and many canceled public events (including the NBA season), Kitces says he’ll “understand” if some spring gatherings he now has on his calendar get canceled.
The planner attends about 50 advisor conferences a year.
“For me, if the Centers for Disease Control says it’s safe to travel to those events I’m contracted to attend,” he added, then he will likely go. “But if advisors do not want to go [to them], then the event organizers will have to make their own decisions.”
His calendar for the near future only includes conferences in the U.S., “and I hope they continue,” Kitces said.
Janet Levaux is editor-in-chief of Investment Advisor. She can be reached at email@example.com.