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Dynasty’s Shirl Penney: Clients Are Fleeing Banks and Brokerages, Too

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Shirl Penney, Dynasty Financial Partners CEO and president, started the firm in 2010 with a goal of improving the financial advisor model by building a service platform allowing advisors to do more for clients, grow their business more efficiently, and minimize conflict, he says.

For advisors who run their own RIA and now want to grow their business’s efficiency via outsourcing, Dynasty provides solutions to streamline nearly all aspects of their business.

Dynasty, along with the Dynasty Network and resource partners, provides advisors with a community that promotes collaborating, partnering, investing in proprietary technology, sharing of best practices, unique access and scale that benefits all network firms and their clients.

Via email, we asked a series of questions that touched on not only Penney’s professional knowledge but what he does off the clock as well.

1. What market indicator, industry statistic or advisor trend are you watching most closely right now and why?

Shirl Penney: I look a good deal at asset flows. There has been a significant movement of assets into the independent space, particularly in the last few years.

The one element of the movement towards independence that I think many people miss when they talk about the breakaway advisor movement is the breakaway client movement (clients leaving the banks and brokerage firms for RIA-based financial advice) is actually happening even faster than the movement of advisors leaving to go independent.

2. How has it been changing recently (2021) and how do you expect it to change (2022)?

It’s a bull market for financial advice at a time when more Americans need financial advice than ever, given the big wealth transfer, and there are fewer financial advisors. We are also seeing a rapid professionalization of the RIA space with the advisor to CEO trend.

It’s undeniable: the firms with the best leaders are the ones who will be more successful. That is why Dynasty partnered with MIT to launch the Advisor to CEO Executive training program.

3. What would you suggest advisors do now or consider doing in the future about it?

I’d recommend that advisors invest in ways to scale within their business and tech-enable all aspects of business. Think about “how can I cover twice as many clients tomorrow in the same way I am covering my clients today?”

RIAs need to get more digital as well. You want to live in the handheld device of your client.

4. Who or what critical source of information do you track or follow online to keep up with this or other trends?

I read a fair amount of ARK’s research around disruptive innovation, technology. I track investment trends through Envestnet’s State of the RIA Market Report, and I listen to TED Talks.

More on this topic

5. Are you changing any of your work habits at this stage of the pandemic?   

We are back to work in Florida and we find that people are excited about developing the firm’s culture in person. Tech is well suited to help with clients during [the] pandemic. At Dynasty, we live in the cloud and that has served us well.

6. What’s your biggest hobby and what activity are you focused on related to it?

I own a horse racing stable called Team Penney Racing. I’m looking forward to attending the Kentucky Derby next year with clients.

7. How about your community or charitable activities?

I am proud to donate to St. Pete Rise, a monument that is dedicated to 9/11 community heroes, first responders and all impacted by that tragic day.

Also, we had the honor of hosting legendary CBS Sports announcer Jim Nantz at our recent Investment Forum in Nashville. At that event, we surprised Jim with a large donation to the Nantz National Alzheimer Center dedicated to raising money and awareness to fight Alzheimer’s.

8. What book are you reading now and why? 

I have two book suggestions: [The first is by] Bob Pozen, one of the MIT professors that will be presenting to our Advisor to CEO group. It is all about time management and personal productivity: “Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours.”

This next book is by Rich Orlando and we sent it out to everyone who was part of our Intergenerational Planning program: “Love Your Clients: The Tale of the Whole Family Advisor.”

9. Do you have any special holiday plan you’d like to share as we near year-end? 

I’m spending more time with my family. The more you realize that you can wake up and can do whatever you want, the more you wake up and want to spend more time with family.

10. Is there any other update or piece of advice you’d like to share with our advisor audience? 

Any of us as leaders can only take our businesses so far. It’s all about the team. I am proud that everyone at Dynasty is an equity owner, and that is a big key to our success.