Dec 18, 2019

Case Study: Growth Opportunities for Employees at Allworth

When principals sell their firms, they aren’t the only ones impacted. Job worries, new management styles and unfamiliar advisory models are all legitimate concerns for loyal employees.

But not all transitions are created equal. The right type of transaction can be great for everyone. Here are the unique perspectives of three very different people who have experienced an Allworth acquisition first hand.

Click here to download the full case study below.

A Closer Look: Brian James, CFP®

From Simply Money marketing advisor to lead advisor, workshop presenter and business development liaison in two years.

What was your background and what were your primary responsibilities before the acquisition?

I’ve been in the financial sector for over 20 years, but I came to Cincinnati’s Simply Money (now Allworth Financial) looking to re-establish my career as an advisor in an independent environment. We (SMA) had a very strong regional brand and I was on the front lines, meeting prospective clients and emphasizing the benefits of working with a fiduciary firm. When qualified candidates that I thought were a good fit for our company were interested in becoming clients, I would assign them an advisor.

How did the transition impact you personally and professionally?

I’m no longer responsible for any marketing, which is all done by the marketing department. We advisors focus entirely on what we do best, which is educating people and working to improve the financial lives of our clients. Looking back before the acquistion, like many mature advisory firms, our growth had slowed. Once we partnered with Hanson McClain in 2018, together, we updated our names to Allworth Financial—taking what we did well and combining it with what they did well—and the subsequent growth expedited our need for more advisors to keep up with demand. In addition to advising clients, I’m also our main workshop presenter and actively involved in business development.

What is your view of the future at Allworth?

I believe RIAs are the present and future of advising. Both Hanson McClain and Simply Money were early adapters to a more client-first model. Here’s an example: A potential client came in the other day and after meeting with me, chose us as his advisor. The reason? I was able to detail the advantages of properly timing his application to Social Security. He’d been the client of a well-known, product driven, national firm until just
a few weeks ago, but when he asked them for some clarity on Social Security, they mailed him a generic brochure. No follow up call, no anything. So, the opportunity to do what I love, the increased personal service, the growth and the opportunity to present to people at workshops, and the fact that we advisors spend our time advising and not marketing the firm, these are just a few of the positives that I’ve experienced since our transition to Allworth Financial.

A Closer Look: Alexa Phillips

From client service representative to national events coordinator in two years.

What was your background and what were your primary responsibilities
before the acquisition?

I was interning at a law firm when I opted to go to work for Hanson McClain (now Allworth Financial) because I’d heard of their reputation for advancement. I began as a customer service representative, but when a majority stake in HMA was purchased by Parthenon Capital Partners (private equity), I was worried because you never know what an ownership change might bring.

How did the transition impact you personally and professionally?

Our highest hopes have been realized. As promised, we weren’t being consumed, we were selected over dozens of other firms as Parthenon’s entrée into the advisory sector. We’re their point company and we’re looking for like-minded firms to join forces with.

As for my position, regional retirement workshops are an important part of our marketing. But, because we were going national, not only were the number of workshops going to increase exponentially, I’d heard we were looking for a dedicated event coordinator. Thankfully, they saw something in me that showed them I was the person for the job. In 2019, alone, we hosted almost 90 events in roughly 30 locations throughout the United States. I love what I do and see it as what I’m going to keep doing for a very long time.

What is your view of the future at Allworth? 

We’ve almost tripled in size in just a few years and we are in numerous markets. We move fast and it’s exciting, but we still work together symbiotically, and it all still feels very much like a close-knit team. My impression is that the firms we are partnering with feel the same way. Whenever there’s a change like this, there are naturally some concerns that we’ll come in and alter everything, but that’s not who we are. We learn from them and they learn from us. We’re looking for firms to help us grow, and we, in turn, want to help them grow. And growth means lots of possibilities and choices for people, be they the employees, the principals or the advisors of the firms we partner with.

A Closer Look: Nathan J. Bachrach

From Simply Money co-founder and CEO to more freedom and a better quality of life in two years.

What was your background and what were your primary responsibilities before the acquisition?

As co-CEO, I founded Simply Money Advisors in 1994 and, along with my business partner, built it into a billion dollar plus RIA. I’ve been the keynote speaker at numerous financial industry conferences and I’m the host of the Simply Money radio program.

How did the transition impact you personally and professionally?

I’m immensely proud of the work we’ve done. From our team members to our clients, we placed them first and I think our track record of growth exhibits that. In a perfect world, you’d like to be able to write your own story by selling at a time like right now when firm valuations are high and, depending on your goals, either retire or scale back and keep advising. One thing I’ve seen is that most of the principals I know who’ve worked like we have want to step back from the 60-hour work weeks. In 2018, we were approached to gauge our interest for a possible sale. I still advise and do most of the media and advertising, but I no longer worry about the day-to-day operation of the firm. I very much set my own schedule. Personally? The transition to Allworth has been ideal and I believe our team members feel the same way.

What is your view of the future at Allworth?

To continue working and enjoying what we’ve built. In my opinion, the client-centric, fiduciary advisory model is the future. We found exactly what we were looking for with Allworth. To clarify, we found something we may not have even realized existed, with Allworth. I’m going to keep working and advising until I decide it’s time to step away and focus on other passions.

If you’re the principal of an RIA and you’re curious about the value of your firm, what a transaction with Allworth could mean to you both professionally and personally, or the types of mergers and acquisitions we’re looking for, contact us today.

It never hurts to understand the options that are available to you. We believe in straight talk and are looking for like-minded people who want to build something special. Contact us at (858) 705-3415  or

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