Peter Raimondi is a legend in the wealth management business. He has successfully started and sold two previous firms and is now in the process of building Dakota Wealth Management – his third venture – based in Florida. Raimondi is among the few leaders in the U.S. market to have built three firms worth over $1B in assets.
It was a blast to have Peter on the Deep Dive podcast. Before I go into the key learnings from the episode, I need to quickly tell the story of the difference Peter made in my career, because I think the advice he gave me can be applied to many situations.
Long story short, our firms were looking to work together, and I went to Florida to visit him. He was gracious enough to pick me up at the airport. We didn’t go to the office. We went to a great cigar shop and restaurant. We had a lengthy discussion about life, our families, and various other topics. After about 2 hours, as the nerdy accountant, I finally asked, “Hey when are we going to get to work… talking financials, org structures, etc.?” He calmly looked at me and said, “Jay, we are working. We are working on figuring out if we can be partners. Can we grow a business together, and more importantly, have fun doing it? Can we bring people along with us and impact clients together? Everything else will fall into place if that works.”
I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but at the time, I felt like I understood how to run a business, and his comment was so striking – because it’s true.
Here are some key takeaways from the episode:
- If you don’t have the capital structure right, then you have a big problem. If you want to grow, capital is the driving force behind growth. Too many firms have taken a short-term view in solving their capital issues instead of a long-term view which will ultimately drive longer-term EV. As a guy in his 60s, it’s impressive that he still talks in terms of decades not years.
- Culture is hard to describe. People don’t hear it; they feel it. Make sure you go out of your way to make people feel your culture if you want to do business with them.
- The fiduciary debate remains lost to most end clients, although it remains important. Do not take it for granted that the prospect has any idea what that concept is in implementation. Describing it properly to a prospect really differentiates a firm.
- When running a firm, the “noise” can distract the organization. It’s a cliché, but in watching firms’ day-to-day operations, they can easily get lost in things that do not matter to the client. In the world of business, clients only pay for what matters to them. If a particular aspect is not important to the client, then it holds no value in their eyes.