Margaret “Mag” Black-Scott left a large footprint in the brokerage channel as a former vice chairman of Morgan Stanley’s global wealth management business.
During her three decades at the financial giant, she learned to appreciate the resiliency of the registered investment advisor business model no matter what the business climate.
She learned to appreciate it so much that she became an RIA.
In January, she launched Beverly Hills Wealth Management and has spent the year establishing a firm whose advisors are known for their experience, simplicity of advice, and for having their clients’ absolute trust. The Los Angeles-based firm targets high-net-worth individuals, small companies, institutions and pension funds.
Black-Scott said in an interview this week that she p eventually plans to go national.
“There has got to be a sacred trust between the client and advisor,” she said. “Money allows a person to live the way he or she wants to live and do they things he or she wants to do. If someone is threatened in that area, it crosses over in the other areas of their lives.”
Black-Scott said she began to see clients, and their money, move toward to the independent channel before she left Morgan Stanley, as clients pushed for more comprehensive wealth management services.
As the 2008/2009 market downturn worsened, many clients realized they did not understand all of the investments in their portfolios, Black-Scott said. It doesn’t sit well with her, who is also an adjunct professor of financial planning at Jacksonville University, for clients to be so unsophisticated about the markets that they lose sleep over their investments.
Black-Scott says she is looking to grow her firm by adding advisors. The firm already has two, and could add a couple more by yearend, she said. Plans call to have 12 in place over the next year, and 100 at the firm in about five years. She plans to target those with good compliance records, track records of at least 10 years and a knack for communicating clearly and comfortably with clients.
“There was a time when we thought the independent space was populated by advisors who couldn’t make it in the wirehouses,” Black-Scott said. “Twenty years ago that may have been the case, but that certainly is not the case now.”
Don’t misunderstand: Black-Scott said that she enjoyed her time at Morgan Stanley, where she started as a financial advisor, became a branch manager and eventually moved up through the ranks to vice chairman. When she retired in 2008, she used the time to plan her next move. Black-Scott says she wanted to get back into banking and finance, and the RIA model seemed to fit with the current times, while making the most of her expertise.
A thirst for new frontiers seems to run in the Black-Scott household. She is married to former NASA astronaut and engineer David Scott, who commanded the Apollo 15 lunar mission, and drove on the moon.
One thing Black-Scott’s own journey has taught her is that advisors often love the business, but hate the paperwork. Beverly Hills Wealth Management uses Fidelity Investments as its custodian, and National Financial as its clearing entity, but Black-Scott said she wants to give the firm’s advisors the flexibility to use other custodians if their clients prefer a different firm.
She also envisions giving them some ownership in the firm, to preserve the entrepreneurial spirit that advisors are known for, while upholding the firm’s core values.
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Also on the move this week:
Fund Evaluation Group, based in Cincinnati, hired Jere Whiteley as a vice president of advisor development. Working out of its Chicago office, Whiteley will focus on expanding distribution of FEG-managed portfolios and alternative investment solutions to financial advisors. Previously, Whiteley was a regional director with Russell Investments.
Lending Club, based in Redwood City, Calif., appointed Joseph Toms as managing director. He was a managing principal of Hilspen Capital Management, a San Francisco-based provider of asset management market research.
Richard Weylman Inc., based in Boca Grande, Fla., appointed Tammy Kemp president. Kemp, who joined Weylman in 2005, was previously executive vice president and head of coaching.
Robert F. Collins, CFA, has joined Wilmington Trust as director of tax-exempt fixed income management, and senior portfolio manager. He is re-joining Wilmington Trust’s Wealth Advisory Services business, where he worked for 17 years in fixed-income management, including several as head of the tax-exempt division of the Fixed Income Group. Before his return to Wilmington Trust, Collins was a senior vice president at Delaware Investments in Philadelphia, where he was a senior portfolio manager of tax-exempt municipal bonds in mutual funds and institutional accounts representing approximately $4 billion in assets under management.