In 2005, at age 26, Jody Team set up a practice in Abilene, Texas. This year, heading a three-advisor firm with $40 million in assets under management, Team has launched Deltamark Advisors, a "turnkey" RIA support firm.
DeltaMark has only one client thus far, but Team has big plans for the future.
"Eventually," he said, "we see Deltamark becoming a brand name for RIAs."
Team's inspiration came from his own experience. After working for four years at Briaud Financial Advisors, a high-profile Texas firm, he built up his own practice and began to receive feelers from advisors wishing to join him. "I did not want to have a firm with 100 advisors," he said. "My head would be on the chopping block for any of their compliance problems. But I did think I could help others to grow their own business."
In Team's plan for Deltamark, each affiliated advisor will independently structure clients' investment portfolios and financial plans. Deltamark will help with setting up the practice and provide ongoing support in technology, compliance, practice management, marketing, back office operations, client reports, and so on. "We'll handle all costs except what has to be done locally," Team said.
Advisors interested in Deltamark will pay a $15,000 fee, which will cover the initial registration period, and 20% of gross revenues. "Assuming local costs will be about 10% of revenues, advisors should bring home 65?5," Team said. "That compares very favorably with what most advisors who pull out of the brokerage world make when they become RIAs."
Other, more established firms offer various services to RIAs, so what makes Team confident of Deltamark's success?
"We're aiming at a niche market," Team said. "We're focusing on one-person shops, looking for advisors who need help getting set up. We want our advisors to look similar, which will help with branding in the future. They should be fee-only, getting compensated either by assets under management or flat quarterly fees. Typically, they'll have between $10 million and $25 million under management, when they start with us. Other firms want to work with larger RIAs." (Although Team declined to provide a name, he did say that the first outside RIA firm to work with Deltamark conforms to the profile outlined above.)
Team readily admits that his work with clients at Team Financial Strategies is a full-time occupation, leaving relatively little time for Deltamark. Therefore, he has brought in Randy Young as COO at Deltamark. Young, an experienced entrepreneur who retired after serving as the County Judge of McCulloch County, Texas, for 20 years, is similarly enthusiastic about Deltamark's prospects. "New RIAs need to learn a lot about different products and services," he said, "but they don't have a lot of time for research. We offer what they need."
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