A leading RIA executive's might not see a return on his latest investment until Election Day.
Bronfman Rothschild CEO Neal Simon is running for United States Senator in Maryland as an independent, and is expected to face popular two-term incumbent, Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin, who received twice as many votes as his Republican opponent in 2012.
The race could draw attention outside the state because the 74-year-old Cardin faces a primary challenge from Chelsea Manning, the controversial transgender woman who was convicted of sharing thousands of military documents with Wikileaks, and three other Democrats.
Simon, a 49-year-old political novice who launched an exploratory committee in January, is staking his long-shot candidacy on an appeal to the political center as a non-partisan dismissive of both major parties.
Voters who consider themselves "center-left, center-right or a true moderate…no longer have a home," the RIA executive said in a statement announcing his candidacy. Democrats and Republicans, he continued, "have been pulled by their leaders to the extreme left and the extreme right, and those of us in the middle have been deserted."
American politics will never change, "if we keep electing the same people, from the same two parties, year after year, over and over again," according to Simon, who has been active in the Centrist Project, an organization advocating nonpartisan solutions to political and policy issues, "because the problem with our two-party system is the two-party system."
Senator Cardin "will be awfully difficult to beat," political analyst and chief global strategist for Horizon Investments Greg Valliere said when Simon formed his exploratory committee. "Cardin is an entrenched fixture in Maryland politics and is the heavy favorite in the general election."
To get on the ballot, Simon must present 10,000 eligible signatures by early August.
Simon's Senate web page makes no mention of his extensive experience in the financial advisory business, describing him only as a "business executive and community leader from Potomac Maryland."
The chief executive of Bronfman Rothschild, one of industry's larger RIAs with over $5 billion in AUM, Simon founded and was CEO of Highline Wealth Management from 2002 to 2015, when the firm merged with Bronfman.
Simon has maintained a high profile in the financial advisory business, addressing industry conferences and writing for industry publications, including a recent Voices column for Financial Planning on mergers and acquisitions.
Bronfman Rothschild has been an aggressive M&A player, a strategy that is expected to stay in place under Michael LaMena, the former president of HighTower Advisors who joined Bronfman last year as president and COO. LaMena is poised to step in as the firm's top executive while Simon runs for the Senate.