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$235M team leaves Waddell & Reed, opens ‘model’ office under new brand

Three financial advisors with nearly $235 million in assets under management left Waddell & Reed Financial for Mutual Securities, moving from a branch office to a new space they designed to launch their independent practice.

Elaine and Scott Manley of Financial Journey Partners held a grand opening celebration for clients at the new office on Aug. 25 after dropping their affiliations with Waddell & Reed. Elaine, the founder of the Bay Area, California-based practice, had spent 32 years with the broker-dealer, while her husband Scott had spent 18 years with the BD, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

Financial Journey Partners

Waddell & Reed, which is the No. 13 IBD with $476.6 million in 2017 revenue, has been dropping advisors in an effort to boost productivity while slashing expenses. In the case of the Manleys’ practice, however, the company noted in a statement that they “recently decided the time was right” to leave.

The husband-wife team made great relationships at the firm and hope “to continue those friendships as much as possible,” Elaine says. The practice’s San Jose-based office is already drawing amazed reactions from clients, and it comes after Fidelity connected them with their new IBD and corporate RIA, she added.

“We kept gravitating to the combination of eMoney with Fidelity,” Elaine says, noting their search lasted about a year before settling on Mutual Securities. “They’ve really been tremendous. We’re really pleased with the transition and how they’re implementing all this technology.”

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The practice generated the 11th highest production out of Waddell & Reed’s network of more than 1,100 advisors, according to Roger Hoadley, a spokesman for the Kansas City-area IBD. Their tenure with the firm “is testimony to both their and our belief in the value of financial planning,” he says.

“Our firm continues its evolution and, while that process will see departures and additions along the way, our focus is on executing on our strategy toward growth and advancement in support of our network of financial advisors around the country,” Hoadley said in an email.

The practice includes one other advisor, Linda Tjiputra, and five support staff, and they officially joined Mutual Securities on Aug. 22, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Financial Journey now operates from a 3,500-square-foot office which Scott Manley says they built to be “a model for the industry.”

Financial Journey Partners office

They provided photos showing the café where they invite clients to grab food and beverages, a conference room decorated with a blown-up picture of Mount Shasta taken by Scott Manley and advisors’ offices with 55-inch TVs and custom-built furniture.

“The most common response we get from clients when they first walk in is, ‘Wow,’” Scott Manley says. “We wanted an office with the ‘wow’ factor and where they could feel at home.”

The practice’s name came from a survey of clients, which showed that all of them preferred the word “financial” to the word “wealth,” as well as talks with a marketing consultant and their own wish to be partners to clients. They play on the word “journey” in the office with photos from around the world.

With the addition of Financial Journey, Mutual Securities has added five new practices this year with combined incoming client assets of more than $500 million, according to CEO Aaron Jasper. The IBD has 26 affiliated practices, and its RIA has more than $1.5 billion in AUM, according to its SEC Form ADV.

“We had the pleasure of getting introduced to Scott and Elaine Manley via our friends at Fidelity,” Jasper said in an email. He noted “a strong cultural fit” with the IBD and a shared belief in open architecture, which allows them “to better serve their clients while also focusing on the growth of their practice.”

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