My guest on today’s podcast is Rita Robbins. Rita is the Founder and President of Affiliated Advisors, a Super-OSJ with Royal Alliance that provides support to 90 financial advisors and collectively oversees $3.5 billion in assets under advisement.
What’s unique about Rita, though, is how as the founder of one of the first woman-owned Super-OSJs nearly 30 years ago, she has witnessed first-hand the evolution of the Super-OSJ model from providing local oversight of brokers selling proprietary products, into back-office platforms that provide an increasingly open-architecture product shelf coupled with compliance, technology, marketing, business management, and other support to independent financial advisors.
In this episode, we talk in-depth about how Rita experienced the evolution of broker-dealer platforms throughout her decades-long career where the technology and compliance, that was once the core of what Super-OSJs provided, is now increasingly supplanted by more in-depth services to support their advisors, how Rita has grown and scaled her platform by focusing on 3 levers of recruiting advisors, organic growth from the advisors and platform itself, and inorganic growth from advisors buying and selling practices with about half being internal sales, and how the growth of Rita’s firm accelerated in the pandemic because of the middle- and back-office support it provides its advisors through technology, including and especially the ability to work remotely as so many banks and wirehouses were ill-prepared for the digital transition.
We also talk about how, despite not being a financial advisor herself or ever working with clients, Rita became very familiar with the needs of the advisor community after spending 10 years on the road as a wholesaler, which gave her the confidence to launch an OSJ, how Rita was inspired to start her own OSJ after helping an insurance company launch their own broker-dealer platform and realizing that she wanted to have more control over her own success which could only be done if she went out on her own, and how Rita has expanded the leadership of her platform to include 2 new partners that each have their own specializations so the new partners expand – rather than merely dividing up – the capabilities of the firm.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Rita shares how she dealt with the early-career pressures of having to show up and even dress the same way men did to prove she was trustworthy, how Rita was able to overcome the trauma of discovering a business partner and long-term friend had been embezzling money from the firm that was only discovered when a team member discovered their health insurance had lapsed because the business partner wasn’t paying the premiums, and how Rita still struggles with the balance between getting caught up on things that can’t really be controlled and giving time for business challenges and business cycles to work themselves through to the next stage of growth.
So, whether you’re interested in learning about how Rita structures her broker-dealer platform to support advisors, why Rita believes that Affiliated Advisors’ values helps her platform stand out amongst others in the industry, or why Affiliated Advisors deliberately does not have an independent RIA, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Rita Robbins.