Brooke Southall

Managing Principal, Reporter

brooke@riabiz.com
415.389.8207

Brooke is known locally in Sausalito, Calif. as a cyclist, houseboater, and the guy with the huge dogs. On the web he's known as a regular voice on the happenings of the RIA business. He started RIABiz in 2009 after deciding the industry could use a more focused channel of information, which has proven to be the case.

He oversees the flow of articles on RIABiz, but still gets to spend a considerable amount of time reporting and writing. Somehow he manages to pump out story after story despite his frequently crashing Windows laptop and his hunt-and-peck typing method.

Articles written by Brooke Southall


Adam Birenbaum: Each and every partner firm that has joined Focus has gone in with eyes wide open.

Why Focus Financial is risking it all -- including the advantages of privacy and private stock -- for a successful IPO
RIAs are perhaps being held in place by just those two elements, but with $1 billion valuation on the line, the liquidity event is taking on a life of its own

Tuesday 8.30.16
Mark Casady continues to pull big levers to cut costs, regain momentum and get the stock price back to where it once was.

What to make of LPL freezing the wages of most staffers -- and some reaction to the company's explanation
Cost savings may be less the issue than the desire to turn a page, change a culture and even headhunt Google- and Goldman Sachs-like visionary execs

Friday 8.19.16
Brooke Southall: Our articles won't be confused with press releases, get obscured by takeover ads, be interrupted by pay walls, or be cheapened by the presence of sponsored content pretending that it's not pretending to be real.

RIABiz turns seven, with a central new 'problem'
With our inauspicious 2009 start year long gone, we see the chance to achieve a bigger destiny as RIAs rise and legacy publications embrace pay-for-play content models

Wednesday 8.10.16
Elliot Shmukler is the first top-tier talent to leave Wealthfront.

Talent exodus hits Wealthfront including heads of product, marketing and compliance
Elliot Shmukler is credited with much of the product development that vaulted the robo from $150 million to $3.5 billion

Tuesday 7.26.16
Brian Amidei: We'll still be in the business, we will still service our client needs.

HighTower blindsides its own Palm Desert team with pink slips leaving pregnant questions in the arid air
The Chicago roll-up cites improprieties by its partner-employees but recruiters find the timing interesting as the team was actively seeking an exit

Saturday 7.16.16
Eli Broverman: That's a part of what she's here to do -- implement all the best practices of a public company.

Betterment makes CFO hire with $20 billion AUM 'line of sight' and IPO mindfulness
As the NYC robo hits $5 billion ahead of its rivals, Amy Shapero will deploy hundreds of millions en route to a stock symbol

Friday 7.15.16
Kathleen McBride: [Non fiduciaries] want to be able to check off the box and in so doing find ways to work around the rule.

DOL rule still has feet tangled in the struggle to define difference between 'suitability' and 'fiduciary'
Fiduciares keep flunking a definition of useful accountability and the giant brokerage lobby keeps exploiting its 'F'

Monday 6.27.16
Charles Biderman: Our shareholders have expressed disappointment that they would now be forced to accept a different investment strategy.

How Charles Biderman hopes to parlay his 'insane' firing by AdvisorShares from his five-star ETF into a win
TrimTabs' CEO is taking competitve action against the Maryland-based asset manager of $1.1 billion and seeking redemption by luring the investors he served into a startup ETF

Monday 6.13.16
Pete Hess [at Nasdaq opening bell with Advent board chair Stephanie DiMarco in 2012]: I'm going to take six months off after 23 years. I want to come back fully regenerated.

Pete Hess steps down at Advent Software just as Axys gets whodathunkit fix
Dave Welling will co-head Advent with Robert Roley as Black Diamond reporting is introduced to to Axys users

Wednesday 5.25.16
Bill Butterfield: I'm sure other wirehouses won't be far behind.

Why there's more to the UBS-SigFig deal than meets Sergio Ermotti's gimlet eye
UBS's New York and Switzerland C-suiters tromped through the San Francisco robo's digs for months before striking this bellwether deal

Tuesday 5.17.16
Mark Tibergien: That's probably our highest priority -- an API store.

Mark Tibergien reveals big Pershing robo future as his firm partners with Vanare, SigFig and Jemstep -- and follows TD Ameritrade's open API lead
In speech at St. Regis in San Francisco, the BNY Mellon RIA unit CEO says Pershing is taking a deeper robo plunge by signing on marquee names

Wednesday 5.4.16
Tom Kimberly: It was my decision.

Betterment informs RIA clients of new $2,400 license fee then cancels it, for now, after advisor blowback
During an intense 48-hour period and 'dozens' of conversations with RIA principals, Tom Kimberly capitulated to advisors who say the fee outstrips the features

Friday 4.29.16
Charles Goldman: They're buying the management team.

Charles Goldman's turnaround of Genworth castoff leads Chinese investor to pay stunning price
AssetMark grew from $21 billion of AUM to $29 billion but PE firms made quick 300% return

Tuesday 4.12.16
Peter Mallouk: I basically said: I've got a bit of a monster here and what am I going to do?

What to make of Peter Mallouk's sweeping deal with Tony Robbins -- and where the unlikely pairing goes from here
After deliberately relinquishing his cherished anonymity, the CEO of $18-billion AUM is using the Robbins deals as part of a larger charge from the bulrushes

Tuesday 4.5.16
Michael Kitces: By definition, you’re answering questions for free from people who would rather type their questions into Google or a free site rather than pay someone.

Michael Kitces blasts Investopedia for squeezing free advice out of RIAs and the advice super-site responds
The industry blogger says the routing of web traffic and its monetization works for the publication, not fo advisor practices

Friday 4.1.16
Sharron Ash: It's virtually impossible to have an arbitrator's decision overturned on appeal, and suddenly, court may be the much preferred path.

After being jostled by a lawsuit, CFP Board makes bold play to inoculate itself against future ones
Due caution or paranoia? Either way, a sour whiff of FINRA self-protectionism pervades

Friday 3.25.16
Ken Fisher: We want people that believe in the firm. [This photo from Fisher's blog may reflect a desire to spend more time pursuing his passion -- forestry.]

Why Ken Fisher still plans to work a 60-hour week despite handing off CEO role to 'badass'
The iconoclastic founder of the $65-billion RIA will write, research and mix with the troops, remaining omnipresent as Damian Ornani ascends to the CEO spot

Wednesday 3.23.16
Elliott Weissbluth: Liz and I are working the deal-making together. This isn't assigned downstream to a sales team

With a reminiscent fire, Elliot Weissbluth personally leads a new charge to buy RIAs
The CEO of HighTower, with a big assist from Liz Nesvold and a $150 million line of credit, is on the prowl for large practices

Friday 3.18.16
Robo-advisors are supposed to reach millennials but their automation carries over into the persona of their websites.

The ironic reason robo-advisors aren't gorging on assets -- a determination to dictate bloodlessly to millennials
Whether you're talking B2B or B2C, the eRIA robo-advisor website personae are dull, disconnected and trying too hard to act grown-up

Tuesday 3.15.16
Andrew Arnott: We wouldn't add value if we sold [advisory services of] Franklin Templeton or American Funds who are already in the space.

How John Hancock's DFA ETF deal is really the culmination of an old and effective Manulife strategy
Andrew Arnott can boast 17 straight quarters of net inflows that leave him with $80 billion, up from a 2008 nadir of $19 billion

Wednesday 3.9.16
Min Zhang: It seems advisors don't want us to stop there; the want us to provide solutions. And I think they're right

Yodlee schools RIA tech startups at The Vault and RIABiz stops by
Hedgeable and Totum were among attendees at the San Francisco brain-in where Yodlee exposes its API and lends its experience

Monday 3.7.16
Susan Theder may be that final feminine piece of the puzzle in Lightyear-izing Advisor Group

Valerie Brown re-poaches Cetera's Susan Theder cuing up AIG female trifecta
The Advisor Group executive chairman grabs her old chief marketing officer who had managed the unmanageable 'Cetera' brand and connected with advisors

Thursday 2.25.16
Michael Glowacki: You say, 'this is my succession plan' and they say, 'you sold me!'

How Rob Francais is convincing RIAs to sign on the dotted line with Aspiriant -- no money down
The CEO of the $9 billion RIA grabbed nearly $1 billion of AUM from Hokanson and Glowacki with stock swaps

Friday 2.19.16
Steve Janachowski: I don't take the phone calls or I wouldn't get anything done.

Why only 10% of elite RIAs are receptive to fund wholesalers yet depend on a handful of good ones
Fund wholesalers say the research based on the FT 300 distorts reality and RIAs admit liking what wholesalers provide under the right conditions

Saturday 2.6.16
Justin Wisz: It's the same type of tracking Google has on you and me ... If we had that, we'd have the Holy Grail.

Vestorly makes play for RIA browsers with $4.1 million of VC funding -- tiptoeing past prowling issue
Justin Wisz's robo-marketing for advisors already serves RIAs like Halbert Hargrove but now he's reaching for a higher rung of robotics

Thursday 1.28.16
Valerie Brown: AIG products don't and won't get special treatment.

Why Lightyear's purchase of AIG Advisor Group isn't a Cetera-type fixer-upper case and how Donald Marron will respond accordingly
The New York-based private equity firm picked up ING's brokers in 2009 for a song after market meltdown but AIG networks has intangible value as a survivor

Tuesday 1.26.16
Tracy Calder spent 18 years at UBS before leading efforts at JP Morgan Securities.

LPL keeps on stockpiling tip-top compliance execs, with JP Morgan's ex-CCO the latest
Tracy Calder joins a lengthening line of hires that follow a deluge of SEC fines

Tuesday 1.26.16
The tangible damage that a loss of money can do in our lives is often substantially less threatening than the amorphously intangible fear of losing control of some portion of our destiny, our pride and our sense of security.

Three ways RIAs can reassure clients when they're feeling none-too-assured themselves
The objective isn't to cure the disease but to treat the myriad of symptoms being experienced until healing can occur

Friday 1.22.16
David Selig: We worked to figure out what to do when both firms competed for the same clients. Finally, we just decided to compete.

Two RIA M&A firms merge -- sort of -- when they're not competing head-to-head
Park Sutton and Advice Dynamics Partners are trying out the power of two, without too much heavy paperwork

Tuesday 1.19.16
Mitchell Kovitz: With access to Focus’ resources and capital, we believe Kovitz will be able to enter into its next phase of growth while maintaining our independence.

Focus Financial bags $3.1 billion, 50-person RIA and why it 'really is impressive'
Kovitz Investment Group becomes the roll-up's fourth Chicago holding -- and maybe the most ambitious

Friday 1.15.16
The 2014 RIA hype frenzy may have peaked when suddenly Tony Robbins was everywhere.

Why the RIA business starts 2016 without its swagger: 2014 and 2015
What's hot right now? Almost nothing and nobody. But it might be a 'healthy correction' of equilibrium

Monday 1.11.16
Michael J. Cleary: One of the things our clients are going to be looking for in the next five to 10 years is what's next for Cleary Gull.

An $8.4 billion wealth manager emerges in Milwaukee after old RBC spinoff, Cleary Gull, finds local love
Johnson Financial Group adds 40 advisors and $2.1 billion but does a reverse branding merger

Thursday 1.7.16
Brooke Southall: The RIA business continues to have two big problems. Maybe there is one solution.

Need an up-to-the-minute 2016 RIA model? Read the large print in Brooke's hypothetical Southall Advisors RIA brochure
In a world of undifferentiated wealth managers, a culture of millennial-style openness addresses the core issues -- trust and accountability

Wednesday 1.6.16
Tony Sirianni: You get views by not selling out.

Tony Sirriani buys AdvisorHUB
The founder and former CEO of Washington Wealth Management vows not to 'sell out' but AdvisorHUB's new business model is still being developed

Tuesday 1.5.16
Brooke Southall: My fake ordeals for this Christmas trip were the high airfares and limited flights that obliged me to fly into Manchester, N.H.

Missive from New England: The Mill Valley-to-Maine scenery change yields its annual payload of inspiration
My big financial challenge was buying Christmas gifts with more money than ideas

Tuesday 12.29.15

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