Dynasty CEO Trumpets Florida HQ Switch, Expects Further Hirings

Tom Burroughes Group Editor October 4, 2019

Dynasty CEO Trumpets Florida HQ Switch, Expects Further Hirings

A firm that has moved its HQ to Florida, and another that has operated from the Sunshine State for some time, talk about trends in the US wealth management space.

Dynasty Financial Partners’ recent move to its corporate headquarters at St Petersburg in Florida has been a positive hit with staff, and the firm intends to continue a rapid hiring pace in coming months, its chief executive has said.

There are about 30 people working in St Petersburg and that figure could rise “considerably”, with its offices having a capacity for 80 people, Shirl Penney told journalists in New York City last week. 

“We have another 15 roles to fill between now and the end of the year,” Penney, whose business, which provides support for independent wealth firms across the country, said. He was speaking alongside Tash Elwyn, president and CEO of Raymond James, the US-listed wealth management group. Raymond James also has its headquarters in Florida.

In August, Dynasty Financial Partners appointed Justin Weinkle as chief financial officer. Other senior appointments included Jennifer Dorgan (head of strategic analysis); Kelly Berenbaum (VP, relationship management); Jill Russo (VP, compliance); Holly Eck (VP, human resources); and Cheryl Quinn (VP, outsourced CFO).

The Florida HQ move came at an increasingly busy time for Dynasty. The firm has developed a network of wealth firms and provides financing and other services. Its business model gives it a ringside seat on the story of how more advisors and clients want independent help. It works with both breakaways and already existing independent RIAs. The firm delivers wealth management and technology platforms as well as an open architecture platform. The investment platform supports RIAs who manage their own portfolio or those who use Dynasty's outsourced chief investment office.

“It seems all roads are leading to more independence….and that is a big theme of Wall Street,” Penney said. “We are going to find a lot of new entrants.”

Dynasty’s business model has benefited from the “break-out” phenomenon of advisors quitting wire-houses and other firms to form their own advisory firms, finding that they need capital, tech support, guidance and other outsourced services that they once had in-house. A number of firms, such as Kestra and LPL Financial, are building RIA and other platforms to support advisors.

Last year, Dynasty launched its Dynasty Capital Strategies program, overseeing advisory work for RIAs seeking to tap into capital markets. Last June, the firm unveiled Dynasty Enterprise Group, a division within Dynasty focused exclusively on “network partner” firms with more than $1 billion of assets under management. Penney has in the past told Family Wealth Report that he expects more consolidation among RIAs at some point.

He was asked whether he thinks advisors should accept private equity backing, and struck a cautious note saying that this can raise problems later on, given that PE houses typically have a time horizon over, say, five years before exiting a business. 

“Over the next 10 years, advisor-run firms not owned by private equity will get to real scale and it will be interesting to see what happens. I think such firms will win on a disproportionate basis,” he said. 

Raymond James’ Elwyn also mused on the shifting balance of buying and selling of RIA businesses, and how changing demographics and economics played into that. “The average advisor is 55 years’ old. Today there are far more buyers than sellers in my view. But in five to 10 years’ there is going to be an inflection point and a retirement tsunami...with far more sellers than buyers and that is going to be a big problem in valuations,” he said. 

Some of the trends at work, such as rising advisor ages, will make tech-enabled wealth advice even more necessary, Elwyn said.

Sunshine State
Penney enthused about the higher quality of life that Dynasty Financial Partners' employees enjoy in St Petersburg. Housing and other costs were cheaper so that, even with some remuneration levels lower in Florida, employees were better off in net terms. This factor, he said, is important for attracting younger advisors into an industry.

Another reason for choosing “St Pete”, as its new headquarters are called, is that Dynasty wanted to operate in a place with a similarly tolerant and accepting culture as its old HQ, Penney continued. His fellow panelist said that Raymond James has had a “long-standing focus on diversity and inclusion”.

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