CEO Larry Miles Focuses Firm On Client Care, Midwest Values And Selective Teammate Growth, Shares Vision For Thriving Communities And Country
Choreo launched earlier this year without much fanfare. But the firm – which is the product of members of the current leadership team, a group of its advisors and Parthenon Capital purchasing the wealth management units of RSM – is a bit of a sleeping giant, managing nearly $12 billion despite having fewer than 50 advisors in 28 locations across the country.
Recently, it made some news by teaming with FMG to launch Canvas, a platform created for Choreo advisors that will allow them to streamline their marketing efforts. Meantime, it continues to ramp up hiring internally for what many industry insiders believe will be a boom of M&A activity in the coming months, thanks in part to Parthenon’s deep pockets.
We spoke to Choreo CEO Larry Miles recently to discuss the firm. Here’s a snippet of our conversation.
WSR: What have been your key accomplishments year-to-date in laying the groundwork for Choreo to grow as a standalone firm going forward?
Miles: I appreciate your confidence that we’ve had some accomplishments year-to-date. And I think we have.
Our focus has been, and will always be, on taking care of our clients, their communities and our teammates. To do that, we need the best people in the industry.
Year to date, we’ve aggressively added even more experienced teammates throughout the country. And we still have more than a dozen open positions. We’ve also invested in technology and plan to expand our services to include tax preparation and bill pay.
Thanks to our teammates’ accomplishments over the last 20 years, we are hearing from many advisors and advisory firms interested in joining Choreo. We expect to selectively add advisors across the country as we seek to redefine the RIA place in the advisory landscape.
WSR: How is Choreo able to support the needs of clients who own successful private companies before, during and after a liquidity event for their businesses?
Miles: Our roots are at the intersection of wealth management and taxes. Many of our financial professionals serve first-generation owners of highly successful, closely held businesses. Such clients tend to have a large portion of their net worth tied up in the value of these firms. As a result, they often need estate and tax planning strategies that will eventually allow them to convert a significant liquidity event into sustainable and generational wealth.
We operate as an integrated team focused on the complete life cycle of successful business owners. It’s all in our name. “Choreo” reflects our ongoing mission to choreograph the financial well-being of our clients and their families.
WSR: Why has Choreo chosen to focus on serving HNW clients in primarily secondary geographical markets across the country? Why are high-net and ultra-high-net-worth clients in these markets not adequately served by Wall Street firms and family offices?
Miles: Secondary markets? I won’t tell our team you said that!
Choreo was born to a CPA firm, which got its start nearly 100 years ago in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We’re incredibly proud of our Midwest roots and values, and we believe they serve our clients well. We also believe that there are people in towns and cities across the U.S. who need our help, and we will see that they get it.
Wall Street’s geographic focus concerns us far less than the products they manufacture. They are all too often concerned about what sells, rather than what serves. And that is not in client’s best interests – no matter where they live.
WSR: What types of firms is Choreo seeking to acquire, and what kinds of financial advisors are you looking to recruit between now and the end of next year? How does your acquisition and recruiting plan ladder to your broader growth vision?
Miles: Again, it’s all about clients. Our vision is to redefine the advisory landscape by creating a $100 billion planning-focused RIA with a national scope. Not because bigger is better. But because as we grow, we will be able to help more people, with more things.
We are not a rollup. We are not an aggregator. We will grow by taking care of our clients and teammates. As we do that, we fully expect to meet advisors and advisory firms who want to join our team and we will selectively invite some to do that.
WSR: If there were anything you could change about the broader wealth management industry today, what would it be?
Miles: I want fiduciaries to recognize their ability to more significantly impact their communities. Taking care of our clients is critical, and we can do so much more.
When we help our clients, that helps their communities. When communities across the country are engaged, our country thrives.
I believe it is time for fiduciaries to unite under new leadership. To form a new coalition. One that will aggressively assert the best interests of our citizens and create a new definition of success.
Janeesa Hollingshead, Executive Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org