From Insurance Sales to $8B RIA: A Northwestern Mutual Breakaway Story

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Mindy Diamond

A conversation with Andy Schwartz, CFP®, Principal, Bleakley Financial Group

As a college student selling insurance, Andy Schwartz didn’t envision that someday he’d be at the helm of an $8B RIA—but he did know he was on to something.

Growing up in a lower middle-class family in New Jersey who didn’t “have much” but worked hard for all that they did have, Andy learned early on that success isn’t necessarily about “where you go to college or where you grow up.”

Andy went from selling just insurance at Northwestern Mutual to managing $3.5B in assets as the leader of one of the largest groups at the firm. After nearly 3 decades, he and the team left Northwestern in 2014 to go fully independent as Bleakley Financial Group.

Today, Bleakley has $8B in assets under management, and Andy, a $10mm+ revenue producer, has been recognized by Forbes, Barron’s and the Financial Times as one of the industry’s top advisors.

In this episode, he shares his incredible journey with Louis Diamond—a narrative that exemplifies how hard work and determination can lead to good fortune. They discuss:

Andy Schwartz Bleakley

  • How he came to the realization that he could do more for clients than just insurance—and how that thinking transformed to the investments and planning business he later built.
  • When he decided to break from Northwestern Mutual—and how the limitations of working for an insurance-focused broker dealer impacted his team’s ability to serve clients.
  • How the firm grew from $3B to $8B since going independent—and what he credits for that extraordinary growth.
  • Why Bleakley opted to become a hybrid RIA firm—and what he sees as the benefits of being multi-custodial.
  • What an advisor needs to consider prior to making the leap to independence—and how setting your ego aside to fully understand your skillset is key to identifying your path.
  • Why an advisor would opt to join Bleakley or a similar platform model—and how it compares to affiliating directly with a broker dealer.
  • Why he remains an advisor vs transitioning to a full-time CEO—and how that decision has impacted the success of the firm.

In all that Andy shares in this episode there is one message that resonates throughout: Being thoughtful in your decisions and focusing on the long-term are key to guiding success.

It’s a unique spin on business growth that has relevant takeaways for every advisor.




Andy Schwartz CFP®
Principal with Bleakley Financial Group

Andy Schwartz is a co-founder and Principal with Bleakley Financial Group and has been a wealth management advisor for over 35 years.

Andy Schwartz’s mission is clear: To make a difference in the lives of families, friends and community, to assist his clients in pursuing their goals and objectives, to understand the unique situation of each client and helping identify their needs, educating them, offering strategies, respecting their assets, monitoring their progress and keeping in touch.
And, above all else, to treat everyone he encounters with the utmost care, integrity and courtesy.

Industry Recognition
Barron’s Top 100 Independent Advisors – 2020
Barron’s Top 1200 Financial Advisors – 2018, 2019, & 2020
Financial Times Top 400 Financial Advisors – 2018, 2019, & 2020
Forbes Top 250 Wealth Advisors – 2020
Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors – 2018, 2019, & 2020
NJBIZ Executive of the Year – 2019

Invest in Others – 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Finalist

Andy Schwartz was an early supporter of New Jersey SEEDS, an education-based nonprofit founded to confront the lack of opportunity for high-achieving, low-income students. For Andy, it is powerful to participate in transformational programming that allows students to blossom and reach their full potential, regardless of their home zip codes.

Andy splits his time between Montclair and Spring Lake NJ and Singer Island, FL. He has 3 adult daughters and enjoys good wine, the outdoors and living a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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