From Start-Up to $31B Behemoth RIA: The Catalysts Behind the Growth of Mega-Firm Cerity Partners

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Mindy Diamond

A conversation with Kurt Miscinski, President, Cerity Partners

What do you get when you cross a successful wealth management executive with a New York billionaire?

You get a spectacular $31B firm.

For Kurt Miscinski, his meeting with New York-based billionaire and entrepreneur Howard Milstein could possibly be called serendipitous.

Because at that time, Kurt was considering leaving his management role at Deutsche Bank and Howard was looking to make long-term strategic investments in the wealth management space.

As a high-profile executive at Deutsche Bank, Kurt certainly had options. But instead he saw the early potential of building a full-service wealth management RIA firm that can serve ultra-high net worth families, executives and companies.

So in 2009 HPM Partners was born—a firm with zero assets but with Kurt’s crystal clear vision and the backing of investor Howard Milstein.

After starting from scratch and growing to $9B in less than a decade, renowned private equity firm Lightyear Capital invested in HPM and then later rebranded the firm to “Cerity Partners.”

Today, Cerity manages over $31B in assets, a result of their strategic organic growth initiatives complemented by an inorganic growth strategy that led to a string of high-profile M&A transactions.

Kurt Miscinski

Kurt shares the story with Louis Diamond, starting with the early stages of HPM on through to Cerity Partners today, including:

  • The key drivers that led him to consider leaving Deutsche Bank—and why he saw such opportunity in the RIA space.
  • The gaps that HPM Partners filled in 2009—and how that evolved to form what Cerity Partners is today.
  • The advantages Cerity has over firms like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Ayco in serving corporate executives and offering corporate financial wellness services—and how “operating like a global professional services firm” with full access to all solutions available on the “Street” allows them to serve clients without conflict of interests.
  • The importance of culture at Cerity—and how being referred to as “partners and colleagues” instead of “employees” empowers them to think and act like business owners.
  • The real value of external capital partners—and why Kurt feels the perspective and credibility these firms add to the business is an important byproduct of their relationship.

Kurt shares a unique vision on growth and how it’s impacted by culture—one that is based on “running to something rather than away from something.” It’s an incredible story with key learnings for advisors and business owners alike.

 

 

 LISTEN TO ADDITIONAL EPISODES IN THIS SERIES

 

Kurt Miscinski
President, Cerity Partners

Kurt is the President of Cerity Partners, responsible for the strategic direction and management of the firm. He has more than twenty years of experience in the financial services industry. Kurt chairs the Operating Committee and Executive Committee.

Prior to co-founding Cerity Partners, Kurt was a Managing Director and an Executive Committee Member of Deutsche Bank’s Private Wealth Management division. In this role, he managed Deutsche Bank’s US wealth management offices and was responsible for the oversight of client relationships, including the development and servicing of investment, credit, and wealth management offerings for individuals, families, and institutions.

Prior to Deutsche Bank’s acquisition of Scudder Kemper Investments in 2001, Kurt was the Chief Operating Officer for Scudder Private Investment Counsel, an $18 billion asset management division that catered to family offices, wealthy individuals and non-profit institutions.

Kurt received his B.S. from the University of Illinois and M.B.A. from DePaul University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of YPO, Vistage, and Business Executives for National Security.

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