After somehow finding themselves in a somewhat brief 10-minute aside about Kraft Mac & Cheese, Taco Bell, Disneyland, and waterparks, Clint Walkner and Nate Condon dive into another installment of their journey of going from working in the Broker-Dealer (BD) space to owning and operating a Fee-Only Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm.
In this episode of B-D to Fee-Only RIA, Clint and Nate focus on scaling in terms of staffing, spacing, and technology. After starting as just Nate and Clint for the first five years, Walkner Condon grew to a third advisor in 2017 and a fourth advisor in 2018. The trend of adding an advisor for a third consecutive year in 2019, with the addition of Keith Poniewaz, who was the first member of Walkner Condon's team of U.S. expat financial advisors. Then in 2020, the firm grew by two advisors – both of whom joined the expat team – as well as the firm's first full-time marketing staff member. In four years, Walkner Condon had gone from three total staff members to nine, necessitating another addition in 2021 – a second full-time client service specialist.
That brings us to mid-2022. A move to add another advisor is in the works as of the publishing of this episode, bringing about another scaling concern – space constraints. At soon-to-be 11 total staff members split between two workspaces in the Walkner Condon building on Madison's Monroe Street, space is quickly running out. Walkner Condon moved to the current space in July 2016 and built out the separate suite in the building on Monroe St. and Glenway St. in 2018. Based on general consensus, 11 people between the two spaces seems to be the maximum for the current setup, which means another space option is in the not-do-far-off future.
And all that growth has also brought on the need to become more efficient with technology. One of the biggest pieces of that technology is the client web portal. Starting in mid-2021, Clint – the de-facto tech guru of the team – began the search to potentially replace Walkner Condon's existing web portal. That search ultimately culminated in early 2022 with the rollout of the new client portal, one of the biggest technology moves the firm had made, especially considering how large it had grown.
While that's the what – and not-so-concise summary – of the scaling over the last several years, listen to the episode to get Clint and Nate's take on how it happened and why.
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