Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Model FA

Jun 29, 2021

Allen Darby is the founder and CEO of Alaris Acquisitions, a buyer advisory service that helps wealth management firms navigate the complexities of the mergers & acquisition process. Before founding Alaris, Allen launched a firm that pioneered helping accounting organizations move into the wealth management business. In 1999, Allen sold that business to First Global Inc. and subsequently established a wealth management firm which he grew by completing nine mergers and acquisitions transactions. To further focus his expertise on M&A, Allen sold his second business and joined United Capital in 2009, where he sourced and closed 27 transactions that represented approximately 40% of United Capital’s final sale valuation. Today at Alaris, Allen helps local, regional, and national wealth management firms who seek to grow their companies through acquisition.


Allen joins me today to discuss how partnering with other wealth management firms can help financial advisors grow their business to the next level. He describes how the M&A market has evolved throughout his career. He explains how advisors can evaluate potential partners and buyers and highlights three key areas they should consider before entering a partnership. He also discusses three critical things that motivate people to partner with other organizations and underscores the mindset that advisors should adopt when entering into a partnership.


“The industry is grouped at different asset levels. Firms in the half a billion dollar range are two to three-partner firms that made investments into their infrastructure.” - Allen Darby


This week on The Model FA Podcast:


  • Allen’s background and how he pivoted from studying biology in college to starting his career in financial services
  • How the M&A space has changed over the years
  • The autonomy trade-off involved in partnering with another firm
  • Different acquisition models and how they’re designed to produce specific economic outcomes
  • The monetary drivers of transactions and the three things that motivate businesses to partner with other organizations
  • Partnership opportunities and the qualities business owners should look for in potential partners
  • How partnering with another firm addresses succession issues
  • The “buyer-adviser” model and how it helps Alaris Acquisitions generate a profit
  • At what AUM level should financial advisors start considering a partnership with a larger firm
  • The smallest and largest AUMs Allen has transacted
  • How wealth management firms can move from the hundred-million mark in AUM to a billion dollars
  • The boogeyman and how the fear of losing control prevents advisors from partnering with other firms


Resources Mentioned:



Our Favorite Quotes:


  • “While there’s organic and market-driven growth, many firms grow through roll-up strategies.” - David DeCelle
  • “Ask yourself whether you’re willing to do the work it takes to move from your level to the next or if you’re better off partnering with someone who’s already built that infrastructure.” - Allen Darby
  • “If you’ve built a business that has at some point taken over your life, any firm that acquires you will centralize all of the things that weigh you down.” - Allen Darby
  • “Try to identify what you want your life to be like on the other side, because all of the different acquirers that exist have a unique model oriented around autonomy.” - Allen Darby
  • “Level of autonomy, economic model, and drive: getting clear on these things can get you through selecting a partner faster.” - Allen Darby


Connect with Allen Darby:




About the Model FA Podcast


The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes  to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams. 


Did you like this conversation? Then leave us a rating and a review in whatever podcast player you use. We would love your feedback, and your ratings help us reach more advisors with ideas for growing their practices, attracting great clients, and achieving a better quality of life. While you are there, feel free to share your ideas about future podcast guests or topics you’d love to see covered. 


Our Team:

President of Model FA, David DeCelle


If you like this podcast, you will love our community! Join the Model FA Community on Facebook to connect with like-minded advisors and share the day-to-day challenges and wins of running a growing financial services firm.