My guest on today’s podcast is Sheryl Rowling. Sheryl is the founder of Rowling and Associates, an independent advisory firm in southern California that manages more than $300 million of assets under management, and provides a combination of investment management, financial planning, and tax preparation services for clients.
What’s unique about Sheryl, though, is not simply that she’s built a successful advisory firm with a team of 12, but that in an effort to try and make her firm’s investment management process more efficient, she decided to create her own rebalancing software… and then sell it to other financial advisors as the software solution we now know to be Total Rebalance Expert, or TRX, which was subsequently acquired just a few years ago by Morningstar.
In this episode, Sheryl talks about what it was like building a technology firm (while running her advisory firm as well!), how building an advisor technology firm differs from building a traditional advisory firm, the challenging demands of needing to iterate rapidly in a competitive software landscape, and the personal toll that it takes in trying to simultaneously run both an advisory firm and an advisor technology firm at the same time.
In addition, we talk in depth about the structure of Sheryl’s CPA financial planning firm, why they decided to offer – and charge separately – for tax preparation services in addition to financial planning, the core technology stack of MoneyGuidePro, Junxure CRM, and PortfolioCenter (bundled, of course, to TRX for rebalancing) that she uses to operate the firm, and how she positions her comprehensive financial planning offering to her clients as “we answer every financial question you have, and the ones you don’t even know to ask!”
And be certain to listen to the end, where Sheryl discusses her “As If” rule to decide what to focus on and how to build her ideal practice, and the newest solution she’s launching for fellow financial advisors, to purchase her investment team’s model portfolios and due diligence research for a flat annual fee – which, you can then implement in your own rebalancing software, but without the AUM fees of a full-blown TAMP provider.
And so whether you’re looking for fresh perspective on a comprehensive financial planning firm with a strong tax focus, or have ever wondering specifically what it takes to launch an advisor technology solution “on the side”, I hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast!