ten to music and do all those things thathelp us get through it,” he said.
Several decades ago, he and otherpartners went without paychecks forsome time “to ensure the business wouldkeep operating and that the employeeswould keep getting paid,” he shared.“We were confronted with the challengeof what to do. We … ended up selling thebusiness to Moss Adams. That was oursafe harbor,” Tibergien said.
“That was an extraordinarily stressfultime,” he added. “But on the other hand,it teaches you some things about the decisions you have to make in times of crisis.
“First, focus on your core. Don’t forgetwhat you are in business for. All the otherthings you’ve thought about doing shouldbe put on hold,” Tibergien explained.
“Second, truly support and valuewhat’s most key to the business. Formost firms that’s the people who workfor the company. You have to be thinkingabout them very clearly,” he said.
“And third, even though you mayhave your own moments of doubt, youstill have to convey calmness and [give]a sense of direction to [those] who’venever gone through something like thisbefore,” the industry veteran said.
“This is when leaders rise. And, howyou deal with this is a true test of howyou’ll come out at the other end.”
When asked about shifts he’s seen dur-
ing his career, Tibergien said: “What’s
surprised me most is how quickly some
wealth management firms have become
real businesses and how slowly some firms have not trans-
formed into enduring enterprises.”
And, he added, “Fires and floods create new growth.” The
Great Recession “cleared away a lot of brush and opened up
possibilities for so many firms to do different things. We saw
an acceleration of RIA firms that became real businesses.”
In the current crisis, Tibergien is asking: “How resilient are
firms? What was their backup plan? Did they have the type of
depth, strength and perspective to serve their clients well?”
When the pandemic ends, we should see “a transformation
in how people do business,” he said. “Hopefully, most firms
have learned about their strategy, structure, people and pro-
cesses, risk management and the ability to work remotely. All
these things are becoming more exposed for good and for bad.”
What’s Next for Advisors?
Looking ahead, the advice profession “is starting to evolve likesome others, such as accounting and law. It’s not the personwho is involved in the process; it’s a team, an ensemble, agroup of individuals who work collectively,” he said.
Solo practices, which depend on one person to do everything, “tend to be very vulnerable,” as the key individualdoesn’t “have the time, wisdom, knowledge and experience todo it all,” the ex-consultant pointed out.
“It’s great to see this business is evolving from one-balljugglers to truly holistic enterprises with multiple individuals being part of them,” he said. “Probably the most fulfillingpart [of my career overall] has been interacting directly with
Continued on page 48
Tributes to Tibergien
Since the late 1990s, Mark’s been avisionary and a voice for change, ashe’s touched the lives of tens of thousands of advisors with his thoughtfuladvice and wise perspective.
There’s no doubt the industry will feelhis absence, as we need more leaders likehim to carry financial services forward.
—Ron Carson, founder and CEO,Carson Group
One of my favorite Mark quotes is, “ifyou torture the data long enough, itwill confess.” Today, working with advisor clients on interpreting the industrybenchmark data, I often find myselfquoting Mark.
I know I am a better consultantbecause of working with Mark, and it’smade me a smarter person.
—Kelli Cruz, founder ofCruz Consulting Group
Mark’s contributions to our industryare countless. His decades of work andrich body of thought leadership willserve as blueprints to help advisorsbuild professionally-managed, enduring businesses and guide us as we takethe advisory business to the next level.
For our Advisor Solutions teamspecifically, one of Mark’s most consequential and long-lasting impacts willbe his leadership style and commitment to grooming future leaders.
Mark always treated us as partnersand equals, but that’s not to say he wasan easy boss. Mark constantly challenged us to think differently. He askedthe questions we had not thought of,pushed us to bring our best thinking tothe table, and empowered us to come toour own decisions. His leadership stylewas based on mutual trust — in that wewould always do the right thing and thathe would always have our backs.
I and our leadership team are grateful to Mark for his endless passion forour industry, visionary leadership andfor being the best coach we could haveasked for.
—Ben Harrison, head of AdvisorSolutions, BNY Mellon’s Pershing
Mark will always be regarded as thefather of the business-side of independent financial advice. Through his leadership, consulting work, work with theCFP board and passion over the past
30 years, he has championed and builtthe foundation for RIAs to be businessleaders, as well as financial advisors.
The industry owes him much appreciation and credit for helping all of usbuild a profession and career. Throughhis writings, knowledge and wisdom hehas lifted all of us, an entire industry, …to be the best we can be.
—Angie Herbers, chief executive,Herbers & Company