The Evolution of an RIA from Practice to Enterprise – with Tim Bello

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Mindy Diamond


A conversation with Tim Bello, Managing Partner, Merchant Investment Management

One of the key factors in the growth of the independent space is the burgeoning ecosystem that’s available to support those who make the leap—a virtual cottage industry that fills service and support gaps, and creates new pathways for those who have a desire to grow their own enterprises.

Merchant Investment Management is one such firm within the space that was built to provide an end-to-end continuum for both breakaways and established independent business owners—and serves as a testament to how much the ecosystem has truly grown.

Tim Bello, Managing Partner of Merchant, joins the show to talk about the role his firm plays in the independent landscape—a role that he started to envision while he was an early-stage partner at Dynasty Financial Partners, and during a time in which the RIA space was much less mature than it is today.

In this episode, Tim shares his point of view on independent business ownership, including:

  • The gaps a firm like Merchant fills within the landscape—and how he sees their services as “opportunities” for both prospective breakaways and independent firm owners.
  • The advantages of taking on an equity partner—and how identifying the right partner is “more art than science.”
  • The real value of time—and why he sees it as one of the biggest things firms need to think about when considering growth.
  • Identifying the ways to achieve “responsible growth”—and how that impacts a firm’s ability to be “event ready.”

Plus, Tim discusses, in depth, how to determine if your firm should become a buyer or a seller—and what threshold questions you need to answer in that decision-making process.

It’s a conversation that shares a truly unique and informed perspective on the RIA space – the evolution of which Tim helped to architect early on – with keen insights on the future.


Listen to additional episodes in this series


Tim Bello Bio

At Merchant, Tim is engaged across all aspects of the Firm, with a day to day focus on driving the company’s key growth initiatives and directing the overall corporate strategy. Prior to Merchant, Tim was an early stage Partner at Dynasty Financial Partners, where he was in charge of strategic implementation and advisor identification firm-wide for the Dynasty Network. Prior to Dynasty, Tim was Head of Global Platforms for New York-based alternative asset manager, SkyBridge Capital, where he was in charge of building and managing the Firm’s global platform sales activities.

Previous to SkyBridge, he was an original member of the Permal Group’s Hedge Fund of Fund US Private Client Platform Distribution Team, where he launched and developed the firm’s US distribution arm and brand. Earlier, he worked on Permal’s Institutional Sales team which involved interfacing with pensions, endowments, foundations and institutional consultants across the Permal product suite. Tim currently serves as Special Advisor to the Board for the Family Office Association in Greenwich, CT and is on the Membership Committee of the Core Club in New York. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence University.


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