PROFESSIONAL INDUSTRY SUMMARY
Darin started in the industry in 2001 in wirehouse advisor recruiting and established advisor and capital markets recruiting firm RJ & Makay in 2003. His firm enjoyed rapid growth with a team of over 20 people who succeeded in over 1,000 placements of advisors of all shapes and sizes and financial professionals including department heads, analyst, wholesalers, branch managers, and various business development management and field positions.
RJ & Makay trademarked Human Capital for the Capital Markets® and for over a decade was one of the industry’s leading recruiting firms whose primary clients over that period included UBS, Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley, Ameriprise Financial, Nationwide, Raymond James, and Edward Jones.
Darin became disillusioned with the wirehouse model and began to focus on helping wirehouse advisors transition to independence and independent advisors transition to RIA and Hybrid RIA models and other IBDs offering more favorable value propositions to their advisors.
He recognized that in the independent channel, advisor business owners had multiple practice needs but had limited external solution providers in what was then still an emerging cottage industry of third-party firms supporting independent advisors.
In 2012, Darin expanded the solutions offered to advisors through establishing Advisorbox. Beyond helping advisors transition to different platforms and models, Advisorbox provides advisors with strategic and consultative services focused on M&A, hiring and acquiring, selling and succession, and lending solutions for independent advisors. Advisorbox services are centered around advisor advocacy, focusing on the advisor’s best interest and choice. Darin has written hundreds of blogs and articles over the years to help advisors with practice solutions and in defense of advisor liberty and choice. His weekly Advisorbox BluePapers distribution has grown to over 50,000 advisors in 2017.
In 2014, Darin consulted with Live Oak Bank about their interest in expanding into the financial services industry, and when they did roll out their Investment Advisor SBA lending vertical, Darin was one of the first industry consultants in promoting
the first national lender focusing on advisor lending needs. Advisorbox introduced Live Oak to advisor clients and Darin introduced and facilitated Live Oak becoming an approved vendor with broker dealers like Ameriprise Financial and educated field leadership on Live Oak Bank’s SBA offering.
As the advisor lending demand and loan purposes expanded, he experienced that advisors needed more choices than a single proprietary SBA lender and lending solutions for the loan types and structures the SBA program doesn’t allow for.
In 2015, Darin established AdvisorLoans and the “Loan Advisors for Financial Advisors” consultative model and developed an open architecture of loan types, lenders, and lending programs. Through focusing on the best interest of the advisor (instead of the lender), combined with no additional costs to the advisor associated with their services, AdvisorLoans has become one of the industry’s leading lending resources for advisors.
Currently, Darin spends most of his time writing BluePapers and educational materials for advisors, consulting with firms on inorganic (hiring and acquiring) growth, and providing lending advisory for leveraging financing strategies to both advisors directly and through corporate programs.
Family Photo: One of my favorite family photos taken at a time when my kids still held my hand (sometimes), and when I had more hair on my head and less wrinkles on my face. My wife however hasn’t aged a day.
Darin and his wife Susan has been married for 23 years and they have lived in Colorado for nearly 25 years making their home in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Their daughter Makay is a senior at Pepperdine and their son RJ is a sophomore at Johnston & Wales.
Darin enjoys skiing, hiking, and most all mountain exploring activities. He has been a Denver Broncos season ticket holder for nearly 20 years and has fun attending games with family and friends.
Darin’s recent hobby is amateur photography. Instagram @maxthebrecknewfie
Recent Articles, Blogs, and BluePaper Bullets
Darin has written numerous industry white papers and “blew up” the white paper model with an Advisorbox BluePaper structure designed to stay current through periodic updates.
BluePapers Authored by Darin:
The Advisor’s Lending Guide (e-book)
The lending landscape available to advisors for acquisitions, working capital, debt consolidation and recruiting based loans has rapidly evolved. While advisors benefit from having more loan options than ever before, each available choice in loan programs and lenders offers different types of rates and terms, loan types and structures allowed, with differing and confusing requirements, regulations, and underwriting criteria.
Advisors needed a comprehensive lending guide written specifically for them, that brings clarity to the lending options and explains the different loan programs and loan types available. Such a guide or book didn’t exist so Darin created one that did.
There are unique options available to advisors that may not be as well understood as other platforms or models, especially to wirehouse advisors with limited exposure to all of their independent options.
Darin is tackling different firms with a detailed analysis (typically over 50 pages per analysis) of the recruiting value proposition offered to advisors, covering both benefits and limitations.
Response to Negative Internet Postings
Response from Darin Manis:
I have had the extreme displeasure of having to deal with a few erroneous negative internet postings about me and a firm I established in 2003, RJ & Makay, who I named after my son and daughter, the two people whose opinion and regard of me matters most.
It is bewildering to me that people who have never worked for RJ & Makay, has never been a client, a prospective client, has never had a conversation with me or my firm, and has never had any dealings of any kind with me and my firm whatsoever, can make anonymous negative posts on complaint websites, and that Google then ranks on the first page of search results (usually in the top 5) and then keeps it there forever.
To keep their search rankings high, complaint websites “refresh” the negative postings every few years so what appears to be recent negative postings are actually from many years ago. In my case, the two negative postings who have consistently shown, even to this day, on Google search results, are absolutely false negative posts refreshed by complaint sites from 13 years and 9 years ago.
The harm these anonymous postings has done to my reputation and to RJ & Makay is impossible to quantify. I know there have been prospective clients and employees who have seen a negative post on a Google search and just moved on without examining further, especially 10 years ago when people gave more credibility to complaint sites and anonymous negative postings.
If you’re reading this, you likely saw a negative posting but have decided to explore a little further to determine if the posts have credibility or not. This explanation was written specifically to you.
How we became vulnerable to negative posts:
1. Job boards
In 2004 shortly after RJ & Makay was established and for several years after, helped wirehouses hire new advisors in addition to experienced advisor recruiting. Firms like UBS, Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, and Edward Jones had aggressive recruiting agendas to bolster the ranks of new advisors. They were looking for successful career professionals from other industries who had established networks of potential investor clients. They were also looking for Rainmakers who could team with other advisors. In the case of Edward Jones they were looking for both second career type professionals, but were also hiring recent college graduates that showed great promise.
RJ & Makay recruited hundreds of these new advisors by matching them to the most ideal training programs and value proposition based on their qualifications and location. We heavily used job boards like Monster and Careerbuilder to post new advisor openings to new career seekers and paid for resume databases where we screened resumes of potential professionals and contacted those we thought would be viable candidates for a career as a Financial Advisor. We did so much business with job boards that Careerbuilder took me to Superbowl XLII as one of their premier client guests in 2008.
Because of our exposure to the outside public we reached many people who did not understand or trust the financial services industry or the Financial Advisor opportunity. Posts popped up asking if RJ & Makay was a scam. Then, an anonymous person who has never had any dealings with RJ & Makay whatsoever, visits our website and determines from their cursory review that:
“RJ & Makay recruiting firm looks like a well engineered scam.”
This negative post made by someone just looking at our website has received top result rankings for RJ & Makay from Google since 2008.
We didn’t charge job seekers one penny for our services and for a recruiting firm to contact a job seeker who posted their resume on a job board, who had ideal qualifications and backgrounds, about a Financial Advisor career that offered a strong salary, benefits package, and extensive training is not a scam, it’s just recruiting 101.
This experience caused me to exit the novice advisor recruiting niche and exclusively work with professionals already in the financial services industry and already licensed advisors.
2. Work-from-Home Model
In 2003, RJ & Makay was at the forefront of taking advantage of recently developed technology allowing for the virtual office format. I embraced the work-from-home model then, as I do today, for employees that spend most of their time talking on the phone. I liked that under this model I could hire professionals that didn’t need to be micromanaged, anywhere in the country. And yes, I liked the reduced overhead costs as well.
One of the very first recruiters I brought on almost 14 years ago was with me for just a few months when I terminated the relationship for cause. The next day, he made a post on Ripoffreport.com.
“RJ, Makay & Associates – RMA ripoff, fraud, dishonest, illegitimate, work from home recruiting scam.”
This negative post has received top result rankings for RJ & Makay from Google since 2004.
While there were many work-at-home scams that sprouted up in the mid 2000s we were not one of them.
3. Hiring Practices
Our hiring practices and compensations plans have developed over the years to the present day where with rare exceptions, we only hire people with financial industry experience such as former advisors, managers, and broker dealer or custodian corporate financial recruiters.
14 years ago, there was a very small pool of experienced advisor recruiting professionals available to hire. Even today, the available talent pool of successful and proven advisor recruiters represents a sliver of the advisor recruiting population.
I decided to apply the novice advisor training model implemented by the financial firms we worked with to a “novice advisor recruiter” hiring and training model. I hired and trained people from different backgrounds, about the Financial Advisor position and the ways RJ & Makay helped advisors explore their recruiting options.
We have tried hiring all types of backgrounds and skill sets and have seen some prosper and others fail. We have tried commission structures, salary structures that turn into a draw after 6 months, paying for quality appointments set, and straight salary with bonus structures.
Like novice advisors and novice insurance agents, not everyone is going to make it in business development or succeed in a career that requires heavy phone prospecting.
From over a hundred people we have had come and go over the last 15 years, we have received a few negative posts from those who did not have success claiming that there is no money to be made in a recruiting position at RJ & Makay. We have also received multiple posts from former employees who wanted to defend RJ & Makay. Ironically, most all of the negative posts of this nature occurred between 2008 and 2010, during the financial crisis, when industrywide, about 75,000 advisors moved firms over a three-year time period resulting in a recruiting boom for RJ & Makay (and all other advisor recruiting firms).
Thank You for Exploring More Deeply
In addition to the above explanation of negative posts, we work and have worked with many of the top financial firms in the industry, have been quoted by national media nearly 100 times including a dozen times in the Wall Street Journal, and have transitioned hundreds of billions in assets from our advisor clients joining better firm opportunities.
Advisorbox and AdvisorLoans both are fundamentally committed to doing what is in the best interest of the advisor, not a firm, and have developed open architecture platforms of solutions and solution providers to ensure advisor choice.
I have been grateful for our industry that has provided me with so much opportunity and have tried to give back through free resources we provide to advisors like our Vendor Directory, BluePapers, Valuation Estimate Calculator, StrategyProFormas, and free consultations to any advisor who calls us.
My staff and I endeavor to do the right thing and we think you will see that exemplified in your first conversation with us.