How Adding a Fee-for-Service Model Changed this RIA’s Growth Trajectory

Alexandra J. Miele, managing director and partner at the Andriole Group and an RIA Intel Award finalist for Advisor of the Year, is focused on creating a best-in-class client experience.

Alexandria Miele (Courtesy Photo)

Alexandria Miele

(Courtesy Photo)

In the run-up to naming the winners of the inaugural RIA Intel Awards on September 14, 2022, RIA Intel will publish short features highlighting the accomplishments of this year’s nominees and Rising Stars.

At just 35, Alexandra Miele is the managing director and partner at the Andriole Group, a Hightower partner firm with more than $1 billion in assets under management. She joined the firm in 2007 as an intern and has never left. “I just wanted to be around a firm that had this culture of creative thinking, exceeding expectations, and always seeking to be the best of the best,” Miele said.

Miele spoke with us about how seeing bad money management growing up motivated her to get into wealth management, and how that ultimately changed her firm’s growth strategy for the better. Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

What motivated you to get into wealth management?

Well, my passion for wealth management really stemmed from my own family. My dad, who was a very smart, middle-income individual, made some very bad financial mistakes, and I believe that if he had had the proper guidance, he would have ended up in a much different financial position than he was in at the end of his career. So seeing that gap between what folks thought they understood and what they really understood, and just this haze around money in general, really motivated me to focus on education, public financial planning, and giving people a reasonable basis for making investment decisions. That’s what really drove my desire to offer a fee-for-service model at our firm. It’s not just an AUM conversation anymore. Clients shouldn’t have to move their money to advisors just to get good advice.

What has been your greatest success?

Not to lean on it too much, but being able to craft and refine our fee-for-service model has been the most exciting thing for me. Not only are we now able to provide best-in-class service to our clients without that conflict of interest — you know, the ‘You can only work with us if we manage all your assets’ philosophy — but it’s also helped us grow our business through referrals from CPAs and estate-planning attorneys. CPAs and attorneys are trained to be risk averse, so if they send an advisor their biggest client and the market drops 40 percent the next month, that makes them look bad. We can’t protect against that. But when you can remove that barrier of risk, and when you can allow them to say, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Client, you can work with Alex and she’s not going to make you move your money. She’s just always going to act in your best interest, and she’s going to charge you like I do,’ then all of a sudden you have a growth problem. We get 95 percent of our referrals from these groups, and between 60 to 70 percent turn into AUM clients.

The inaugural RIA Intel Awards is a celebration of financial advisors, wealth management firms, and industry leaders. Winners will be on announced on September 14, 2022 and will be honored in-person at upcoming RIA Institute Forums.

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