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MiB: Brian Hamburger, MarketCounsel – The Big Picture



This week, we speak with Brian Hamburger, founder and chief executive officer of the business / regulatory compliance consultancy MarketCounsel, as well as the founder and chief counsel of the Hamburger Law Firm, a boutique law firm that focuses on investment and securities industry matters. Hamburger also hosts the MarketCounsel Summit, which has been called “the Davos of wealth management.”

When he launched the firm in 2000, no one in the legal field was offering a comprehensive set of regulatory and compliance services that he wanted to offer. To fund the start-up, he sold his house (FSBO), used the proceeds to launch both firms, and never looked back.

Hamburger explains how the Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) industry has gone through a substantial consolidation at elevated prices, very often 3X revenues and/or 20X profits. To private capital, an RIA looks a lot like a bond with an 8-10% yield and an equity kicker. This was especially attractive during an era of 0% Fed Funds rates and 2% 10-Year bonds.

We also discuss the differences between “lifestyle” practices, roll-ups, carve-outs, and what it takes to lift a billion-dollar team from a wirehouse and stand them up on another platform or as an independent. There are substantial restrictions and non-competes created by the largest Broker Dealers many of which have been overturned by “right-to-work” states. Still, there are huge anti-competitive restrictions, many of which do not exist in any other industry.

A list of his favorite books is here; A transcript of our conversation is available here Tuesday.

You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Ben Clymer, founder & chairman of Hodinkee, and Jeffery Fowler the firm’s CEO. Fowler and Clymer (dubbed the “High Priest of Horology“) discuss all things wristwatches and timepieces, including their experiences at the 2023 Watches & Wonders, why the marketplace has exploded over the past few years, and what are their favorite grail watches.



Brian Hamburger’s Favorite Books

Stocks for the Long Run: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies, Sixth Edition by Jeremy Siegel

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

Where Are the Customers’ Yachts?: or A Good Hard Look at Wall Street by Fred Schwed

Freakonomics Revised and Expanded Edition by Steven Levitt

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber


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Rayna Prime

Rayna Prime Editor