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All About Ric

There’s no question that Ric Edelman is a pioneer in the wealth management industry. Much has been written about how he started from humble beginnings and went on to develop the largest independent RIA in the country. Earlier this week, Edelman announced he is stepping away from Edelman Financial Engines to spend more time with his wife Jean and focus on their other professional and philanthropic pursuits. He will step down as chairman of financial education and client experience at the firm by the end of the year but will remain as a strategic advisor.

For many years, the key to the firm’s success has arguably been based on Edelman’s keen sense of branding and marketing. By promoting Ric’s radio shows, books, and regular media appearances, the firm has created a strong brand that is difficult to separate from its founder.

A brief review of the company’s website reinforces the importance of the company’s namesake to the overall brand of the firm. It includes many photos of Ric, links to his radio show and books, and an “ask Ric” submission form. Ric Edelman even occupies his own section on the website’s main navigation bar. A quick review of the site’s press room shows Ric continues to be the firm’s featured spokesperson and go-to authority for the press.

A Brand in Transition
It’s unclear how the firm will be branded going forward, but it’s safe to say something will have to give. While the firm has undoubtedly made management succession plans, it’s not apparent that the firm has a clear marketing succession plan. Perhaps Ric will continue in some marketing capacity even as his relationship with the firm becomes less formal. Or perhaps the firm will swiftly elevate someone to take on Ric’s marketing responsibilities. According to ThinkAdvisor, the firm has begun efforts to identify a new host for its weekly radio show, with the final episode under The Ric Edelman Show moniker airing this fall. Apparently, Ric will appear occasionally on the show. Either way, the firm will face challenges in evolving a brand that is inextricably tied to its eponymous founder.