Making it possible

Ten years of XYPN

A Growth Story with Co-Founders Alan Moore and Michael Kitces

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary and look back on how far we’ve come, we also look forward to the next ten years because, as our Network of over 1,800 members continues to expand, so do our horizons. Whether looking back or forward, however, our goal will always remain the same: to empower you to build the firm of your dreams with complete autonomy

In 2014, Alan Moore and Michael Kitces disrupted the financial industry by suggesting that independent, fee-for-service financial planning was not only possible, it was profitable

To help make it possible, they co-founded XYPN, a turnkey advice and planning platform that makes entrepreneurship possible for fee-for-service financial planners. The plan: offer all the tools and resources needed to succeed: education and training, community, curated technology, compliance support, back-office and client support services, and ongoing advocacy efforts.

They made membership affordable by removing percentages, payouts, and commissions from Standard Membership and completely autonomous with a guarantee that members who were not satisfied could leave at any time with 100% of their clients, revenue, data, and business.

Original membership projections that seemed lofty at first, quickly proved entirely underestimated when they met projections in months, not years. Like-minded advisors had found their home.  Like all good financial planners, Alan and Michael recalibrated.  They needed to reach more advisors in search of the autonomy, flexibility, and lifestyle alignment independent RIA ownership offered. 

In 2016 they co-wrote The Monthly Retainer Model in Financial Planning and introduced fee-for-service financial planning as an emerging business model that could be leveraged to reach next-generation clients.  While it reached a larger audience and opened the door to making financial advice equitable and accessible for those with or without assets to manage, it was not considered a viable business model by traditionalists.  

"Ten years ago, the industry presumed that 'advice cannot be delivered cost-effectively to young people as a financial advisor' and that the next generation of clients would become the domain of robo-advisors," says XYPN Executive Chairman, Michael Kitces. 

"Fast-forward to today and nearly all robo-advisors are either gone or have pivoted to adding human CFPs, while XYPN has grown to over 1,800 advisors and its members are collectively adding more than 20,000 clients per year,” Kitces points out.  

“As it turns out, the next generation of clients is actually the most willing to pay for professional financial advice (it's how they assume a professional would be engaged!), and the monthly subscription model comfortably fits their household cash flow and capacity to pay for advice.” 

“As a result, we see this growth wave still in the early stages,” Kitces continues. “As the giant demographic wave of Millennials is only just now approaching the age and life stage of growing financial complexity that triggers the need to seek out a financial advisor for the first time!"

Giant wave indeed. According to our guide, How to Attract a New Generation of Clients to Your RIA, the previously untapped market share of millennials with $1.4 trillion in spending power who are poised to inherit $68 trillion from the baby boom generation are asking for advice that matches their goals and cash flow, not portfolio. Over 75% of those polled want to work with a professional to help them mitigate risk and plan for retirement.

It’s invigorating to look back and be able to quantify how far we’ve come,” says Kitces. "Our annual benchmarking studies show the average XYPN firm has been growing its client base at an average annualized growth rate of 29%/year since 2019, far beyond what the less-than-6% annualized client growth other RIAs are experiencing over the past 5 years, according to Schwab’s latest benchmarking studies.  The median member who starts from scratch is crossing $200,000 of gross revenue within their first 5 years, showing that 1) having an entire ecosystem of support does make the difference and 2) riches are in the niches—something we’ve espoused since the beginning.”  

And our members may be independent but they’re never alone,” adds Moore. “They now make up over 8% of registered investment advisor firms in the U.S.—not bad for what was dismissed as an unviable business model a few years ago.” 

Turns out you're only crazy until you're not. 

We've proven that you can serve who you want, how you want, including yourself.  And that means being able to align your values, beliefs, and passions in life and work.  That's why ‘Be well being you’ is a core value at XYPN. 

That's the win-win autonomy offers and why it's at the core of our brand.  We believe you should have total control over every aspect of your business—and in turn, life.  ‘Dream firms’ come in all shapes and sizes including ‘being able to have a career and be a stay-at-home mom’ like one of our founding members, Pam Horack, who’s been with us from the beginning.

With all of our impressive growth, don’t expect our team to sit back on our laurels any time soon, however.  We are on a mission to support 5000 member firms who, if they each serve ~100 clients, will in turn help 500,000 people live their great lives. To do so, we'll be launching new key initiatives. 

“First, look forward to an updated XYPN Academy experience,” says Moore, “our pathway and learning management system provides all the educational and practice management systems and resources needed to successfully run an RIA at any phase—from launching to running and scaling. It solves one of the hardest emotional pain points I heard as host of XYPN Radio, imposter syndrome.  Armed with its robust toolkit, our members will experience the confidence and empowerment they need to serve their clients the way they want to.”   

More key initiatives on the horizon for XYPN include:

  • Release of the 2nd edition of Fee-for-Service Financial Planning: The RIA Owner’s Guide to Profitably Serving Who You Want, How You Want written by Alan Moore and Michael Kitces.
  • The full launch of SEC-registered XYPN Sapphire, a corporate RIA affiliation model that allows more advisors to serve who they want, how they want, without the headaches of being responsible for their compliance and technology.
  • Expanded technology partnerships and solutions.  XYPN is committed to investing in tools and resources that help its members grow more reliably.
  • XYPN will continue to be a leading advocate for regulatory changes that support the growth and sustainability of fee-for-service financial planning firms. Through our efforts, we hope to help shape policy initiatives that promote consumer protection, transparency, and access to quality financial advice.
"Re-reading The Monthly Retainer Model in Financial Planning now (in preparation to write the 2nd edition), it’s still technically correct, but we were floored by how much new information and proof of success exists today," Moore points out. "In 2016, there just weren’t many financial planners offering the service, so this book was more theory than practice. Fortunately, that’s changed and the success of the XYPN member firms has provided quantitative data on what it takes to start, run, and grow a successful financial planning practice."
"Our 10th anniversary is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and innovation of our team, our members, and our partners. We are immensely grateful that we have been able to transform the financial planning landscape and empower our members to build the firm of their dreams that prioritizes the needs and goals of their clients—with no strings attached," Moore concludes.