In the wealth management industry, particularly within the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) space, firms are continually faced with the challenge of growth. While mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and market growth have historically been the dominant engines of expansion, there lies a compelling case for organic growth that not only increases a firm’s assets under management (AUM) but also enhances its service quality, leadership, and culture. This essay delves into the journey of Morton Brown Family Wealth, co-founded by Dennis Morton and Katie Brown, which has successfully navigated the path of organic growth, achieving remarkable milestones within a short span.

The Genesis of Morton Brown Family Wealth

Dennis Morton and Katie Brown embarked on their entrepreneurial venture after accruing over a decade of experience in the RIA space. Amidst an industry landscape heavily skewed towards growth through M&A, Morton and Brown posed a critical question to themselves: How could they grow in a manner that would make them better advisors and leaders while defining their firm’s culture? This question laid the foundation for Morton Brown Family Wealth in 2018, with a vision to pursue organic growth.

Achieving Organic Growth: A Strategic Blueprint

Morton Brown Family Wealth’s journey to surpass $260 million in AUM and serve over 190 households is a testament to the viability and effectiveness of organic growth strategies in the RIA space. The following sections outline the strategic steps taken by the firm to achieve this growth.

Defining Ambitious Goals

The first pivotal step involved setting ambitious goals for the firm. Morton and Brown embraced the concept of a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) for the next decade. This visioning process required introspection about the firm’s potential, target clientele, and necessary strategic shifts. A commitment to organic growth necessitated a deep dive into understanding the firm’s strengths, values, and the ideal client profile they aimed to serve. This inward focus was predicated on the belief that excellence in these areas would naturally attract the right clients and propel the firm towards its goals.

Starting with a Strong Foundation

At the inception, Morton and Brown engaged in a brand DNA exercise that culminated in a one-page creed encapsulating the firm’s vision, mission, and values. This creed not only became a touchstone for internal alignment but also a communication tool to convey the firm’s ethos to potential clients and employees. By defining growth as a means to serve more families rather than a mere expansion of AUM, the founders laid a solid foundation for sustainable growth.

Building the Right Team

Anticipating the future, Morton and Brown created an aspirational 20-person organizational chart early in their journey. This exercise helped them identify the roles necessary to deliver exceptional service to their clients. As the firm grew, roles were defined and filled to optimize the talents of each team member. This strategic team building facilitated a gradual delegation of responsibilities, allowing the founders to focus on leadership and strategic growth initiatives.

Defining the Ideal Client

Identifying and understanding the ideal client was another cornerstone of Morton Brown Family Wealth’s organic growth strategy. The firm developed a detailed client profile, focusing on aspirations, expectations, and unique characteristics. This clarity in the target clientele helped tailor the firm’s services and marketing efforts, ensuring alignment between the firm’s offerings and client needs.

Identifying and Leveraging Strengths

A key insight in the firm’s growth journey was the identification of a niche in serving couples, assisting them in achieving financial confidence together. This specialization emerged from a deep understanding of the firm’s strengths and a commitment to listening and responding to client needs. By focusing on this niche, Morton Brown Family Wealth tapped into a unique market segment, further accelerating its growth.

Sustained Growth and Future Outlook

Despite experiencing growing pains, Morton and Brown remain committed to their organic growth strategy. The firm’s success serves as a compelling case for the efficacy of organic growth in the RIA space, challenging the prevalent reliance on M&A for expansion.


Morton Brown Family Wealth’s journey underscores the potential of organic growth to not only expand an RIA firm’s assets under management but also to deepen its service quality, leadership capabilities, and cultural identity. By setting ambitious goals, building a strong foundation, assembling the right team, clearly defining the ideal client, and leveraging unique strengths, RIA firms can achieve sustainable growth. The story of Morton and Brown is a beacon for the industry, highlighting the power of vision, commitment, and strategic execution in the pursuit of excellence.



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