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Latest News 

Dated: January 2018

Northwestern Mutual will announce a strategic investment in ClientWise LLC in keeping with the firm’s commitment to transform the way in which it supports the needs of financial advisors and their practices, as well as to help field leaders to support those advisors actively engaged with ClientWise.

To be clear, ClientWise will remain an independent firm, maintaining a base of both NM and non-NM clients so that we can continue to provide highly-valued, unbiased industry thought leadership.

When I founded ClientWise twelve years ago, my vision was to build a coaching and consulting firm that would be valuable not only to our clients, but potentially to a strategic partner as well – someone willing to invest in our continued growth. With this in mind, I focused on building a profitable, durable, and scalable business.

With the help of our investment banker, Liz Nesvold (founder and managing partner of Silver Lane Advisors), we have been working for the past three years to identify the right partner that shared both our vision of the industry and our business growth strategy: to complement our broad coaching capabilities, vast content library, and growing digital community of top advisors by building more robust practice management consulting capabilities.

“The rise of the professionally managed financial advisory firm is ever present,” says Mark Tibergien, CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions. It’s through this strategic partnership and the corresponding infusion of both financial and human capital, that ClientWise will be able to further accelerate its growth strategy, add greater client value, and build a multi-generational team that will be poised to serve our industry for decades to come.

Northwestern Mutual’s investment will serve to enhance our coaching partnership with you. In addition, when you renew your coaching investment with ClientWise in 2018, you will receive a new Northwestern Mutual preferred rate. Your relationship manager at ClientWise can provide you with those details.

I remain the CEO of the firm I founded.  I will continue to be responsible for the day-to-day operations and for growing our coaching business outside Northwestern Mutual. In fact, my input and influence will be unwavering and my advocacy for your business will remain at the very top of my priorities.

With the help of Christian Mitchell, Sandy Botcher, and our estimable advisory board, I will focus on executing the ClientWise strategic plan, which will call for a more integrated approach to our coaching model aimed specifically at helping you drive profits, deliver greater value to your clients, and increase the enterprise value of your practice.

At one time or another, you’ve probably heard me quote an old African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  It’s by going together that we will achieve long-term, sustainable success for you and your next generation team.

Our plan is to continue to grow our team and make the necessary changes to best support you and all of our coaching clients. Penny Phillips, our former director of practice management, will be leaving our firm. And we wish her much success as she defines her new future. Helene Mazur, PCC, who has been with our firm for more than a decade, will continue to coach and lead a number of our Business Builders™ workshops. In addition, over the coming months, we will be making a number of key announcements. 

On a personal note, I am forever grateful to Charlie Prothro, who introduced me to Northwestern Mutual almost nine years ago. The collective human intellectual achievements of past and present leaders at NM have helped shape an impressive culture – one I am honored to now be more closely associated with. I also would like to express my gratitude to Christian Mitchell and Sandy Botcher, both of whom have advocated strongly for this partnership.

Most importantly, thank you for being a client, for engaging in our coaching partnership and advocating on behalf of our firm. It is because of your leadership that we have reached this moment of true partnership as we shape our future in a collaborative way.

Stay tuned! In 2018, and in the years that follow, we will begin and continue an amazing journey towards greater success fueled by the integration of people, platform, and technology.


Ray Sclafani