[caption id="attachment_229188" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Brian Carney, CEO and co-founder of RiversEdge Advisors, said the investment firm wants to combine technology with a personal touch. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
WILMINGTON – RiversEdge Advisors, an investment advisory firm that caters to small business owners and executives, has moved downtown from its prior Riverfront home while it serves a growing clientele.Founded nearly a decade ago as part of Blue Rock Financial Group and spun off into its own firm in 2017, RiversEdge Advisors has been led by co-founders CEO Brian Carney and Chief Operating Officer Jarrett Morris. The investment firm, then-located at 1 Avenue of the Arts along Wilmington’s Riverfront, has been quietly growing ever since.Amid the pandemic, however, Carney said the firm had to take a hard look at its future and how it planned to grow. RiversEdge decided to part with a number of employees but has since increased its headcount by 300% in the last two years.“We felt that this was an opportunity to completely design the business that we think we can have. Our plan is to be a complete disruptor in the financial services industry,” Carney said. “Our whole mission is to help people answer questions and to give them strategies toward whatever goal they have.”
[caption id="attachment_229186" align="alignleft" width="300"] RiversEdge Advisors recently moved into Courthouse Square off North King Street, taking offices left by marketing firm Bounteous. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
As another commitment to its new chapter, the firm leased 17,000 square feet of offices in the Courthouse Square high-rise at 600 N. King St. that was recently vacated by the marketing firm Bounteous. Negotiations over an extension at the Riverfront stalled, Carney said, but they were excited to find the Class A space just a few blocks away.Aiding that transition is the addition of new Chief Financial Officer Tim Mihok and corporate director Michael Derins, both of whom worked for Bounteous and, prior to its acquisition by Bounteous, local marketing firm The Archer Group.The addition of Mihok and Derins has been important as RiversEdge targets a key demographic of business owners, Carney added. The firm’s leadership are small business owners and have been through the acquisitions and mergers that some of their clients may be considering.“I think it offers a really unique perspective into the issues that our clients deal with,” Carney said. “There's a huge emotional side [to selling or exiting a business]. We talk to a lot of business owners about what it's like to exit and they say it’s like part of them dies.”RiversEdge aims to use the latest technology to help strategize investments and income, but pair that with one-on-one conversations with clients to ensure they feel comfortable with the roadmap, Carney said.“The math answer isn't always the right answer; sometimes it's the third best answer. It's really about having the ability to dig into why people are making financial decisions so that they walk away feeling good about it,” he explained.That strategy has paid dividends to date, as RiversEdge has grown from about $180 million in assets under management in 2019 to more than $500 million last year, earning some industry recognition. The firm has a goal of reaching $1 billion under management within the next three years.“We think it's a very realistic target. And we are confident that we can do it organically, but we definitely think that we could shortcut that if we acquire other small firms or add staff,” he said.While the majority of its clients live within 30 miles of Wilmington, its network is increasingly growing out of market, primarily through word-of-mouth recommendations, Carney said. He’s also embraced new media by hosting a podcast called “Happy (Half) Hour with an Entrepreneur,” where he talks with a local entrepreneur about their journey and lessons learned along the way.
[caption id="attachment_229187" align="alignright" width="300"] RiverEdge Advisors plans on utilizing this space in the new office to host events and programs to invite in the public. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
“We don't do it necessarily because we think we're going to get tons and tons of new clients, but we think it's an interesting way to market and to really be a part of that ecosystem of business owners,” he said.RiversEdge also wants to utilize its new office space, which includes a full bar, games, theater seating and a coffee nook, to welcome in the community. They expect to host an open house this spring, and then periodically open for mixers, seminars and workshops for the public, chambers and more, Carney said.While investment advisors may invoke thoughts of leather chairs and cigars, Carney said RiversEdge feels more dressed down and approachable on purpose.“We want clients to come in wearing jeans and a T-shirt. We want them to feel comfortable because we're going to talk about a lot of important things, and we want them to feel like they can approach us with anything,” he added.