Shannon Eusey doesn’t like settling for just “good.”
While taking an entrepreneurial class for an MBA at the University of California, Los Angeles, Eusey wrote a business plan for a company she wanted to start. She was insulted to receive a “B” grade.
“B is like a participation trophy in grad school,” she told an audience of 300 at the Irvine Marriott on March 9. “You get a B for showing up.”
Eusey used that paper as the basis in 2002—along with her father, Garth Flint—for starting Beacon Pointe Advisors, a Newport Beach-based wealth manager.
In 2017, the Business Journal honored Eusey with a Women in Business Award.
Since then, she’s continued to build the firm, attracting a 50% stake in 2021 from one of Wall Street’s best-known firms, KKR & Co. (NYSE: KKR).
Nowadays, Beacon Pointe is the largest women-led registered investment advisory in the country, with more than $25 billion under advisement. Eusey’s won recognition from Barron’s, Forbes, CNBC and others. She co-wrote a best-selling book, “Your Dollars, Our Sense: A Fun & Simple Guide to Money Matters.”
For all these reasons, Eusey was one of five honored by the Business Journal this month with an Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award.
“I’m super honored—it’s overwhelming,” she told the Business Journal. “To be with so many incredibly talented people in Orange County is humbling.”
Currently, Beacon Pointe has 13,000 clients with assets ranging from $2 million to $100 million.
The firm’s 420 employees offer advice on financial planning and investment strategies such as allocation of assets. It also provides retirement plan advice to businesses and consulting services for institutions, as well as partners with independent advisers.
She plans to build up an edge in artificial intelligence, saying it will help especially in compliance matters.
“It definitely can be beneficial in a couple of areas,” she said. “Bots can do certain tasks that we run every day. On the marketing side, AI can identify potential prospective clients that meet the demographic that we’re looking for.”
In 2020, Eusey said her goal was to grow from 15 offices to 50. She’s almost reached her goal as Beacon Pointe currently has 46 offices.
Eusey still sees an opportunity to continue expansion in the U.S., saying the company will soon be announcing some more acquisitions.
“We want to be in every major metropolitan area and be the leader there,” she said.
In the last three months, Beacon Pointe added $1.5 billion in assets under management by acquiring five RIAs to expand in Illinois, Michigan, and Utah: Midwest Financial Advisor Group, Nexus Wealth Advisors, Pinnacle Wealth Management, Ailsa Capital, and Bennicas & Associates Inc.
“A big part of what we were looking for when searching for the right partner was a firm that could provide us the back-office support and resources we needed while still fostering a sense of community and culture that we aligned with,” Midwest founder and Managing Partner Heather O’Neill Fairbanks said in a statement. “Those elements paired with initiatives of Beacon Pointe’s Women’s Advisory Institute is what truly drew us into the firm.”
A Woman’s Edge
In 2011, the company began its Women’s Advisory Institute, one of the first formal initiatives in the RIA space centered on serving female investors. It focuses on goal-based planning and supporting clients through transitions such as the loss of a spouse or a divorce.
More than 50% of Beacon Pointe’s corporate leadership team is female, making it the largest women-led RIA in the nation.
“What is super interesting—with our firm being female led—is that two-thirds of wealth is controlled by women. That’s powerful,” Eusey said. “We’re doing a really good job of informing our female investors.”