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Orion Buys Redtail – Three Clear Wins and Three Open Questions

Orion Advisor Services announced that they are acquiring the online CRM Redtail Technology. Already deeply integrated, this acquisition is a reason for both teams to celebrate. The broader advisor community has three really obvious wins from this news and it raises three questions for the advisor community.


Playing to Win

There are probably even more ideas to celebrate here, but three main ideas stand out to us. 

First, these two firms are highly aligned in culture. Even though they’re headquartered half way across the country from one another, their people operate in like-minded ways. Both Eric Clarke and Brian McLaughlin have built firms focused on training their clients to navigate their technology, which we expect to dovetail nicely.  

Second, these are mature firms with an incredible depth of knowledge of advisors. This isn’t a start-up darling getting plucked out of obscurity. Redtail has been at this since 2003, when Orion was just four years old. They’re both incredibly well versed in the language and heartbeat of our industry. 

Third, they’ve been deeply integrated through data syncs since 2019. You don’t get to that level of integration without understanding the workflows most advisors need to make their lives work every day. 

But with all the good of this moment, there are three questions that will be answered as the acquisition plays out.

Questions That Will Find Answers

Without raining on anyone’s parade, we hope that this consolidation, we wonder: 

1. How much will  innovation slow down?

With quite a number of developers, trainers, relationship managers and team leads, the time it takes to align teams usually leads to pumping the brakes on new endeavors. Of course, Orion has acquired quite a number of firms over the years and FTJ Fundchoice to HiddenLevers to Brinker, they should have this part of the process down pat. McLaughlin coming on as the President of CRM and reporting directly to Clarke will provide steady leadership to the process.

2. How will this impact the openness of the Orion platform?

Orion has historically been the most open platform for independent advisors to build their business on. With each new acquisition, this question grows louder. Once all the pieces are in place, will they continue to swing wide the doors of code to stay friendly with new CRMs? 

3. What does this mean for advisors who need more service? 

Consolidation in our industry usually leads to larger customer bases for both entities. If either of them were struggling to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction prior to the acquisition, it doesn’t typically get better quickly. How will advisory teams navigate this new landscape with ease? 


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