Customer Spotlight

How Redtail Helped Heron Wealth Soar

The Firm:
Heron Wealth is a New York City-based wealth advisory firm that provides financial planning, investment advice and estate planning services to 175 families living in the United States, Europe and Latin America. Heron Wealth currently manages $375 million in client assets.

The Founder:
Founded by President David Edwards in 1996 as a solo investment management practice.  Reimagined as a full-service wealth advisory business in 2012. Eight team members as of mid-2019.

Core Clients and Focus:
Individuals and families preparing for retirement, including their adult children, as well as young professionals in their thirties and forties who require financial planning and investment management services.

Building a team approach

David founded Heron Wealth as a single-person firm with a single computer and a dial-up modem in the mid-nineties. After fifteen years, David evolved Heron into a larger firm with more employees, more tasks, and, subsequently, more compliance concerns.

“In 2011,” David says, “I looked at the structure of my firm, and I realized it was like a homebuilt aircraft. I could fly it, but anybody else would crash and burn. I rebuilt the firm from the ground up, carefully researching what a well-run investment advisory practice should look like for now and the future. The base has to be rock solid – operations, compliance, technology and cybersecurity. The next layer is your service offering: financial planning, investment advice, tax and estate planning. If your services are robust, then marketing (Product, Price, Promotion and Placement) and Business Development (one-on-one sales interactions) are easy. The capstone is management, which will be minimal if the first three layers are solid.” 

Why Redtail? Scale all the way to succession.

The team chose Redtail CRM and Redtail Email after a detailed search for the right fit. Redtail’s user design is streamlined, minimalistic and speedily intuitive, “just like Heron!”

The team chose Redtail CRM and Redtail Email after a detailed search for the right fit. Redtail’s user design is streamlined, minimalistic and speedily intuitive.

David’s ultimate objective? “Over the long run, I wanted to make myself obsolete in my own firm. I can only do that if each team member can know everything about clients that I know about the clients.” He started building his team and adding client families. Heron experienced 30% growth every year and needed a way to maintain scale. Without organization and transparency, the team struggled to do its best work together.
“At a certain point,” David says, “I realized that I had eight full pages of open items across my desk that my staff had no visibility into. And I had no visibility into what my team was doing. We had no manageable way to keep track of all those tasks. I knew things were getting overlooked. We also realized that there were mountains of valuable data inside client emails, but the firm had no way of making sure that data was readily available to all team members.” 
David saw the need for a CRM to track client details and tasks, and an email system that linked all emails to, from and about clients to their household record. David recognized that the platform had to be fast and easy to use if it would be embraced as an integral part of standard operating procedure by the team.

It has to go through Redtail first.

Today, Heron Wealth is unified on using Redtail CRM for task management and client information. “When you’re a one- or two-person firm,” David explains, “you can just do a search for tasks or emails through Outlook. When you’re an eight-person firm, that approach won’t work.”
Heron no longer has an outside email server. Now, any email or appointment that flows through Outlook is automatically captured in Redtail Email. Notes dictated by team members through Mobile Assistant automatically show up as client notes. “It’s all there. It’s all self-documenting. Not only do we have excellent insight into our clients’ evolving needs, but we also have proof that we are meeting those needs. When it comes time to merge Heron into a larger firm, the acquiring firm will hit the ground running with all client details readily at hand.
“All layers of Heron’s business have been positively impacted by Redtail, from reviewing marketing statistics to compliance.” But the biggest benefit? According to David, “The knowledge that nothing is falling through the cracks.”