Jonathan Miller is the president, CEO, and founder of Parsonex Enterprises and its affiliates. As the leader of a thriving enterprise listed among Inc’s 5,000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America and the Financial Times’s Fastest-Growing Companies in the Americas, he’s disrupting the antiquated financial services industry that for too long has put profits before people. Defying this age-old tradition, Jonathan built a model that champions the very heart and soul of the field—the dedicated financial professionals who support the livelihoods of our clients who entrust their futures to their hands. “Our business is focused on serving people and helping their stories be better,” he says. “Whether it's our independent financial advisors or employees, we all win, one family, one client at a time.”
Starting from scratch as an entrepreneur in the investment industry after graduating from Iowa State University, Jonathan has built several successful companies, all with the mission of delivering superior value and service, building profitable and impactful relationships, and improving the lives of those they serve. In addition to growing organically, Jonathan’s companies are pursuing mergers and acquisitions of other firms in anticipation of a possible IPO in the coming years.
In an interview with Jonathan, we asked him about his journey, success, and being chosen for the Top 100 U.S. Business Leaders magazine.
Jonathan, tell us about Parsonex Enterprises.
Parsonex Enterprises is a financial services firm focused on building lasting relationships with clients and delivering excellent service through a nationwide network of independent financial professionals. We partner with leading specialists and support them with a wide range of services, technology, and investment solutions including broker-dealer functions such as private equity, investment banking, wholesale fund distribution, brokerage, private placements, and institutional investment services.
Ours is an open architecture approach to investments with advisor-friendly compliance functions, competitive compensation, a streamlined technology platform, and customized marketing plans to support our advisors’ businesses.
Parsonex has grown rapidly over the last several years. What is fueling this growth?
It’s all about our team. It’s all about people. We adopted a “advisor partnership model” based on the best practices of successful law firms. A lot of financial advisors are islands unto themselves in that they are responsible for everything. They don’t have partners around who they can count on and collaborate with. This can limit their upside potential and the value of their practices. In our model, advisors are still independent but are part of a partnership structure which allows for specialization and customized support. The firm handles all non-core advisory functions allowing partners to focus on building relationships with clients. Our partners have different strengths which complement one another. We enjoy working together, encouraging one another, and by sharing resources we are more efficient and effective. People often say we are like a family which I 100% agree with.
Through this approach there are all kinds of resources and benefits we can provide to our partners which other firms simply don’t have, least of which is participation in a stock option program.
Recently we have started to pursue inorganic growth through acquisitions of other firms. We’ve realized that our system and culture are special and will be very selective about the firms we acquire.
What has been your experience leading the company?
I founded Parsonex Enterprises in 2007 and as with anything that’s worth pursuing, my experience has been incredibly rewarding and, at times, incredibly frustrating. I spent many years in the trenches, cold-calling prospects and facing constant rejection. However, this experience made me stronger and more determined to be successful for myself, my clients, and my family. Through the early struggles, I learned the importance of building a relationship-based business, not a transaction-based business. It’s the long-term, lasting relationships with clients, employees, advisors, and others in the industry, that have allowed us to take the business to the next level. I’m so incredibly grateful for everyone who believed in us along the way, and I take our commitment to them very seriously. Above all else, I want our firm to be viewed as a trusted partner in helping clients achieve their financial dreams.
What is unique about Parsonex’s approach?
Our approach is unique in that it is never cookie-cutter. We want our financial professionals to deliver services and support in their own ways. We offer a wide range of training, guidance, and mentorship opportunities, but we will never tell an advisor how to do his or her job. Instead, we seek to empower our professionals with cutting-edge technology and best-in-class resources, so they have the support they need to focus on building client relationships, with few distractions. We understand the importance of allowing independent advisors to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves, and I believe that’s a differentiator when done well.
What are your goals for the business in five years, 10 years and beyond?
Over the next five to 10 years, we are poised for exceptional growth. The momentum we’ve built over the last few years has allowed us to be recognized on Inc.’s list of the 5,000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America and on Financial Times’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in the Americas. More importantly, our growth has given us the opportunity to further enhance the services and support we provide to financial professionals and their clients. My hope is that this momentum fosters even more ways for us to help people achieve their financial dreams for generations to come.
You do a lot of things and have been very successful at a young age? How?
It didn’t happen overnight. It has taken years of consistent hard work. It took a lot of patience and persistence, overcoming challenges, and just continuing to work hard. I would argue that the foundation for all our current achievements was laid many years ago and we just kept building on that. There isn’t one single thing that makes us different. Rather it’s making hundreds of small things a little better over a sustained period, with a commitment to treating people right and doing our best, that results in a big difference long term. I was fortunate that I started doing this at a young age and stuck with it.
Jonathan Miller, President & CEO