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Our Story + Team

Our Story

In 2016, Ron Bullis and Kurt Van Dyken left a traditional big box firm and started Lifeworks Advisors, an independent registered investment advisor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After realizing all the gaps in the client experience of a traditional firm, Lifeworks was built to address 3 major problems in wealth management:

  1. Outdated business model

    Many advisors are stuck in platforms with minimum account sizes or mandated client fee structures, and they are disincentivized to charge a fee for planning because they are not compensated fairly by their firm for doing that work. Advisor compensation is too often not aligned with financial planning activities but instead is aligned with assets under management or product sales. If an advisor's only stream of revenue is from an AUM fee or commissions from selling products, what happens when their clients decide they can passively invest their own money and save the 1% AUM fee? Or when they decide they don’t need to buy any more products from the advisor? By then, it will be too late to try to convince them that real value is in the planning and advice that's delivered to them.

  2. Client experience + advisor technology

    A disconnected client experience and advisor technology that lags way behind modern FinTech allows robo-advisors to gain an easy advantage against a traditional advisor. The technology advisors are using with their clients is clunky, outdated, and takes far too many steps (and time) to do the simplest of activities, like opening investment accounts or building a financial plan. If advisors can no longer compete on business model or technology, what's left?

  3. Predictable + scalable client acquisition

    If you are a growth-oriented advisor wanting to build a solid practice of clients who you enjoy working with and who value your advice and expertise, there's no predictable and scalable way to do so using traditional methods. It's time consuming, unreliable, and getting more difficult each year. Dinner seminars are now gone. One-to-one client referral meetings, gone. Networking events, paused for now. How do you build a predictable and scalable client acquisition system?

What’s the solution? Lifeworks set out to build it.

Ron Bullis

Founder and President, Lifeworks Advisors

Derek Vermeulen

Chief Investment Officer

Henry Morley

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Brad Ward

VP of Investment Operations

Alex Mathé-Cathala

VP of Investment Strategy

Hugo Castalan

Chief Data Scientist

Brett Smith

Portfolio Manager

Rob Allen

Chief Technology Officer

Chris Bishop

Senior Software Engineer

Peter Kaplan

Senior Software Engineer

Frank Norton

Software Engineer

Julian Shomali

Software Engineer

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