After almost five years representing Carson Group in a variety of roles, Managing Partner of Wealth Solutions Jamie Hopkins is leaving at the end of the month to lead a private wealth team at Bryn Mawr Trust, a bank-owned wealth management firm near his home in Pennsylvania.
Hopkins is also walking away from his “Framework” podcast. For the rest of the year, some pre-recorded episodes will be released, and his co-host Ana Trujillo Limón will experiment with new partners and formats. His last episodes will be recorded at the annual Financial Planning Association conference, taking place in Phoenix at the end of September.
The conference will also serve as Hopkins’ final days with Carson. He starts at Bryn Mawr on Oct. 2.
“That was probably a pretty terrible decision,” he said, during last week’s annual Excell conference, hosted by Carson in Nashville. “People keep telling me I should have taken some time off.”
Hopkins will retain his equity stake in Carson and continue to serve as president of the FinServ Foundation, a separate non-profit that works closely with Carson and other industry professionals to provide education and mentorship to students considering careers in financial services. Launched by Hopkins in 2020, FinServ is supported by a five-year, $500,000 commitment from BlackRock and has grown from 40 students to 200.
“So, that will be nice because it keeps a really nice connection point,” he said. “And I’m staying as a partner on the investment side, so it’s not like I died and will never be heard from again.”
The face of Carson at countless industry events over the last several years, Hopkins has been on the road for much longer, estimating that he has spent an average of around 150 nights away every year—apart from 2020, when all travel shut down—since launching his retirement consulting business in 2012. He said he’s leaving the firm to spend more time with his wife, three young children and dog, Baxter.
“The big part is that it’s keeping me in a similar place, but it’s not identical,” Hopkins explained. “The banking world is actually a very different world than the RIA world—they close, and you get to stop working and go home at the end of the day.”
Describing himself as “bad at self-regulation,” Hopkins said that taking on a lesser role within Carson simply wouldn’t work.
“That’s just not me,” he said. “I hop on planes and go places. So, I really had to find something in my area where I can drive to an office nearby as kind of a control mechanism for myself. It’ll be different, but it will be good for me.”
“He’s really struggled with this,” said Carson Managing Director and Chief Strategy Officer Burt White. “And we’re all really going to miss him. But he’s making the right priorities and I’m proud of him.”
“I’m sad to see Jamie leave. He has been a vital part of Carson’s team over the years,” said Jeremy Willner, founder and CEO of Carson partner firm MAG Wealth Management. “The knowledge of the industry and ease he has in communicating with detailed information is going to be missed. But Carson believes in work/life balance and ‘Finding Your Freedom,’ and Jamie is following this. He wants to spend more time with family, and I admire him for that.”
White said Hopkins will be inducted into a Carson “Hall of Fame” and is unlikely to be replaced by a single individual.
“We’ve hired a couple of very strong people and have been taking things off his plate for the last couple of years,” he said.
White pointed to Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Advanced Solutions Erin Wood—the recipient of this year’s Thought Leader of the Year award in the Individual RIA Firm Leaders category at the 2023 WealthManagement.com Industry Awards (won last year by Hopkins and the year before by Ron Carson). White said Wood has been Hopkins’ “disciple” for several years and “is ready to spread her wings.” And Thomas Pargett, who joined earlier this year from Creative Planning as vice president of advisor development, has already taken over leadership of Carson Wealth’s flagship Omaha office.
“I think we feel good about where we sit right now,” said White, who will be taking Hopkins’ place at industry events.
“This is the most people we’ve ever had,” said Hopkins. “It’s just a really amazing team—and I’m not saying that because I hired almost half of them.”
Confident Carson is in good hands, he said it remains to be seen how he will adjust to his new lifestyle but that he’s looking forward to driving his kids to practices and play dates.
“My daughter said something really sweet,” he said of his 7-year-old. “She was like, ‘Daddy, I’m really happy that you’re going to work near home now, but I understand it if you want to go back to Carson soon because you have a lot of friends there that need you.”
A spokesperson for Bryn Mawr did not respond to requests for comment prior to publication.