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The Admired Advisor Podcast

Apr 18, 2022

In the late 90s, Eric Clarke was running an RIA firm and needed a reliable tech solution to increase efficiencies and improve the client experience. Unfortunately, nothing available to Eric worked at the level his firm required. Fiduciary RIAs were still an emerging trend and the tech world was slow to catch on. So Eric decided to develop solutions himself. In December 1999, Orion Advisor Services was born. 

Eric believes that Orion’s growth is largely a testament to the success of independent advisors over the years. But it’s not just the rise of the independent fiduciary that accounts for Orion’s tremendous success. It’s also the way Eric approaches decision-making and the values that lead Eric to industry-disrupting solutions. 

In this episode, Steve and Eric discuss Eric’s vision for starting Orion, how Eric consistently makes decisions that disrupt the industry, the frameworks he follows in business and in life, and where every great idea should originate.


Key Takeaways

  • [01:47] - A brief introduction to Eric and Orion’s origin story. 
  • [05:55] - What technology and resources were unavailable for RIA firms when Eric started Orion. 
  • [08:53] - How Eric allocates resources and makes big decisions. 
  • [13:32] - What changes Eric has seen in the advisor value proposition over the last twenty years and how Orion has adapted accordingly. 
  • [16:07] - Why Eric focuses on client outcomes over higher returns. 
  • [19:31] - How Eric decides what resources to build from within versus what resources to outsource. 
  • [25:10] - How Eric helps frustrated advisors elevate their value proposition. 
  • [27:30] - Where Eric draws his inspiration. 
  • [29:48] - How simple frameworks keep Eric level-headed as he’s disrupting the industry. 
  • [31:40] - How Eric learns from advisor feedback.
  • [34:52] - What exciting things Eric is working on at Orion.



[17:44] - “Allowing our advisors to truly understand their clients at a deeper level, understand what they’re trying to accomplish, understand what they value, will allow us to then not only have a better connection with that investor, but it will put the advisor in position to provide better coaching advice during volatile periods.” ~ Eric Clarke

[28:27] - “The thing that excites me is thinking about the innovative ways that we can be helpful to our advisors, how we can disrupt the traditional ways of thinking, and ultimately help advisors win more than their fair share of opportunities. I’m a firm believer that there’s not a better way for an investor to achieve success than being aligned with an independent fiduciary advisor.” ~ Eric Clarke




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