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EP 16 - David Aaron of Cerity Partners & Jim Atkinson of STA Wealth Management

In the 16th episode of The COO Roundtable, Matt welcomes David Aaron, Partner at Cerity Partners* and Jim Atkinson, COO and Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at STA Wealth Management.  Prior to selling his firm in January 2020 to Cerity Partners, the $26B AUM aggregator, David was Co-CEO and CIO of EMM Wealth, a $3 billion RIA in New York City.  STA Wealth Management is headquartered in Houston, TX, and manages approximately $2.1 billion.

With most of the country under quarantine and practicing social distancing, many firms are experiencing major transitions themselves to partial or entire remote work models.  Dubbing this interview the “Stay at Home” episode, Matt, David, and Jim highlight the COO’s key contributions to successful transitions in both business continuity and M&A.  Their discussion also covers the importance of planning for contingencies, routine continuity plan testing, strategic use of leadership teams, and much more, including:

  • How a tested, strong Business Continuity Plan makes for a smooth transition to remote work
  • Their respective paths to leadership roles at their firms
  • Comparing and contrasting their experiences on each side of an M&A transaction
  • The role the COO plays in transitions—either M&A transactions or emergency continuity situations
  • How adopting a strategic operating system, such as the one described in the best-selling book “Traction” can unlock higher levels of productivity

*All uses of the name Cerity Partners, and any derivations of the name Cerity Partners, refer exclusively to Cerity Partners LLC, a national wealth management firm headquartered in New York. For more information about Cerity Partners, visit

To read a full transcript of this episode, please click here.

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