Building a foundation for uncommon growth through an evolved operating model


Founded in 1979, Commonwealth is one of the largest independent broker-dealers in the U.S., serving over 2,000 independent financial advisors. The company is also a paragon of advisor experience and service excellence. Commonwealth has been named “#1 in Independent Advisor Satisfaction” by J.D. Power 10 times since 2010 (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2018-2023), consistently setting the bar for advisor service in an increasingly competitive industry. Amid changing industry dynamics and consolidation, the company’s leadership wanted to build on its strong foundation of excellence to bring unparalleled service to an even larger base of advisors. The company set an ambitious goal to grow the enterprise to $1 trillion in assets under management (AUM) – nearly 4x its current business. At the same time, leadership recognized that the company’s current operating model would not scale with its new transformational ambition. Leaders agreed that modern product management methods and team structures would help the company grow while maintaining its industry-leading standard of advisor excellence. Leadership also knew that digital products, services and experience would be critical, as their advisor customers increasingly looked to flexible and efficient digital solutions to grow their own businesses.  


Our work together started by partnering with Commonwealth’s leadership team to identify the specific value levers where a product-oriented operating model might drive growth. A core team of Prophet and Commonwealth members then explored leading practices in modern digital product management, directly engaging with pioneering leaders from other leading organizations, both within and outside of the Financial Services sector. Having explored multiple options, the core team and senior leaders applied their new insights to Commonwealth’s business, aligning on both a target operating model as well as an interim transitional state, and organizing its broad range of products and services into four clear portfolios.   

After the target operating model was defined, we co-developed detailed process designs and governance models to clarify how decisions would be made in the new models. We also conducted a detailed capability assessment of 45 individual product management capabilities based on Prophet’s proprietary capability model. Where the team identified and prioritized capability gaps, we defined 25 detailed initiatives to address them, outlining the activities, resources and accountability for each. The core team and senior leaders convened to review the initiatives in detail and sequence them into an agreed roadmap for transformation.   

Evolving Commonwealth’s organization required significant changes to team structures and roles, as well as the talent and skills to fulfill them (“Body” and “Mind” in Prophet’s Human-Centered Transformation Model™, respectively). However, we also knew that we needed to appeal to the organization’s “Soul” to make changes stick.  

Commonwealth is recognized across the industry for its strong company culture and unrelenting dedication to the advisor experience. To ensure that changes were understood to be in pursuit of those ‘North Star’ values, our core team developed a robust change management plan to coordinate clear communications and support the behavioral changes required at all levels – from senior leaders to individual contributors.    


Our partnership over an initial 12-week engagement helped the Commonwealth team accelerate its transformational growth journey. The company created and staffed a new executive position: the Chief Product Officer. All Commonwealth products and services now operate within the four new portfolios – each six with their own newly aligned leadership – and select product teams have begun applying agile development methods. The company has also mobilized a transformation management team to coordinate capability building across the organization and deliver its transformation roadmap. Most importantly, Commonwealth’s senior leadership and executive teams are moving forward with clarity and confidence toward the goal of $1 trillion in AUM and are ready to maintain their title of undisputed champions of advisor experience over the next decade. 

 “At Commonwealth, we’re obsessed with the experience of our advisors, and so we understand and appreciate what ‘partnership’ really means. The Prophet team were true partners – they worked with us to understand our business and our team and helped us find the approach for us. I’m excited for the journey to come, and the momentum they’ve helped us build.”

Rory Barratt
Chief Strategy and Product Officer

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