He's not just an advisor. He rewrote the playbook for independent advisors seeking to create a business with real value. When he sold half his firm in 2005 for more than $100 million to Sanders Morris Harris Group, the Houston-based financial services firm founded by George Ball (onetime boss of both Prudential-Bache and . Hutton)-Edelman showed one could build a firm of independent advisors that would have equity beyond the fees it earned. Up to that point, that model was only associated with broker-dealers and a handful of large RIAs specializing in asset management.