Thinking of leaving the wirehouse life or regional roost and going independent?
Some of the advantages are self-evident – the potential to deliver superior service to your clients; increase your net payout; accelerate the growth of your business; and build lifelong value for yourself and family.
The perceived disadvantages and limitations of becoming a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) may need some mythbusting.
As part of its Bridge to Independence program, TD Ameritrade has put together a guide for financial planners and brokers seeking independence from the big firms, “The Myths and Realities of Becoming an RIA.”
“Going independent does not have to mean going it alone,” said the report. “Becoming an RIA is a big step, so it is important to know the facts before making a transition.”
The nine big myths about becoming an RIA are each debunked by TD Ameritrade. The one word answer to each of the 9 big myths outlined below is “Nope.” For more detail, see the report here.
Myth 1: “My practice isn’t large enough to be an RIA.” Reality: asset and production levels differ widely for advisors looking to move.
Myth 2: “The transition is too hard and I will lose clients and revenue.” Reality: most advisors have successful transitions.
Myth 3: “I won’t grow client assets the first year after I transition.” Reality: the market share for RIAs grew 22% from 2007 and 2013, while wirehouse market share decreased by 10%.
Myth 4: “I have to give up my securities licenses and commissionable business.” Reality: you can use a “hybrid” fee and commission model to keep your licenses while being independent.
Myth 5: “If I go independent I may make less money and lose my retirement plan.” Reality: You can keep all of your revenue and build business equity.
Myth 6: “I will not have access to robust technology as an RIA.” Reality: why not?
Myth 7: “I won’t have access to a broad range of investment products.” Reality: Asset managers actively seek RIA distribution for existing and new investment products.
Myth 8: “I won’t be able to grow as an RIA without a big Wall Street brand-name and budget.” Reality: Many investors now prefer independent attuned advisors to larger bold face but perhaps distant firms.
Myth 9: “It will be cumbersome and difficult for me to establish an RIA.” Reality: many custodians like TD Ameritrade Institutional (and Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and Vanguard, to name a few) have the platforms and people to help you have your independence day.