The independent movement has felt like a freight train gathering increasing steam and speed over the past decade. All manner of legacy advisors have evaluated their options at a competitor and like-minded platform firms and eventually opted to hang their own shingle and dive into the world of business ownership.
So what is it? What are the keys to making the move, or more appropriately, what is it that is taking billion-dollar teams to entirely new platforms at a pace that is setting records?
We believe there are three very compelling reasons to seriously consider abandoning the decades of work you’ve done in and on ‘full service’ platforms and go independent.
- Enormous marketing and branding flexibility. Go ahead and attempt to write a daily blog for clients or prospects via a website unattached to your firm. Pass that one by compliance at Morgan Stanley or UBS and see what answer you get back. Spoiler alert – the answer will be no. When you break ranks and go independent, or as a registered investment advisor, you get to make that call. If you want to do a radio show – again, your call. A podcast, yep, your call. The amount of marketing and branding ‘creative opportunities’ available to you are endless.
- Hiring control. At no point in your process to go independent, or as you grow your own firm, will anyone tell you who you can and cannot hire – and at what pace you get to do so. It is your decision based on the P&L numbers that you decide work for you. Whether it is someone in research, client service, a junior advisor, or a certified planner – again, you get to decide how/when/why you grow your firm.
- You control the brand narrative. What we mean here is this – nobody is going to sell the firm out from under you and force you to transition to an entirely different entity. Unless you make the mistakes yourself, you will never have to apologize for potential corporate maleficence in other departments that stain you or your firms reputation. Furthermore, you control what products and services you offer your clients; no longer are their mandates for proprietary products, checking accounts, loans, etc. You have control of what, who, how and why of your financial services brand.
Many advisors have chosen this path and been extremely surprised by the upside in client assets that followed them. Some with better than 125% – 150% of assets under management at their new entity than when they were an employee at Morgan Stanley or UBS.
That reality is closely tied to clients’ perception of no longer having to keep a ‘side-eye’ on potential conflicts of interest. Another ‘reason’ to consider independence now.