Displaying items by tag: independence
There is a very large, but little-discussed issue when going independent. When you move from being an employee advisor to an independent, your health insurance situation can be difficult. Not only is there the issue of keeping your health insurance intact immediately following your departure, but you also need to establish a significant health insurance plan with an insurer that can support your current and future employees. So it is good news to hear that the Financial Services Institute has launched a new program aimed at helping advisors with this transition. Not only will the FSI help with transitioning, but they can also provide cost savings.
FINSUM: This seems like a very good idea. This is an issue for everyone transitioning to owning a small business, not just advisors. Learn more here
Stifel is a well-regarded firm in our industry. However, one characteristic of it that doesn’t work for all brokers is that they have an employee model. This runs counter to many of the independents with whom Stifel often gets grouped. Well, that looks like it is about to change as the firm has just hired a leading executive away from Wells FiNet in order to grow Stifel’s independent side, which currently stands at only 90 advisors, or only 4% of their total advisors. The firm is rebranding its independent arm to Stifel Independent Advisors and is looking to recruit new advisors to join.
FINSUM: This seems long overdue in our eyes. Stifel is a great brand and there is untapped interest for advisors to join them as independents.
Imagine you are an advisor at a big brand name broker-dealer or wirehouse. As much as you might gripe about your ever-changing compensation plan or the structures the firm puts in place, one thing you really like is that the logo on your business helps you win clients. Naturally then, losing that logo is a big challenge, both in terms of marketing, but also in terms you one’s own psychology. Therefore, when going independent it is critical to consider the marketing support you may receive. Many RIAs have next to none, or at least not much more than off-the-shelf options. However, some RIAs differentiate themselves through branding and marketing, such as leading investment concepts or customized marketing that empowers each advisor.
FINSUM: This might sound silly, but when considering whether to join an RIA google their name and check the Google News tab. Find key terms on their site (e.g. do they have any trademarked words?) and do the same. The firm’s marketing prowess will quickly become clear.
There are so many things for a broker to consider before going independent. Aside from all the main ones that are usually discussed—compensation, freedom with clients etc—another key concern is branding. Many brokers have trouble leaving the big name on their business card behind when changing firms. Even advisors who are already at RIAs have a big choice to make in changing their branding. All of this highlights a key point: branding and marketing matter a great deal when going independent, and the support the new RIA provides is critical. Essentially, an important question to ask your potential new RIA is what kind of branding and marketing support they provide to help you transition existing clients, but also acquire new ones.
FINSUM: Marketing and branding are crucial areas where RIAs can vary wildly. Those with strong offerings will empower advisors to acquire new clients and grow AUM, where weak offerings can lead to client attrition and few new opportunities.
2020 was a rollercoaster of a year and not just in financial markets. It was quite a wild year in recruiting as well. When the pandemic hit, advisor movement dropped off to a trickle, but in the summer it started to come back and was roaring in the second half of the year. 2021 seems like it will be much the same. Both large IBDs and RIAs are looking to increase recruiting efforts, and offer packages for jumping ship have been getting larger. Commonwealth, for instance is planning a major recruiting push this year, which builds on other big efforts from Fidelity and LPL.
FINSUM: This definitely feels like an advisor’s market for moves. Firms are hungry to recruit and advisors seem to have the upper hand in negotiations.