From the September 2008 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

A Culture of Competition

To best describe one of the major differences I've experienced personally between the broker approach and the RIA approach, I'd like to take you back several years to one of my earliest encounters in the business. During my first couple of days with a major wirehouse firm, my manager walked me around and introduced me to the other brokers. He said, "Mike, everyone here will help you when you need it. Just ask." I remember being introduced to one particular broker who was described as a million-dollar producer. The introduction was cordial enough but when I went back to him a week or so later, he informed me that it wasn't in his interest to make me into a superstar. He wasn't being ugly, he just made it clear that this was a competitive place and I was the competition. In the wirehouse world I've found this attitude is fairly common. On the other hand, almost without exception I've found that RIAs are much more willing to help a fellow RIA.

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