Number of Breakaway Brokers to Increase, Schwab Survey Finds

'Fundamental inflection point for new way of performing wealth management,' says Schwab’s Tim Oden

Part of a Schwab information graphic on RIAs. Part of a Schwab information graphic on RIAs.

As the investment advisory landscape continues to shift, a new Charles Schwab survey of advisors at major financial firms finds that more than three-fourths (76%) of those surveyed expect a continued increase in the number of advisors becoming registered investment advisors.

Younger advisors, in particular, show even more proclivity for independence, with 65% of those surveyed under the age of 40 finding the idea of becoming an RIA appealing, compared to 43% of those aged 40 and over.  

“These numbers immediately jumped off the page, and speak very well for the movement to independence,” says Tim Oden, senior managing director of business development at Schwab Advisor Services. “It shows that this is not a fad, especially given the interest in the independent model from those under 40, who are traditionally thought of as the succession plan for wirehouse advisors. The fact that they’re so interested speaks volumes about the future of the independent space.”

The top three benefits cited by advisors for becoming an RIA include the potential for larger income; the freedom that comes with running their own business, and; the ability to place a higher priority on client service and communications.

Demonstrating a strong client-centric orientation, 89% of those surveyed say that they are more committed to serving their clients than serving their firms.

“The stress and added time in dealing with the negative publicity surrounding many of these larger firms is another reason for the move,” Oden (left) says.

Advisors under 40 feel even more strongly than those over 40 that increased challenges in helping their clients be financially successful include pressures from their current firm’s management to grow book of business, losing assets to other firms and advisors, and too much focus on presenting proprietary-specific products at their current firm. Nearly four-fifths (79%) of those who find the idea of becoming an RIA appealing said that they are explaining more to their clients about the publicity connected with Wall Street firms. 

“They like the independent model, which is the new model, for the choice, transparency and flexibility it offers them and their clients,” Oden adds. “This is a fundamental inflection point for a new way of performing wealth management. That’s the point I want to get across."

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