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One-Way Street to Independence

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During a Webcast on June 1, Schwab Institutional joined with Moss Adams in leading a discussion with advisors who are considering transitioning to independence. Discussed were the benefits, risks, and possibilities of making the switch to an existing RIA firm.

“There’s one statistic I think about and one statistic I never see,” said Philip Palaveev, of Moss Adams. “That’s the number of advisors who actually abandon their own firm to go back into the wirehouse, I’ve spoken with a lot of independent advisors. I just never have the conversation, ‘Oh, I really miss the compliance department and the branch manager and the product people.’ It just doesn’t happen. The migration of advisors is a one-way street.”

One advisor who left a major firm, Patrick Sizemore, now the president and CEO of Strategic Wealth Management Inc., based in Kirkland, Washington, said his firm looks for client-oriented advisors in evaluating an advisor switching to independence.

“As I talk to advisors [who are looking to go independent] the main thing they are seeking is true independence to serve their clients,” he said. “They are tired of people telling them to put their clients in a box. The one characteristic we find in most people we talk to is that they want independence and [to] put the client first and the firm second.”

Advisors on the call who wished to remain anonymous, and who are contemplating going independent, asked questions regarding finding compatible RIA firms, task distribution, technology, and business growth.