In the premiere article in his multipart Road to Independence series chronicling the steps that any advisor would need to take to go independent, Mike Patton discussed the pros and cons of becoming RIA only, affiliating with an independent broker/dealer, or being dually registered for different business purposes. In his first blog posting, Mike relates how that decision is playing out in the real world.–Ed.
Well, talk about “bumps in the road.” In starting my new firm, I had decided to go with a particular broker/dealer that I was with several years prior as an OSJ. I spoke with the initial contact person who after demonstrating their new technology and answering all my questions directed me to fill out their 44-page online questionnaire, which I did. I sent it to them via an overnight service and was then connected with a transition specialist. I spoke to this person a few times and then he said he’d send it up to compliance for review. He said everything looked good and didn’t see any snags. He even mailed me a new rep kit. At this point it had been a little over three weeks since my decision to join them. Plenty of time, right? Well, not necessarily so. You see, even though I told my initial contact and the transition specialist that all the financial planners in our firm were de-licensed as of July 2006 (I lost my series 7, 24, 63, and 65), including me, neither indicated that it would cause a problem. Not even a pause. Everything was proceeding well, and then BAM! The Friday before my last day at my current employer, I was told by a different individual with the broker/dealer that there was no way they would be able to start me out as an OSJ since I was de-licensed so long ago. Eight months! Didn’t seem that long ago to me. It’s not as if I left the business. I was very involved and working as a financial planner. Was this a matter of law or an internal company policy? Not really sure. Does anyone out there know the answer?