Are you seeking a career as an independent financial professional or as a traditional career representative? This is a question that many experienced financial professionals face today. But is it really a matter of either/or? As insurance companies and independent firms try to retain talent in today’s competitive marketplace, ample opportunity exists for you to find what type of organization best meets your needs.
You would think it would be easy to pick a path, but in reality the choice requires making some tough decisions. The choice, and confusion, comes when considering the level of service and amount of independence you desire, and how to pick the best affiliation model and business partner to work with. Don’t listen to the standard hype that says insurance-affiliated broker-dealers are too proprietary-focused or that independent broker-dealers don’t offer enough support.
The decision should be about what’s best for you. Look around and kick some tires before deciding which business partner will best support your business for the long run.
To find out more about what financial representatives are actually looking for from a business partner, we surveyed a cross section of experienced reps, from many types of business models. Not surprisingly, the majority of reps we surveyed, all currently working and successful, preferred a mix of support provided by a traditional career firm and the type provided by an independent broker-dealer.
So, there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” answer about what business model is best. But I do have some thoughts about major components to consider in your quest to determine what the right fit is for you.
Ownership of the business
How important is it to you to own your book of business? Does your broker-dealer offer equity succession programs? Arrangements on this vary, as do preferences. As with many of the components, the more independent, the more you will own. But, also, the more responsibility you will have.
National platform of resources
What resources does your broker-dealer provide? Does your organization provide resources leveraged nationally that as an individual business owner you would have trouble gaining on your own? These resources include things as diverse as furniture and equipment leasing, sharing of best practices, access to specialists, cross-selling opportunities, transition support and access to marketing.