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Can You Succeed as an Independent Advisor?

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Recently, I spoke with a friend who left a large bank for another large banking/brokerage operation. He said he felt like he needed to be aligned with a “name-brand firm,” so he chose to move to well-known company. At one time, I felt exactly the same. At one time, I wondered how anyone could ever make it as an independent. I could envision the client saying “You work where?…Never heard of it.” I thought it would be extremely difficult to gain clients and make a good living unless I had the support of a big-box firm behind me.

Now, I hold an entirely different view. I recognize that, to some clients, a “brand name” is important and always will be. I also know that to some, an independent advisor is far preferable. Though I don’t have any stats to back this up, I suspect the independent advisor has gained market share over the past decade.

Why would anyone want to work with an independent advisor? I suppose the answer lies in the question itself. Independent! Why would anyone want to work with an advisor who didn’t have to answer to corporate management or stockholders who clearly have conflicting interests? I won’t even answer that one.

Yes, life as an independent is as good as it gets. Freedom, control over your business, building equity in your company, no political posturing as is found in large corporations. Just you and your dreams, and your clients and their dreams. Now can anyone tell me the downside of that?

This week, we continued to roll out our eVault. (By the way, “eVault” is not our trade name, in fact it is already being used by another company.) It is our way to help clients simplify their lives and when you can do that, you will do well. To learn more about my electronic document storage system, please read my recent post here.

I am also updating my financial planning tool to include a few pages on exactly how a client’s estate would be distributed in the event of death. It will also incorporate past taxable gifts so they can easily see if they need to reduce the inheritance of any heir (assuming they want to be as fair as possible).

Yes, life as an independent is great. Now I ask you, could you create an eVault or modify your financial planning tool if you worked for a large corporate conglomerate?

I rest my case.