You've been thinking for a while about making the move from being a "registered rep" to operating your own RIA. Right now, it seems as if your move is equal parts of excitement and challenge.
Yes, you have a new sense of freedom, but it can seem daunting at times. As you ready yourself, just remember that good prep work can reduce your fears and increase the likelihood of success.
Clyde Wyatt, an independent advisor who as managing director of Navigation Financial in Dallas, has coached and mentored dozens of newly independent advisors, points out the advantages and challenges of independence. "As an independent advisor, you have the ability to structure your work lifestyle so that it complements your personal lifestyle, instead of overpowering it," he says.
You have the flexibility to choose the type of people and support staff with whom you want to work, he points out–but of course you have to be your own human resources manager.
In addition, continues Wyatt, you can structure your office hours or workdays to accommodate your needs and the needs of your clients — but you have to come to terms with the kinds of clients you want and what they require.
You have control to move your clients in the direction that you wish to go, in terms of products and services offered, for example–but you have to develop the knowledge and research skills to make those decisions.
Don Patrick, another independent advisor who manages "an elite consortium of advisors" under the banner Integrated Financial Group based in Atlanta, says, "You're not an employee. You don't have an employer. You are the business owner. It's total control, choice and absolutely an increase in profits."
With total control comes responsibility, of course.
ESTABLISHING YOUR OWN OFFICE
Consider one of the biggest challenges you face as you go independent: the loss of a big brand name. You're no longer affiliated with a major well-known company. But Wyatt calls this "loss" a myth.