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Perks of Going Indie: Recruitment Bonuses, Higher Payouts, Supportive CEOs

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The CEO of an independent firm joining you in a prospect meeting and helping you land a $35 million account is but one topic sure to arise — and surprise — in a free, live and interactive virtual conference on going independent set for Wednesday.

That story of a unique arrangement whereby some advisors in a nationally known indie firm report to a separate OSJ, receiving lower payouts but greater support, is likely to come up in a panel session on unusual business models, one of five sessions in ThinkAdvisor’s Going, Going Gone—Going Independent and Beyond event.

It attests to the fact that the world of independent broker-dealers is perhaps wider and deeper, and offers greater opportunities, than many advisors suspect.

Of course, there are numerous advisors for whom the employee model and national branding of the major wirehouse firms are ideally suited.

Yet for entrepreneurially minded advisors who think their bottom lines or lifestyles could improve through a change of firm, Wednesday’s event will take participants through a menu of options while providing practical, how-to guidance.

With live sessions, the ability to send messages to panelists and booths you can visit just as at any other trade show, participants browsing our virtual halls will want to be sure to hear the keynote session, where ThinkAdvisor’s Jamie Green will speak with two advisors who made the move from wirehouse to independence.

One of them, Traci Richmond, became an independent contractor while another, Mike Patton, became an RIA. The two tell their war stories, the gain and pain they experienced in their moves, and securities attorney Stephen Galletto joins them to offer financial and legal perspective on how, and how not, to go independent.

ThinkAdvisor’s Ken Silber addresses an often overlooked, but unwisely ignored question in the second panel: To whom should an advisor turn for clearing or custody services? The decision is not merely about processing transactions, or fees. The firms providing these services compete with one another on training, software and sales support to help advisors increase their production.

It is not for nothing that First Clearing’s Bill Coppel’s title is chief client growth officer. He and his counterpart at RBC, Craig Gordon, will regale advisors with tales from the trenches about how they have partnered with newly independent advisors.

But before deciding on how and with whom to go independent, ThinkAdvisor’s John Sullivan will help advisors consider some unconventional business models. An emerging trend in recent years has been the rise of boutique wirehouse-style firms that aim to recreate and enhance the full-service model but with the advantages that independence affords; these now compete with family-office style wealth management platforms and high-payout indies for entrepreneurial advisors’ attention. Dynasty’s Shirl Penney, Pactolus’ Alan Harter and Cambridge Investment Research’s Jeff Vivacqua discuss these approaches.

One of the presumed advantages of wirehouses was the training they historically have provided their recruits, but wirehouses have curtailed the number of trainees even as indie firms have picked up the slack. ThinkAdvisor’s Gil Weinreich addresses this issue with an all-star panel including Raymond James’ director of education and development, Bob Patrick; Oppenheimer’s Paul Blease, a rock star on the advisor lecture circuit at broker-dealer conferences nationwide; and practice management guru Joni Youngwirth of Commonwealth Financial Network.

So what’s the bottom line? For many seeking independence, the bottom line is how much upfront money a firm will pay an advisor to switch. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than recruitment bonuses, but that’s what ThinkAdvisor’s Janet Levaux will ask top recruiters Mark Elzweig and Jon Henschen on the day’s final panel.

To tune in, advisors must register for Wednesday’s free virtual trade show.


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