The number of wirehouse advisors over the years who switch to independent firms tends to rise at a glacial pace—far out of proportion to the estimated two-thirds of advisors who profess to want independence.
Advisors say they value the added flexibility, autonomy, increased pay, improved technology and reduced bureaucracy that come with independence. Yet time and again they fail to pull the trigger. What’s holding them back?
In a word, it’s fear.
Fear of starting over, fear of losing good clients, fear of taking a temporary financial hit, fear of the loss of wirehouse branding, fear of not becoming a better advisor despite the change … and many other fears as well.
Now, for some advisors, their wirehouse offers the perfect fit and they are as contented as can be. What follows is not an argument for leaving a constructive and fulfilling place of work.
But advisors who believe their current work environment is an impediment to their achieving their professional potential, who feel they are not free to serve their clients in the optimal way or who simply worry their firm will eventually cut them loose at the time of their choosing should make a plan to leave.
To do this successfully, advisors need to run toward rather than away from their fears.
Just like investors who eschew the portfolio risk they need to achieve their long-term objectives, advisors too need to appreciate that fear (like risk) is a tool for living.
Fear rouses your consciousness, makes you appreciate life, keeps you from focusing on petty concerns.