Can a company be a startup twice? That’s what October felt like at Sherman Wealth Management as we left the large financial firm we had partnered with and relaunched ourselves as a registered investment advisor (RIA).
When I first created my firm, we were structured as an investment advisory representative of a large independent broker-dealer. This structure allowed us to offer clients customized boutique financial planning services, with the resources of a large firm to provide extra value. It was an exciting time, and we were energized by our growth.
I felt like I was missing opportunities, though, as I watched the meteoric rise of new platforms, apps and robo-advisor technology. I was itching to implement them but saw how long it takes for that kind of disruptive new mindset to gain traction with the larger firms. I found myself wanting to have more options to choose my own tools, my own resources, and my own technological solutions for my clients — from portfolio analysis to risk assessment to marketing. In short: I wanted true autonomy, and an ability to implement innovative tools faster than large corporations can, due to their entrenched processes, restrictions and strict compliance policies. Instead of a partner, I felt more like a franchisee.
In October, I took the plunge again, and Sherman Wealth had its second launch as a RIA.
One of the first challenges I faced was deciding how to prioritize incorporating the kind of tech and robo tools I wanted to offer my clients.
Some were obvious first choices: One of the first things we incorporated on our home page was a sophisticated tool for assessing baseline risk tolerance. The response has been terrific, and it’s a great conversation starter for both new clients and our quarterly check-ins with current clients about strategy, goals and indicators for rebalancing portfolios.
The second is is an algorithm that integrates with our risk assessment tool and helps us not only build portfolios more efficiently, but also enables us to see in real time how those portfolios are performing.