Sometimes it pays to be a no one.
Advisors at name-brand firms like to leverage their status as a soloist for the best orchestra in town. But independent advisors take a different view: they are akin to the anonymous musicians playing in the background — aka the workaday folks mailing you your statements.
Independent advisors have a leg up on their wirehouse and other employee-model counterparts when it comes to being in command of client relationships. And wirehouse advisors would do well to pay attention to these skilled reps.
Successful wirehouse advisors typically position themselves as resident investment and financial planning experts, relegating their firm to a secondary, supporting role. It’s the advisor’s capabilities that are positioned front and center in the client’s mind.
And yet, independent advisors take the notion of client control to a whole other level. Their clients typically don’t even know who their broker-dealer is. They don’t pay any attention to the name of the broker-dealer emblazoned on the front page of their statements: the value lies with the advisor and not the folks bowing furiously in the background.
Clients of advisors at independent broker-dealers usually focus on their advisor and the firm where their assets are custodied — Schwab, Pershing, Fidelity, etc. When independent advisors change firms, they’ll often opt for another broker-dealer who uses the same custodian, since it minimizes the disruption for clients.