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Industry Spotlight > Broker Dealers

5 Paths to True Advisor Independence

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There are two types of change: proactive and reactive.

With the pandemic and economic uncertainty, it’s easy to be fearful and fall into the trap of only adjusting to circumstances around us. This is reactive change.

But the advisors who can position themselves for the most professional and personal growth, in any environment, are those who embrace proactive change.

Many employees and advisors have been forced to change how they do business. They’ve had to become fully digital. By doing so, they’ve had time to think about what it would look like for them to take more control over their future.

It might seem counterintuitive, but now is a great time for advisors to pursue deeper independence. As this comes in different forms, let’s review the opportunities:

What Type of Advisor Do You Want to Be?

Advisor independence is often presented as a singular idea. In reality, there are many types of “independence” available and each has its own advantages and trade-offs.

Before you decide which path to pursue, know your options. Here are some possibilities to help you begin:

Bank Advisor: Often a solo advisor getting paid a percentage of revenue for total assets managed to serve a single banking relationship. Smaller regional and local banks have many options for advisors to affiliate.

Independent Broker-Dealer Affiliate: Often accommodating a financial advisor with securities licenses and giving back-office support help to manage the business side of independence.

Affiliated RIA: Plugging into an existing fully independent RIA sharing revenues to handle back-office support functions and/or joining an RIA aggregator who provides the same services.

Fully Independent: Launching your own independent practice.

Employee Advisor: Working for a fully independent firm as a professional employee.

Once you decide on your direction, think about your definition of success. For some advisors, independence may mean not needing to do any back-office work.

Others may see freedom primarily tied to being able to offer a better client experience. Others could envision freedom as leading their firm as a true CEO and embracing their entrepreneurial spirit.

Only you can decide what your best path to independence is.

But first, understand your purpose behind that move, and then be intentional about your decision-making process to get there.


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