Many independent RIA firms didn’t necessarily start independent. Some had experiences working for large financial organizations and became frustrated with the silos created for the company, which were usually not for the advisors and frequently not about the end client.
These RIAs that made the leap to independence share similar characteristics to the entrepreneurs I wrote about in a previous NesBIT on ‘Mindset vs. Skillset’, and went independent primarily for their clients and because of their entrepreneurial mindset. Through all the hard work it takes to start an independent RIA firm, I am confident that most business owners can look back fondly on all the rewarding benefits of being independent, such as creating their business plan, deciding the clients they’ll serve, putting their team together, and much more.
There is a lot of noise today about the aging of many independent advisors. In fact, it is driving some to make quick decisions and start speeding down a path they may later regret. They may even find themselves in the same spot they were before they started their own firm. Just as advisors tell their clients how important it is to have a plan and then help to manage their behavior, it is just as imperative that advisors take their own advice as well. The building of an independent firm does not happen overnight, and neither should the building of a succession plan. What was the reason you chose independence? Don’t lose sight of that during the next phase of your business.
As with any large decision regarding your firm, it is a good idea to have a partner and advocate that understands and has experienced all the dynamics of succession planning. Whether it’s an internal succession, purchase of a firm or M&A, there is a process to ensure you are making the best decision for your firm, your team, and most importantly, your clients.
We are fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom to choose to be an independent RIA. What does freedom mean to you?
Happy Independence Day!