So you’ve been thinking about breaking away from the wirehouse scene.
You know a ton of advisors are doing it – they’re taking control and becoming happily and successfully independent. But how do you know if it’s the right move for you? Asking yourself these six questions might help you decide.
1. Do you like the idea of independence and the flexibility that comes with it?
Some advisors do well working for a big firm. They like being given a script to follow when talking with clients, being told which investments they can recommend and having a compensation plan structured (and often changed) by the ones in charge.
Advisors who make a successful bid for independence think a little more out of the box than a wirehouse allows. Independent advisors are passionate about serving their clients and chafe at the restrictions set by big firms. They don’t want someone else to tell them how they can (or can’t) provide service or how (and how much) they will be paid.
2. Are you willing (and able) to be patient as you build your business?
A successful transition to independence won’t happen overnight, and we’re not going to pretend that it will. Transitioning advisors don’t tend to strike it rich immediately, but with a little patience and time, the financial rewards of calling all the shots will come.
To help you prepare, save up some money before you break away so you will have enough funds to get you through the early stages of your transition. If start-up cash is a concern, talk to Gladstone for some ideas on financing options.
3. Do you have strong relationships with your clients?
One of the biggest concerns when considering a transition is whether or not you’ll be able to keep your clients. Put simply, the stronger your client relationships, the more likely your clients will be to follow you.
If you have gotten to know your clients (and their families), they’re comfortable with you and it’s clear you’re looking out for their future, then don’t worry. Those advisors who are merely an “insert advisor/planner name here” name on the occasional client message, however, have some real work to do.
4. Do you have time to strengthen your client relationships through more frequent contact before you leave?
Even with a book of strong client relationships, do what you can to start strengthening those relationships months in advance of your departure. One of the best ways to do this is stepping up the frequency with which you reach out to your clients. Call them to see how they’re doing, send an email to ask how you can better serve them, even drop them a note in the mail. Don’t underestimate the value of frequent (and sincere) contact.
5. Are you able to take basic client information with you?
If you can take your clients’ contact information with you – and assuming it’s legally permissible within the terms of any agreement you may have with your firm – do a client outreach letting them know where you’ve gone and why. If not, make sure your clients have your personal contact information (make it part of that frequent contact we just talked about) so that when they learn of your departure, it will be easy to find you.
6. Are you able to secure office space, compliance services and administrative, technology, sales and marketing support?
Hold on – don’t panic. Sure, a lot goes into breaking away successfully, and most advisors don’t know how to do all of it themselves.
Heck, even if you are one of those rarities who can do it all, wouldn’t you rather spend your time and energy focusing on clients and prospects than on software and financial regulations?
That’s why you should talk to us at Gladstone before you breakway.
We know what goes into running a successful practice, and we can take as many or as few of those critical functions off your plate as you want. Wherever you are along your journey to independence, we’ve got the personal support and custom solutions you need to take you there.