Taking the Leap: Top Tips for Transitioning RIAs
Are you thinking about starting your own firm? Before you leap, here are some tips and food for thought:
1. Don’t be afraid.
Breaking away from a wirehouse or other captive environment to start your own firm, your own business, can feel overwhelming. But it can be a really successful business model for those who have the entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed. Many of today’s most successful independent financial advisors were once employed by a larger firm or agency and felt the tug to become the captain of their own ship. There are ways to reduce the stress of transitioning.
TradePMR has helped hundreds of individuals and producer groups take the leap. Our goal is to provide tools and technology that help advisors build, not block, the growth of their firm. Advisors working with TradePMR can expect to have a close personal relationship with the team members – from our service team to our compliance team.
When TradePMR’s founder and CEO was an advisor and transitioning custodians, it was not a smooth transition for his business or his clients. It can leave an advisor feeling lost. Having that personal experience and knowing what advisors go through to earn a client’s business – and how quickly that can go away – has really impacted how TradePMR is run. We try to foster a sense of community starting at leadership. Since the inception of TradePMR, we have worked hard to foster a sense of community. We cultivate a family atmosphere and encourage leadership skills.
There is no call center to answer questions. If there is a question related to EarnWise (TradePMR’s proprietary technology), advisors call the EarnWise product team. If there is a trading question – advisors can call the trading dept. We want every advisor to know that they have access to direct responses and people that will help them keep their business running smoothly.
2. Surround yourself with good people.
Like any good leader, you should surround yourself with smart people. Advisors looking to start their own firm should assemble a team of experienced people who will offer good advice on all aspects of the business: legal, compliance, technology and practice management.* TradePMR is a resource for transitioning advisors. We know the lay of the land and can help you make good choices. We don’t try to rush the process with advisors – we want to make sure it’s done right.
At TradePMR, our top priority is to provide consistent service for each financial advisor we serve. It’s a privilege to work with so many high quality advisors. We believe it is our responsibility to help advisors operate and perform to the best of their ability. At TradePMR, we train for one service level regardless of your firm size — and to our staff that service level is white-glove.
Another core principle of TradePMR is to provide what we believe is world-class technology. When an advisor transitions, technology can be a key component to making that transition to independence successful. Since the inception of TradePMR, we have made a commitment to build technology from the ground up. Today, when an advisor opens their own firm, they have the ability to instantly log on to our proprietary technology called Earnwise and run their firm from anywhere on any device. We want to see our advisors be successful and we believe technology is a key component to getting there.
Being a part of community of like-minded professionals is also important. That’s one of the reasons why TradePMR hosts an annual gathering called Synergy. You can get a feel for our culture and people by visiting https://synergy.tradepmr.com/. Look around the Synergy site and consider joining us this year. We’ll want to start a conversation before you make the decision to come to the conference, of course. So please be sure to contact us to have that initial exploratory discussion now.
3. Be tenacious.
As an entrepreneur, know that there will be bumps in the road ahead. However, if you absolutely believe with all of your heart that you know you are pursuing the right path – don’t ever give up.
There are many different reasons advisors choose to work with any custodial provider – for some it could be access to technology, for others it could be access certain tools, or practice management support. For the advisors that work with TradePMR it’s FIRST about relationships. A top reason advisors choose to work with TradePMR is that they are looking for a more service-oriented custodian. Another common theme we hear from advisors who work with TradePMR is that they are looking for better technology – technology that brings efficiencies with which to run their practice.
At TradePMR, one of the most rewarding aspects of working with advisors on a daily basis is just seeing them flourish over the years. Being an RIA entrepreneur can bring success. While you may be comfortable with what you are doing now, and making a decent living, depending on your current situation (wirehouse broker, registered representative, employee of a financial services or retail financial advisory firm), your earnings may not grow as the business grows. At first, you may be nervous that you can’t run your own business. This is not an uncommon concern. You may not want to risk a comfortable salary, guaranteed income, and corporate benefits to become an entrepreneur. But talk to us for reassurance – we can tell you story after story about advisors who now own their own businesses. They not only make their own hours and work from anywhere, in some cases they have substantially increased their income. Plus they are working towards building a valuable business that could be sold to internal or external successors in the future.
We rarely hear of an advisor who is upset they took a chance on themselves. It can be scary and exciting at times, but just like being on a roller coaster ride with people you like and trust, if you are prepared for the inevitable twists and turns, it is always a memorable thrill.
Founder and CEO Robb Baldwin said in a recent video interview, “I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing. It is an honor and a privilege to help independent financial advisors build the businesses they have always dreamt of – and even more as they see what can be possible as a totally independent business owner and fiduciary advisor.”
Don’t wait to start the conversation. The grass really could be greener on the other side.
Trade-PMR, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC
* TradePMR does not offer legal or tax advice