Could use some insight re: RIAs, payouts, firm management

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May 5, 2016 1:16 pm

Alright i could use some validation from others in the industry on a couple of things.  but first, ive been an advisor with an ind b/d for the past 5 years.  started with no AUM at all and have built up about $22M in fee based AUM(charging between 1.5% and 1% annually) and $6M in 401k assets between 5 plans...its not terrible but not stellar.  We dont do any type of commision based products sans life insurance for those clients that need it.  i also didnt have any type of formal training program and had to teach myself everything and went for about 2 years without any income whatsoever.  I also have about 10 CPAs firms that weve developed and collectively they have been sending about 1-2 clients every couple of months over the last year...in short, the prospecting/wining and dining on that end has begun to bear fruit.  When i started i joined a 30 year industry veteran who had left a major wirehouse and he said "i wont fire...you will fire yourself"....and through a lot of cold calls, networking, and anything else that drives new client acquisition, im where im at now.  Our total book between the two of us is approximately $52MM(one note: many of that $22M is shared since i either directly or indirectly sourced it and i let him run the money so i have more time to prospect which is my greatest skill whereas money management is his.....im extroverted, he is introverted ) 

So now that you know that, you should know that we are looking at affiliating with an RIA in the next 2 months and we have picked one already.  I get that you have more freedom and you will probably increase your profit margins but are there any things i should be thinking about??  At this point, "i dont know what i dont know".  Im good with moving since our B/D isnt the greatest when it comes to support and helping you grow your practice even though they say they are.  They are a net negative in my opinion in that you dont get what you pay for. 

So please answer the following questions:

1. How much should i be taking home in pay and how should it be structured?  Note: the founder and i work very well together but he grew up in the wirehouse world where collaboration isnt championed from what i can tell. 

2. How important is having a business plan and marketing plan for success moving forward. 

3. Should i be concerned that when we started the firm as a whole had approximately $30MM in AUM, now have $52MM and it seems we still are struggling financially?

4. What should be the overhead for a team like this where there are two advisors, one staff who is basically the business manager, and our rent is about $3K a month?

Again, this is the only firm ive ever worked for and i dont know any other advisors who are A: my age(mid 30s), B: do fee based advisory(Everyone i know is commission based or selling products like annuities or life insurance) and C: have any idea if im doing well, not well, need to be concerned, etc, etc.

What would you do if you were me.