Importance of a name

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Jan 12, 2010 8:01 pm

In process of going indy with 2 others as partners.  Have picked b/d, closing in on real estate, having trouble agreeing on a name for our LLC.  What do the brilliant minds of this forum think about:

 
1.  How much of a factor does the name play with new prospects?  I realize that the advisor will define the name over time.
 
2.  When speaking with new prospects, how do you position your LLC in relation to the b/d and the clearing firm?
 
Thanks for your help!
Jan 13, 2010 1:04 am

http://todaysadvisor.com/montoya_naming_company.aspx

Jan 13, 2010 7:57 am

I agree with the article. I have seen too many advisors give their firms a generic name, like Lighthouse Financial, then to have a hedge fund with a similar name get nabbed in a ponzi scheme. The advisor then has to scramble to make sure everyone knows its not them.

Stick with something unique.


Jan 13, 2010 9:40 am

Yeah, I've just seen some goofy indy firm names out there though.  And a lot of potential clients get nervous about the "solo guy" feel.  I think no matter which route you take, you are going to gain some and lose some because of your "image".  I know some people that prefer to work with the "local planner", and then some people that, although they don't really like "big firms" they have this perception that their money is somehow more secure or safe with a big, branded firm or bank (even though some of the banks use the same custodian as some of the firms, but how do you explain that??).  I know I have mentioned this before, but a good friend of mine from Jones went solo with Cambridge, and I had a few clients call me (just because I was the next closest office) wanting to transfer their account to me.  They specifically said "we don't feel comfortable with someone "out on their own"'.  I even told them that their investments are just as safe and secure there, and that Jones and Cambridge are just the custodians of their funds.  But somehow they had it in their head that if this guy failed, that their funds would just disinigrate into vapor.

However, I think it had more to do with the "indy" thing than the name itself.
Jan 13, 2010 10:11 am

Each his own. In my area, naming a company the "LockEDJ Wealth Management" sends a signal of exclusivity - and it's a negative signal that suggests I don't want the $150K accounts. Nothing could be further from the truth so for me I would want something that included the words "Capital Assets" or "Management". (I simply can't use my last name. Too difficult to pronounce.) I'd have a different feeling if I worked in a different world.


Insofar as clearing houses - I know this has been hammered here, but I do believe it's important to use someone well known if you aren't. Mentioning Sterne Agee, or even LPL, is going to be met with a blank stare. My biggest single competitor for actively managed funds are banks, and they all use Pershing. "Mr. Client, your assets will be held along with 16 trillion dollars - at a firm all the local banks use, in the largest single clearing firm in the world."
 
Hey, what do I know ... but it's what I feel comfortable with and I know the message is one I can tell with confidence. That's what counts.
Jan 13, 2010 10:59 am
LockEDJ:

Each his own. In my area, naming a company the "LockEDJ Wealth Management" sends a signal of exclusivity - and it's a negative signal that suggests I don't want the $150K accounts. Nothing could be further from the truth so for me I would want something that included the words "Capital Assets" or "Management". (I simply can't use my last name. Too difficult to pronounce.) I'd have a different feeling if I worked in a different world.


Insofar as clearing houses - I know this has been hammered here, but I do believe it's important to use someone well known if you aren't. Mentioning Sterne Agee, or even LPL, is going to be met with a blank stare. My biggest single competitor for actively managed funds are banks, and they all use Pershing. "Mr. Client, your assets will be held along with 16 trillion dollars - at a firm all the local banks use, in the largest single clearing firm in the world."
 
Hey, what do I know ... but it's what I feel comfortable with and I know the message is one I can tell with confidence. That's what counts.

I totally agree.. When I first started, I tried to be to "markety" with the firm name and it actually backfired, so 2 years ago I change it to a conservative name and has worked out much better.
 
I don't think B/Ds help any unless you are with RJ on the indy side.. Nobody knows who LPL or Cambridge or Commonwealth are... But depending on where you live they may know RJ.
 
 
Jan 13, 2010 7:31 pm

Thank you all very much for your input and the referenced article.  It has helped a great deal to get all of us on the same page and we have finaly settled on a name.  Yess....Progrress!

Jan 14, 2010 2:52 am

good job. =)

Jan 14, 2010 6:50 am
Primetime:

In process of going indy with 2 others as partners. Have picked b/d, closing in on real estate, having trouble agreeing on a name for our LLC. What do the brilliant minds of this forum think about:



1. How much of a factor does the name play with new prospects? I realize that the advisor will define the name over time.



2. When speaking with new prospects, how do you position your LLC in relation to the b/d and the clearing firm?



Thanks for your help!





Prime,



Went Indy about 6 months ago and did not create a DBA right away. I just operated as "Joe Smith" under my B/D name. This made it easier to explain the B/D, Advisor relationship to my clients.



Now that most have moved over from my previous employer, I'm in the process of setting up my DBA and LLC. I do believe it will help with marketing efforts as far as branding and making you stand out from the competition. Also, I am a one man shop, so having a unique name with LLC after it looks more prestigious. I'm hoping this will help with getting new clients and moving up market.



Good Luck

Jan 14, 2010 12:58 pm

I started out of the block with "Joe Smith Wealth Management."  I figure the less prominent the B/D is, the easier it would be if I decide to switch to a different B/D in the future.

Jan 15, 2010 8:00 pm

I'd go with Joe Smith Wealth Management (or Asset Management) and explain that the client is simply moving your assets to a new brokerage and giving you limited discretion to direct them at that firm. If you go bust, the only thing that would change would be you.

A big name custodian makes all the difference, but there really aren't any "big names" in the indy brokerage world, so I'd make generous use of your new custodian's marketing materials (eg "You, your advisor and Madoff Securities")