I'm a former broker looking to get back in the industry. I'm trying to decide abut whether or not to go back to a firm like AGE, MS, or SB, in order to get my series 7 back, or just get my 65 become an ria. I would like some opinions from people on the forum who may have faced the same decision. Thanks.
P.S. Please no flaming, or offensive comments. I'd like just calm and clean opinions.
If you want to join one of those firms, get your 7 back. If you want to become an RIA, get your 65.
Hope that helps.
Depends. Do you want to run your own business or work for a larger firm? Who is your target market? Do you need name recognition for HNW clients or is your network already established?
Becoming an RIA will virtually force you to be fee-only. You could have
another BD relationship in the wings, but it will comprise a small portion
of your overall revenue. Having your own RIA is a tough thing to start
right out of the blocks without a significant book. It might be a good
idea to join an existing RIA as a Registered Advisory Rep., rather than
starting your own.
But, I’ve also seen some people with less than $10 million under
management make a go of the whole RIA thing, and they can make a
good living. They are a solo operation without support staff. So, it can
be done, but it’s a tough thing to get up and running.
However, if you have the desire to own your own business, create your
brand and be THE person which does the work - start the RIA. There is
something fulfilling about being able to manage money in a way that
many of the larger firms won’t do… on a discretionary basis. That sort of
thing scares the large firms, since they write the compliance rules for the
worst broker in the firm, and then expect the most experienced to play by
the same rules. So, an RIA would allow you to create your firm the way
YOU want while allowing you to create and manage assets the way YOU
If I were you, I’d abandon your series 7 and just start your own RIA. The
problem will be getting a Fidelity or Schwab to become your custodian,
since they are primarily interested in existing practices. So, do your
homework and see if someone (custodian) would be willing to work with
you while you get up and running. There are a bunch of newly emerging
custodians (TD Waterhouse) which might be more than willing to get you
up to speed.
It’s all good.