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Exploring the Independent Broker-Dealer Space

A conversation with Andrew Daniels, Managing Principal of Business Development of Commonwealth Financial Network.



In 1979, Joe Deitch set out to build what he described as an “open and supportive environment where advisors could be true to themselves and to their clients, follow their dreams, and grow to their hearts’ content.”

Back then, Deitch’s vision was unique amongst what was a much more limited number of independent broker-dealers than there are today. Yet he persisted, and four decades later, Commonwealth Financial Network has grown to become the nation’s largest privately held independent RIA and broker-dealer.

What is it that’s made Commonwealth so successful in such a crowded and competitive marketplace?

Andrew Daniels, the firm’s Managing Principal of Business Development, joins this episode to answer that question and more, including:

  • How Commonwealth differentiates itself from other IBDs—and how their value proposition continues to align with Deitch’s original vision.
  • How IBDs differ from RIAs—and what attracts advisors to the independent broker-dealer model.
  • What types of advisors are best suited for Commonwealth—and how shifts in the industry have impacted their advisor population.
  • What options exist for long-term value (LTV) creation within the IBD space—and how Commonwealth as a firm addresses those advisors who make LTV a priority.
  • Why technology has become a key draw in independence—and how Commonwealth has continued to make big investments in integration and infrastructure.
  • How Commonwealth has evolved over the past four decades—and what they foresee as the “next big thing” for the firm and the industry at large.

Andrew describes Commonwealth as a “massive RIA, with a built-in broker-dealer” designed for “those who want to be in the money and wealth management business, not in the infrastructure management business.” It’s a great conversation about a business model 40 years in the making, and well-poised for success for many more years to come.

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