Independence is the topic of many conversations we have with advisors who are considering their future and exploring their options. Within a greatly evolved industry landscape, it’s hard to ignore the shift towards models which offer greater freedom and flexibility to serve clients unencumbered by a big firm agenda—especially when watching respected colleagues make the leap.
Yet many advisors are still scratching their heads wondering what independence is all about. So we gathered this collection of 5 podcast episodes which, when listened to in succession, will help you get up to speed on the basics of the independent space—what we call “Independence 101.”
With a solid platform of knowledge under your belt, you can delve deeper into the entire series which offers greater details on models and options, as well as interviews with breakaway advisors and industry thought-leaders.
1. Independence is not for all financial advisors, but it’s a topic everyone wants to learn more about.
In the first episode of her podcast on independence for financial advisors, Mindy Diamond explores the origins of the space, the backstory of its explosive growth, and introduces key players behind the momentum. She discusses key trends to be aware of, why so many advisors find independence attractive, and defines the profile of a typical independent advisor. (Approx 15 minutes listening time.)
2. The Independent Broker Dealer or IBD model offers a mix of freedom and support for advisors who want flexibility but also to retain some of the “scaffolding” they’re accustomed to.
The reality is that independence isn’t one-size-fits-all. So in choosing whether independence is right for you at all, you need to understand the various models and what each offers in terms of freedom and flexibility. Then you can better align just “how independent” you want to be—that is, just how much support and scaffolding you desire. In this episode, Mindy focuses solely on the Independent Broker Dealer (IBD) model and what makes it so popular among many advisors who have gone independent. (Approx 20 minutes listening time.)
3. Advisors with their sights set on the highest level of freedom and flexibility, plus the maximum ability to build long-term enterprise value, owe it to themselves to take a closer look at the RIA model.
In this episode, Mindy focuses specifically on the RIA – Registered Investment Advisor – model, which offer advisors the maximum in freedom, independence, control, customization, open architecture and client-centric holistic practice capabilities. Listen in to get a better understanding of how the features of the RIA space can benefit those advisors who have a strong entrepreneurial mindset, and the different opportunities for building one’s business. (Approx 20 minutes listening time.)
4. An inside view of the growth of the independent space—and what advisors need to do to make their own move successful.
As more and more advisors consider a move to the independent space, they often express concern about the heavy-lifting such a move might require. In this episode Mindy is joined by Tim Oden, Senior Managing Director for Business Development at Schwab Advisor Services. With his 30-years of industry experience, he offers a great perspective on the ever-increasing movement towards the independent space, the key to both the success of a move and ongoing growth of your business, and much more. (Approx 30 minutes listening time.)
5. One of the most popular episodes in the series: Merrill Breakaway Michael Henley’s story represents 2 key trends that are rocking the wealth management landscape.
Like many other advisors who chose to go independent, Michael Henley found himself at a point in his wirehouse career when his professional life became more about “jumping through hoops” for the bank than it was about doing what was best for his clients. The culture had changed enough that he felt his ability to conduct business in a way that was “objective and conflict-free” was no longer possible. At just 34-years old and the leader of a team with a partner less than 10 years from retirement, this once “diehard Merrill Lynch advisor” had some tough decisions to make. Ultimately, he said, it came down to this: “We have to do what’s right for our clients and we have to keep our team happy.”
His story represents two key trends we are seeing: Younger advisors skipping the typical step of taking a transition deal from another brokerage firm in their first move; and senior advisors forgoing “retire in place” packages from the wirehouses for the ability to design their own sunset program in the independent space. (Approx 45 minutes listening time.)
Mindy Diamond is President & CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, N.J., a nationally recognized boutique search and consulting firm in the financial services industry.