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Considering move to Independent, looking for reasonable input

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Jul 23, 2014 10:48 pm

I have a 25 year career as an FA have been at 3 firms during that time, both regional and wirehouse.

Now I am a little frustrated with my current bank channel wirehouse and not interested in another contract.

I have several reasons for wanting to make a change one of which is the thought of being able to transition my business to someone in the next 10 years under my terms and not those of an everchanging wirehouse.

My production is a million plus mostly discretionary fee based accounts. Fee's are about 70% of my business.

My ideal situation would be to be in an office with another producer or 2, but I am not opposed to winging it by myself, I have thought it would be an ideal situation to establish a relationship with a professional firm such as a Law or CPA practice, perhaps sharing office space. But that may not be feasible.

I have had preliminary disccusions with the Wells Fargo Finet and also Raymond James financial platforms, I am leaning towards Raymond James for various reasons.

I am in the Southwest, and appreciate anyones input and experiences in making such a change. I don't think I am interested in a pure RIA format.

Thanks in advance.

Jul 25, 2014 7:53 pm

Look at LPL. Highest Payouts and great support!
All they work with are Independent Advisors.

Jul 28, 2014 3:18 am

Being that your business is mostly fee based you may want to consider an RIA or hybrid option. There are several great RIA options that offer a built in succession plan and proven business development. Depending on your time frame for retirement you may look to bring in a junior advisor that could be a potential successor. Our firm Succession Link provides a marketplace for advisors looking to buy, sell, or merge. We also have a valuation and deal term calculator, I’d be happy to speak with you and share some insight on broker dealers and RIAs as well.
[email protected]

Jul 28, 2014 5:14 pm

If your book is 70% Fee-based, I would recommend a Hybrid approach with an independent B/D. You may want to consider learning about the Hybrid model by contacting this excellent group:

Jul 28, 2014 7:25 pm

Thanks to those that sent private messages, I understand you want to convince people to look at your firms. Unfortunately I was just looking for some rhetoric here and hoping I would hear from some that have made a move detailing the experience. I will check into the Hybrid RIA approach but the ones I have seen require 100m in fee based assets and I am at 68m. I do have 115m overall.

Jul 29, 2014 1:26 am

I have started looking at Hybrid RIA’s and I agree this will most likely be the best fit for me. So far I have ordered materials from Triad and LPL. Any other suggestions are appreciated.

Jul 29, 2014 3:13 pm

I just read this thread after receiving your message, and didn’t know your situation when I replied.

Your level of fee based assets is perfectly fine with our firm. Your situation is exactly the type of advisor we cater to, and can help with the transition. We handle compliance, and have very cost effective asset management if you like to use asset management programs.

Jul 30, 2014 2:00 am

I have quite a bit of information on LPL and RJF, I like the LPL Hybrid model and it doesn’t look like I can duplicate that at RJF unless I team with someone.
The comparisons I am making now are between a large LPL Hybrid office that handles the operations in exchange for a lower payout or my own office perhaps with additional FA’s.
I welcome opinions.

Aug 10, 2014 5:53 pm

Hello Whatnow: (Fair Disclosure, I’m affiliated with Private Advisor Group)

I originally recommended Private Advisor Group. I was with LPL (corp RIA) for many years, and I thought I wanted even more independence and looked into setting up my own RIA (my assets were around what you have now); I did my homework and talked to many Hybrids within LPL and other BDs (I even had lunch with Schwab, etc). Doing my homework, I realized that I didn’t need my own RIA as I didn’t need more compliance duties --all the contrary, I wanted someone to take care of my compliance (but I didn’t want to hire a CCO). All I wanted and still want to do is focus on serving my clients transparently. Another consideration is succession planning. So PAG and I talked last year during a conference in Scottsdale, and it made a lot of sense for me to affiliate with them while maintaining my affiliation with LPL for the brokerage business. I joined the Hybrid PAG in the summer of 2013. Since then, I’ve recommended MANY reps to talk to PAG (many have joined).

Fast forward 12+ months, my business is thriving, and now local reps (form other BDs) are asking to “join my office” …

Anyways, I could go on and on, we could chat offline if you’d like to but I respect your privacy.

Best wishes to you in whatever you decide. If you continue conversations with PAG, please tell James that his buddy Dan said hello.

Aug 12, 2014 3:04 am


Congrats on your career and considering the independent space. I started at EDJ from scratch in my 20s and left about 9 years ago and went to Wells FiNet. I looked at Raymond James pretty hard at the time. I think RayJay, LPL, Commonwealth would all be good choices based on what I know of those firms and your business mix. I think payouts are all pretty similar. FiNet probably charges a bit more on fee based accounts than LPL or Commonwealth, but might make up for it with production bonus’s, and other value added practice management type services. FiNet makes less economic sense if you are doing less than $500k. The deciding factor for me was that, rightly or wrongly, I perceived my clients would be more comfortable with a custodian that they’ve heard of (Wells) and I didn’t want to have to explain who LPL, etc., is (despite the fact that they are great firms). Wells probably is a little more aggressive on transition dollars also. The main disadvantage of Wells is that don’t allow you to be an RIA (hybrid model), but they way they are working on it. Despite Wells being a bank, FiNet is a completely different b/d than the wirehouse channel and we get very little “bank culture” vibe. I started as a one-man shop with one assistant and have since partnered with a few other advisors and share multiple assistants, which I truly believe brings professionalism, economies of scale, better client service, and better ultimate payout due to shared expenses and pooling revenue for volume FiNet bonus. I’d be happy to chat more via phone or PM

Aug 21, 2014 1:06 am

Well, so far I and definitely leaning towards the Hybrid platform.
The information I have gleaned so far is really a good fit for my clients and my practice.
I have looked at a few of the LPL network Hybrids and like what I see, just wondering if the cost of joining a network group is worth it in what benefits the group offers.
Any feedback?

Aug 21, 2014 1:19 am

Of Course the Hybrid RIA removes several independent BD’s from my list. Including Finet… RJF is still an option if I can team up with someone.
So far my interest is leaning towards LPL wit RIA custodians Schwab, TDA and Fidelity.

Aug 25, 2014 6:36 pm

I’ve been at LPL for over 5 years now and I I have no regrets. They are very broker friendly and with LPL, YOU own your book. FiNet is not true independence. I have friends that are there and they are still Managed (Haircuts on product payouts) and run by the bank! Explaining LPL to clients isn’t difficult, they’re the number one independent Advisory firm and number 4 overall behind Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Wells.

Aug 28, 2014 12:17 am

The benefit of 25 years in the business is that most of my larger clients have been with me 10 years or longer, and a large number of my relationships have moved with me before most more than once. So I don’t think I would have any issues explaining a new vendor relationship such as LPL.
I keep running numbers back and forth and although the economics of a move is not my biggest concern it is important. But considering some of the transition deals the independent versus wirehouse versus regional all look interesting. I will probably only work another 10-12 years so finding the right fit and having a reasonable succession plan are highly desirable.

Sep 15, 2014 7:55 pm

I had this same thought about a year ago and finally pulled the cord 4 months ago. I decided to go in as “partners” with another big producer in the bank channel. We were able to take about 60% of our books (we had non competes so we had to run ads to be contacted by our clients). We went with LPL because we heard nothing but good things from local reps that used them (I wanted to talk to real reps and not sales people). I would highly recommend going to brokercheck and searching LPL (or any independent firm) around you and call them to see if they would speak to you about the firm. We also were contacted after those meetings from two reps looking to retire in the next couple of years and want to set up succession plans with us so they don’t have to repaper their clients to us.

Pretty happy that I went with a partner as we were able to do things a lot faster and it gives us flexibility in our schedule (we hired an assistant but there is almost always one of us in the office).

Hope this helped and good luck!

Oct 7, 2014 5:48 pm

The core question is: 1. Do you want to own the business or 2. Be an employee ?

Oct 7, 2014 11:15 pm

do your own research and dont trust the recruiter

Nov 1, 2014 5:11 am


Nov 1, 2014 5:39 am

Make the move, I am 3 weeks in. I have 90% of my book moved and life is good. I sent you a PM with my contact info if you have any questions.