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Possible to open a second office without hiring a licensed rep?

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May 12, 2012 1:18 pm

I am a RR with a solid book of business in my small--and shrinking--geriatric hometown community.   My wife is from out-of-state, and we've been eyeing a burgeoning community near the in-laws that would present some compelling business growth opportunities, as well as better education for our children and more cultural/active pursuits for our family.

Can I open an office in the "new" community from which to conduct business while I transition my current office--manned by my current admin--over a period of several years?   My plan would be to share time in both locations (but domiciled in the new community--hometown office has apartment attached), gradually transitioning full-time to the new office, implementing technology (virtual meetings, call forwarding to remote location) to smooth out the process as much as possible.

I don't want to just up and leave, and make my current clients feel like I'm betraying them, and therefore risk losing them.   I don't want to sell them away, because many of them are strong, lucrative relationships.   I realize there's a strong possibility of losing them anyway, once I apprise them of my plan.  But frankly, half of my HNW clients already live out of state, and I'm getting just as much--if not more--referral/new business from them as from my hometown clients.  It sounds kind of crazy to me, and it will involve a lot of travel, but I think it can not only work but work well.

My question has to do with FINRA compliance:  do I have to man each open office with a full-time licensed rep?  I was hoping to hire a new admin in the new office only, keeping the current office as is.  It seems like, with new technology--ability to monitor activity and conduct business on remote devices, in particular--this would be an archaic requirement.  

Thanks for your time.

May 12, 2012 4:41 pm

Yes, if your broker / dealer allows it.  It costs like $95 to reg. an office with FINRA.  They don't care if a rep is in there 100% of the time.