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Nov 27, 2013 2:51 am

Anyone work with TDA and start their RIA from scratch with very little AUM? I was under the belief that TDA was very welcoming to the micro-RIA but I was dead wrong. Without hearing any kind of information at all from me, a rep told me to call back at $7MM and "maybe an exception could be made" at $5MM. Guess they're not the little guy with the chip on their shoulder anymore, eh? 

Before you start with the "this business is really hard, your chance of success is 0 starting from scratch" lines......I know the risks, improbability of success, and competition within the industry.  Just curious to know if it's even possible now to start small with a recognizable custodian considering the huge new fees at Fidelity, and the ~$5k fees at Schwab. I really don't want to go the Jones or James routes.

Thanks for any and all input. 

Feb 21, 2014 6:57 pm

You aren’t going to get any traction from Raymond James if you aren’t coming to the table with a substantial business. James wont even talk to you for their full independent model unless you have north of 40 million in assets AND more than 350,000 in production.

Fidelity, Schwab and TD Ameritrade are all the major custodians you have to choose from. Those fees are intentionally structured to discourage people like you from doing what you want to do.

Your almost certainly going to have to find a B/D who will take you on as a trainee, build your book of business and then consider making your move to the independent side.

And No, you do not know the risks you are taking. You haven’t even touched on how you plan to handle compliance components which is an ever growing time and financial cost for every RIA. If your balking at 5,000 for fees at Schwab how are you going to handle insuring you’re in FULL Compliance with all the SEC/Finra Requirements (soon everyone will be under the same regulatory rules)