Ria versus firms

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Apr 3, 2006 9:24 pm

I'm a former broker looking to get back in the industry.  I'm trying to decide abut whether or not to go back to a firm like AGE, MS, or SB, in order to get my series 7 back, or just get my 65 become an ria.  I would like some opinions from people on the forum who may have faced the same decision.  Thanks.

P.S. Please no flaming, or offensive comments. I'd like just calm and clean opinions.

Apr 3, 2006 9:32 pm

If you want to join one of those firms, get  your 7 back. If you want to become an RIA, get your 65.

Hope that helps.

Apr 4, 2006 3:24 pm

Depends.  Do you want to run your own business or work for a larger firm?  Who is your target market?  Do you need name recognition for HNW clients or is your network already established?

Apr 12, 2006 7:28 pm

Becoming an RIA will virtually force you to be fee-only. You could have

another BD relationship in the wings, but it will comprise a small portion

of your overall revenue. Having your own RIA is a tough thing to start

right out of the blocks without a significant book. It might be a good

idea to join an existing RIA as a Registered Advisory Rep., rather than

starting your own.

But, I’ve also seen some people with less than $10 million under

management make a go of the whole RIA thing, and they can make a

good living. They are a solo operation without support staff. So, it can

be done, but it’s a tough thing to get up and running.

However, if you have the desire to own your own business, create your

brand and be THE person which does the work - start the RIA. There is

something fulfilling about being able to manage money in a way that

many of the larger firms won’t do… on a discretionary basis. That sort of

thing scares the large firms, since they write the compliance rules for the

worst broker in the firm, and then expect the most experienced to play by

the same rules. So, an RIA would allow you to create your firm the way

YOU want while allowing you to create and manage assets the way YOU


If I were you, I’d abandon your series 7 and just start your own RIA. The

problem will be getting a Fidelity or Schwab to become your custodian,

since they are primarily interested in existing practices. So, do your

homework and see if someone (custodian) would be willing to work with

you while you get up and running. There are a bunch of newly emerging

custodians (TD Waterhouse) which might be more than willing to get you

up to speed.

It’s all good.