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  • by Scott Collins
  • Director, Brokerage Independence, TD Ameritrade Institutional

It’s Time to Take Off the Training Wheels

Day in and day out, I talk to advisors about making the move to the independent registered investment advisor (“RIA”) channel. I’ve seen advisors from all different backgrounds and business models make the transition to the independent RIA model and never look back.

The momentum toward the independent RIA channel doesn’t show signs of slowing down, thanks in part to constant disruption in the independent broker-dealer (“IBD”) world:

  • Senior management turnover and a shift to a profit-centered approach at IBDs have left advisors, and their clients, frustrated with service levels and increased fees.
  • Many advisors have simply outgrown the IBD model and are looking to move to a better platform one where they have more control over every aspect of their business.
  • Recent Department of Labor rules from the DOL have some advisors concerned about profitability, client service, and keeping up with the technology needed to fulfill their regulatory obligations.

Moving to the Independent RIA Model

Many advisors start at the wire houses, then move independent, and then they say, “Now what?” The transition to the RIA model is the next logical step in growing a business.

To help lend some perspective and first-hand experience with transitioning, on a recent webcast I interviewed two advisors who chose to face the turmoil head on and leave their IBD:

Ryder Brose

After retiring from law enforcement, Ryder Brose, Partner at Baker, Brose & Mitsutome Wealth Management, joined a team at a large IBD. Eventually Ryder’s team experienced the same frustrations that many find at IBDs today — a shift to a profit-centered model, more fees both for the advisors and their clients, and less control over client relationships.

Ryder had this to say about profitability, “Be more selective about the technology you use and the partners you work with. We spend the same on technology now but get so much more;  therefore, we deliver a better end product. Our bottom line has increased since our team made the move.”

Craig Moddelmog

We also talked to Craig Moddelmog, President/Chief Investment Officer, Cornerstone Wealth Management, Inc. He knows this industry from every point of view. He’s been a branch manager at a wire house, an IBD, and now he’s embraced the independent RIA model.

On becoming an independent RIA, Craig said, “It’s a natural progression. From a wire house to an IBD is like riding a bike with training wheels. Eventually it’s time to take them off and go for full independence. I wanted precise control of my business and my perception in the community.”

Take the Next Step Today

For more perspective, I encourage you to listen to the webcast, 6 Questions to Consider When Leaving Your IBD. You’ll find out what Craig calls “lights out” about TD Ameritrade technology, and learn how Ryder ultimately decided that TD Ameritrade Institutional was the right direction for his team. The webcast also covers compliance questions, licensing issues, and much more.

I talk to advisors every day and I’ve never heard, “I wish I’d waited a little longer…” Contact Us.

Advisors have not received remuneration for participation in providing these testimonials. Advisor testimonials may not represent the experience of all advisors using TD Ameritrade brokerage services. The advisors mentioned are not affiliated with TD Ameritrade Institutional. More information about the advisors is available on the SEC website.

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