Transitioning to

What Type of Independence is Right for You?

If you’re considering leaving the wirehouse world to go independent, you may be wondering what type of business model is best suited to meet your needs and help you achieve your professional goals. The type of independence you choose depends on several factors, including the level of external resources/support you require and how much control you hope to maintain over the daily operations of your firm.

Below is a summary of the most popular options for achieving independence.

Option 1 – Independent broker-dealer

Some advisors seeking independence move to an independent broker-dealer (IBD) platform, which allows them to continue with both fee-based and commission-based business. IBD platforms are offered by both national, well-known firms as well as smaller firms that may provide more personalized service. The most well-known IBDs are LPL, Ameriprise, Wells Fargo and Raymond James.

For larger producers who need additional support, firms such as Dynasty Financial Partners, Focus Financial and Hightower Advisors provide an added level of service for everything you will need to accomplish as an independent advisor. They provide support for all back-office and compliance functions so you can truly focus on building and maintaining client relationships, with few distractions. Although there may be an additional fee for these specialized services, it is often well worth the added expense in order to increase your business.

If choose to go this route, you will need to maintain your FINRA registrations. Payouts are typically between 85% to 90%, and you will be responsible for paying all firm expenses.

Option 2 – Independent RIA

If your business is primarily fee based, it might make sense to establish your own independent RIA without the support of a broker-dealer. Doing so allows you to reduce your fees and have the flexibility of using more than one custodian. Independent RIAs are regulated by the SEC, rather that FINRA. They typically employ an in-house compliance professional to help streamline processes and oversee compliance reviews.

Option 3 – Hybrid advisor

As the name suggests, a hybrid advisor (or dually registered RIA) is a mix between Options 1 and 2. Under this business model, the advisor is registered as both a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and a broker/dealer. Because of their dual registration, hybrid RIAs are eligible to receive both fee-based and commission-based compensation.

Hybrid advisors are typically responsible for their own client reporting and billing, and they often pay the broker-dealer to handle compliance oversight.

Regardless of whether you choose to operate as an independent broker-dealer, an RIA or a hybrid advisor, there are financial incentives associated with independence. Before you make any move, however, it’s important to speak with a qualified professional who can help maximize your deal. NEVER accept an offer until you speak with us. We’re here to help! We work with you to evaluate all of your options and decide on a course of action that meets your needs, as well as the needs of your clients.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help with your move toward independence, I’d love to have a conversation. Please email me at, call the office at 212-687-5490 or call or text me at 917-747-4805. At Michael King Associates, we specialize in helping advisors find their ideal place and achieve their best career path. We are your go-to “MATCHMAKERS!”

Enjoy this article? Get future industry updates and guidance in your email box. Don't worry, we don't email a lot and only when we have something relevant to say. Of course, we don't share your email with anyone else.

* indicates required

© Copyright 2024 Financial Wellness Institute, All Rights Reserved.

Designed & Developed by Altastreet.