Most Explored Multiple Business Models; Half Moved Without Strong Influence from Others or a Written Plan
The study is one of the first to explore the transition process itself: researching options, making the move and experiencing independence, as well as its short- and longer-term impact on advisors. It surveyed 173 advisors who chose an independent business model, such as an independent broker-dealer (IBD) or registered investment advisor (RIA), within the last five years.
Half of advisors who moved to independence did so without any strong influence from others or a written plan. On average, they explored two to three different business models before making a move.
“Advisors of all sizes are defining independence on their terms, and reporting financial success as well as personal satisfaction,” said
“This study validates what we’ve been seeing in the marketplace. Advisors seeking independence are interested in the flexibility to design their practices, choose their products and define their brands. And, they’re open to exploring a variety of business models,” said
Researching the Move– A Solitary Experience
More than half (54 percent) of “movers” to independence did so without any strong influence from others and eight out of 10 (80 percent) made the switch alone (20 percent moved as a team). The study found that half of the advisors transitioned without a written plan, yet their principal suggestions to others considering a move were to do research and be organized.
Response from Clients
Advisors said their “biggest surprise” regarding their moves was the number of clients who did — or did not — move with them. Advisors reported that 39 percent of their clients were immediately supportive or pleased with their decision, another 43 percent were initially surprised but ultimately supportive, while only 18 percent were initially concerned but ultimately supportive. Nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) of newly independent advisors said that all or most of their clients moved with them.
“One of the most rewarding parts of our transition to independence was the reaction from our clients,” said
Reflecting on the Move
When considering their original motivations, most of the advisors reported that they were “where they wanted to be” toward meeting their goals. Nine out of 10 report that they were happy with their decision to pursue independence, with nearly half (45%) indicating they knew immediately it was the right move. The No. 1 insight advisors said they wished they had known before transitioning was that they should have made the move sooner, followed, at No. 2, by a feeling that independence is better.
Advisors reported some complications with the transition process — 58 percent said that it was somewhat or extremely difficult to re-paper their clients’ accounts.
Insight for Advisors Considering a Move
When asked for their suggestions to other advisors considering a move — in addition to “do research” and “be organized” — they said:
- Know what you want and make sure it’s a good fit
- Talk to others who have moved
- Do what’s best for clients
To help advisors considering a move toward independence, Fidelity offers a confidential referral service through which advisors can link to advisors who have already gone independent. The company consults on a range of options for independence — from joining an independent broker-dealer (IBD) to starting a registered investment advisor (RIA) firm. Additional tools and educational resources are available at http://fidelity.com/goindependent.
About the Fidelity Insights on Independence Study
The Fidelity Insights on Independence Study was conducted in collaboration with
About Fidelity Investments®
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Fidelity Investments does not provide advice of any kind. You should conduct your own due diligence and analysis based on your specific needs.
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Source: Fidelity Investments
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