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So You Want to Breakaway & Become Independent? Here’s What You Need to Know.

April 24, 2023

Independence certainly has its benefits. You call the shots, and darn if that doesn’t feel good! No one knows your business – and your clients – better than you. Just watching the turbulent advisor M&A market, and the resulting operational nightmare that results from a chaotic transfer of ownership and clients is enough to bring even a well-seasoned advisor to the brink. While you keep your head down, focus on bringing on the right clients and keeping them happy, there’s always a shadow looming. You may ask yourself, “Do I really have control over my business?”

Maybe all that energy spent on frustration and what-ifs could be better spent forging your own path. Untethered from archaic models and expensive failing technology, your decisions would suddenly matter. It’s one thing to envision independence, and entirely another to embrace it. Coming with its own set of challenges, independence is not for the faint of heart. But just because something looks hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it! In fact, at RFG Advisory, our warrior Advisors thrive on the challenge of forging their own path – and we’re here to support them every step of the way.

It’s not easy to take the independent leap. But if you understand what independence truly entails, and how to make it happen, you can build the advisory firm of your dreams.

Here’s what you need to know before you get started on your independent journey.   

Consider the client experience.

As a breakaway Advisor, you have the unique opportunity to promise and deliver on a superior experience in the way that makes the most sense for you and your clients. The best first step is to shore up all your client relationships before you make the move. You have earned their trust, not your broker-dealer. So right now, double down on your client interactions, making them aware of the value you provide, what they mean to you personally, and how you’re best supporting your client’s goals. 

Consider the culture

Think about who you want to surround yourself with and how they will be a force multiplier for your practice. Selecting a culture that aligns with your mission, vision and values is key to long-term success and enjoying your work. 

Consider your legal needs.

Involve a lawyer to review your employer agreements. Breakaway Advisors need to know their rights and limitations to avoid repercussions later. 

Consider technology.

Building a tech stack from scratch may sound appealing at first, but upon digging into the thousands of fintech solutions, this can get overwhelming in a hurry. You may need something scalable, or solutions that address multiple phases of client wealth accumulation and retirement planning. As your clientele changes, so will your tech needs – but most importantly, your technology has to all work seamlessly together. Most independent platforms have a few options, but as a breakaway Advisor, you should select one that will offer complete flexibility to serve your clients your way.

Consider operations.

If you’re coming from a team where there was administrative support, you may be freaked out by this one. Rest assured, at RFG Advisory, we pride ourselves on our ops team, having built RFG Assist–an award-winning platform. There’s no question too complex, and no paperwork we haven’t seen before. Working with all the major custodians allows us to act efficiently, solving problems before they even turn up. Typical breakaway Advisor considerations include office infrastructure, finance, training, business coaching and compliance.

Consider investment management.

Is this something you’ll include in your business? It’s challenging to be all things: owner, head Advisor, human resources, marketing, CFO, and an investment manager. But outsourcing this responsibility requires extensive vetting. The partner you select will have to offer investment solutions that are aligned with your client needs, and in-sync with your technology solutions and overall client experience.

Consider your model.

Of the independent options that exist today, which makes the most sense for you? Whether you go fully independent, select an independent broker-dealer model, or choose an RIA model, there are a few things to consider. First, each has their own set of pros and cons, such as: type of community or support system, back-office resources and technology, onboarding experience, transition support and incentives, product or service limitations or challenges, among many other considerations. There isn’t necessarily one that’s always better than the other, but there is a right answer for you.

If you like the RIA model, we agree! This allows you all the freedom and ownership benefits, but without having to choose one broker-dealer over another. As an RIA in the top 2% of firms nationwide, RFG Advisory is proud to offer a best-in-class solution for breakaway Advisors seeking independence.

Independence doesn’t mean “alone.”

The most successful Advisors have one thing in common: they know they can get one step ahead if they support each other. Breakaway Advisors become more successful helping clients achieve their financial goals when they have a team behind them to help with everything from building their brand to fixing a simple printer problem or more broadly, plugging into a fully-integrated tech platform. 

At RFG Advisory, supporting independence doesn’t just mean creating a platform with end-to-end operational support that works right now. It means always exploring, always looking, and always preparing for what the industry could look like down the road. We help Advisors navigate uncharted waters and stay on the cutting edge to be supportive of advisors’ needs before they even know they have it. 

Discover what it means to be independent, but never alone, when you join RFG Advisory.