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Your Checklist for Kicking the Tires: Due Diligence Questions to Ask When Joining an RIA

May 8, 2023

Embarking on independence can feel equal parts freeing and terrifying. This may be the first time you’re in charge of, well, EVERYTHING! The fit between your ideals and goals, your clients’ needs, and the firm with whom you affiliate is of the utmost importance.

At RFG Advisory, we strive for the perfect fit with our Advisors in terms of philosophy, capabilities, and culture. Clear alignment ensures everyone – clients, Advisors, and RFG itself – will flourish. 

The decisions you make now will shape you and your business for years to come.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for selecting your new independent home, there are some powerful questions Advisors should ask while kicking those tires.

#1: Firm Culture

Advisors should ask about mission, vision & values. Understanding what drives this organization, both people and ideals, can set the tone for the relationship. Do you see yourself and your values reflected in their answers?

Checklist Questions:

  • What is your firm’s mission, vision values?
  • Give me 3 specific examples of how your culture is reflected in the work you do.
  • What do your most successful Advisors have in common?
  • How does your firm help Advisors prioritize their time to focus on revenue generating activities versus being bogged down by non-revenue generating activities? 
  • Is there a shared ethos among your Advisor Community?
  • How do you know if an Advisor is a great fit for your firm?  


#2: Niche

Advisors must understand which type of businesses this organization supports. Will your business goals be supported and valued? The words and characteristics used to describe their top-performing Advisors should mesh with your vision. Do you see yourself among these peers?

Checklist Questions:

  • Where do your Advisors see themselves in 5 years? 10 years? How do they view the industry? 
  • What’s your Advisors average growth per year? 
  • What is your Advisors’ average AUM? Average age of Advisors at your firm? 
  • How do you inspire your Advisors? 
  • What custodian does your firm use? 


#3: Support

Success stems from having the right team at your side. Resources, including the ability to get someone on the phone when you need support or a question answered, makes a huge difference. Going independent creates both more administrative tasks and strategic options than advisors typically experience with other models. Balancing this added responsibility can be overwhelming and even lead to decision paralysis. You need to partner with a firm that has your back.

Checklist Questions:

  • What administrative and operational support do you offer Advisors?
  • What technology does your firm offer Advisors? Do Advisors have flexibility to use their own tech stack?
  • How do you evaluate the needs of your Advisors on an ongoing basis?
  • What are Advisors allowed to do from a marketing perspective? What support/compliance is offered around marketing? 
  • What kind of support and guidance do you offer around the transition process? 
  • Is the transition process fully digital and what is your average transition time? 
  • How do you help Advisors deepen their relationships with clients? 


Conducting your due diligence may not result in a black-and-white answer. But for many Advisors, the decision will  become obvious throughout this “dating” period. It’s important to give yourself time and space to research, digest and follow-up with questions to ensure that wherever you land is the optimal place for you, your employees, and your clients. 

Curious about our culture, composition and support at RFG Advisory? Then let’s talk!

We’re evolving the traditional advisory model to embrace a future-focused mindset. Through our powerful tech stack, we’re driving efficiencies that propel firm growth. And the best part? Your clients, your data, and your business are always 100% yours. Learn more.