Become An Independent Investment Advisor


Maintain Florida Renewal Requirements

How to become an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) (UK)

If you run your own firm, youll need to submit renewals annually to the IARD. Renewals are due at the end of the calendar year and must include updates on your business to ensure that you pay the correct fees. Every year, you will pay these fees:

  • IARD clerical renewal fee of $100
  • $200 for the state of Floridas fee and $50 for each investment advisor you employ
  • Fees for every other state your firm operates in
  • S To Becoming A Financial Advisor In Florida

    Becoming a financial advisor may have several different career paths and there is no single way to get there. Some steps are required, such as passing a professional exam, while others you can choose, such as what certifications to obtain. Here is one way you can become a financial advisor in the state of Flordia in four steps:

    What Is A Financial Planner And What Do They Do

    Certified Financial Planner or CFP is one of the most widely-known designations in the financial services industry. Planners help clients clarify their financial and life goals. In addition, they give you a roadmap to reach those goals. Based on your income, they plan and manage your investment portfolio and your insurance needs. Finally, they guide you toward a financially stable life and eventual retirement.

    Its a common belief that financial planners are only a need of the wealthy. This, however, is an all-too-common myth. While there are fee-only planners , the truth is that the right certified financial planner can help you work toward meeting your financial goals no matter what they are or your income level.

    Ultimately, every income level can benefit from good financial planning. If youre not sure whether youd benefit from a certified financial planner, it might be time to start looking into hiring one.

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    What Are The Main Types Of Financial Advisors

    The financial industry is quite broad, and so theres a wide spectrum of focus areas from which to make your selection as a financial adviser. The main types of financial advisors are:

    • Registered Investment Advisors
    • Stockbrokers
    • Insurance companies Salespeople
    • Money/wealth managers

    If youre interested in pursuing a career in the financial services industry, take the time to assess your personality and skill set so you can choose the right focus area.

    Become An Independent Advisor With Northstar

    Becoming an Independent Financial Advisor

    Tired of the Big Firm taking the majority of your fees and commissions? Would you like to set your own marketing budget and be able to choose which software programs you use?

    Becoming an Independent Financial Advisor, with the backing of Cambridge Investment Research , may be just what you are looking for. Our Advisors choose what platforms and services are right for them, giving them flexibility to customize their practice to their individual clients.

    Our 4,700 sq ft of office space provides you with a private office, conference room, break room, and a client service associate that will help you transition your entire client base in a smooth and efficient manner. Having other advisors in the office also allows for collaboration, vendor support, and shared client/prospect seminars that will help drive your business growth at your speed and pace.

    At Northstar, we provide a business succession plan that will pay your spouse/beneficiary the value of your business in the event of your death. We will also provide a Retirement Exit Strategy where we will buy your book of business, allowing you to retire on your terms.

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    How To Become An Independent Certified Financial Planner

    There are few restrictions on anyone hanging out a shingle as a financial adviser. In practice, building a clientele requires some assurance of competence or training in the field, which can be earned through experience or industry credentials. One such credential is the Certified Financial Planner designation, open to candidates from a variety of backgrounds. Most either incorporate CFP Board-approved course work into their degree or post-degree programs, or have equivalent training through a degree or professional credential and can challenge the educational requirement.

    What Is A Financial Advisor

    In a nutshell, financial advisors give advice on managing your money, reaching your financial goals, and preparing for potential risks or financial blows. Debt management, planning for retirement, maximizing income and savings, building a portfolio of investments, and even insurance and tax issues can all fall under the purview of a financial advisor.

    Sounds simple, right? Well, the thing is, financial advisor is actually a bit of a catchall. Under this umbrella term, youll find a number of specialized professions and designations, such as:

    • Financial planner
    • Insurance advisor
    • Financial coach

    As with any of these specific jobs, an advisors main priority will always be keeping the clients financial goals and their trust a priority. A great advisor will be able to make their clients feel comfortable, thoroughly explain their processes/decisions, and answer client questions.

    FYI: The Canadian Securities Institute has a great financial services career map and job finder tool, outlining the various roles in the industry and the recommended courses and credentials needed.

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    Evolution Of The Investment Advisory Business

    The role of a financial advisor has changed considerably in the last 20 years. In the past, financial advice was provided almost exclusively from sales representatives, or stockbrokers, at the brokerage arms of big investment banks.

    Before the advent of discount brokers and robo-advisors, individual investors could not buy stocks or bonds without using a full-service, full-commission broker, who also had a tight grip on market information. To get a quote on a stock, an investor had to call a broker.

    This tight grip on the market meant that investors had to rely on a salesperson for advice. Typically, that advice was centered around investment return and buying the products that could deliver it even if those products were proprietary to the firm and loaded with fees and an inherent conflict of interest. The brokers job was to sell, not really advise.

    Today, many investors get advice from independent advisors who dont compete on investment return, but on service and comprehensive planning. Typically, these advisors dont sell anything. Their main objective is to look out for the client and only recommend investment vehicles that are in the clients best interest.

    From a career perspective, this creates different paths for job seekers that recognize their particular strengths.

    Those who view the financial advisors role as a steward of their clients overall wealth and well-being might consider becoming a financial planner or wealth manager.

    Hire An Ria Compliance Company To Help With Your Registration/adv Filings

    How To Start Your Own Investment Firm and Become an Independent Financial Advisor

    With your business entity and bank accounts in place, now youre ready to submit your firms registration to the State/SEC depending on your AUM. Theres no looking back from here!

    I would strongly recommend hiring a compliance firm to help with drawing up your Forms ADV 1A/1B, 2A/B and helping you through the registration process. Especially with respect to the timing of when you actually file for registration, which may notify your existing broker-dealer and make them aware youre leaving .

    You could potentially do this yourself. In my opinion, its not worth the risk. Hire a compliance firm thats experienced and has done hundreds if not thousands of RIA firm registrations.

    RIA in a Box publishes great content and provides a number of resources for free. Definitely recommend you download some of their lists and guides as references so youre up to speed on the registration process.

    I contacted 3 firms, several recommended by my custodian, and ended up selecting NCS Regulatory Compliance:

    NCS Regulatory Compliance

    Cost: $3,825 which includes registration and 1 year service of Level I compliance.

    Service Offering and Expertise

    – How responsive are they in communication?- How easy and intuitive is their website?- Do they regularly publish and distribute helpful content to users?

    Business Specifics


    – Are they transparent about their fees?- Do they have various packages?- How long is the required commitment period?

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    What Is A Financial Consultant

    A financial consultant is a term that is sometimes used interchangeably with financial advisor. In general, financial consultants may guide investors on a variety of financial areas including retirement planning, investments and insurance. Requirements to be a financial consultant would be similar to those for financial advisors.

    Additional Resources For Investors

    Explore the benefits of working with the independent registered investment advisors through videos, white papers, content from leading financial publications, and step-by-step guides.

    1Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.

    This content is made available and managed by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. . The purpose of this information is to educate investors about working with an independent Registered Investment Advisor . The RIAs and their representatives featured here use Schwab for custody, trading, and operational support. Inclusion should not be construed as a recommendation, an endorsement, or a sponsorship by Schwab.

    Many independent RIAs and other financial services professionals receive compensation for services in a variety of ways. It is the responsibility of each investor to determine which method of compensation offers the lowest total costs and best aligns with your own interests and needs.

    ©2020 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC.

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    Build A Strong Website

    For an independent, freelance type worker, a solid website is an absolute must. This is especially the case if youre looking to build a career as an investment advisor. Your website should be informative about some of the theories behind your investment techniques. It should also demonstrate some of the success that youve had with your strategies. It can be especially effective to offer testimonials from customers you have already had who can attest to your expertise.

    How I Built My Independent Ria Firm

    Top 3 Advantages of Being an Independent Financial Advisor

    Following the publication of my previous article, Advisor Platform Comparison: Wirehouse vs. RIA Aggregator vs. Independent RIA, where I shared my perspective on what its like working as a financial advisor under each, a number of advisors from around the country have reached out.

    The most common requests have been either: 1) Aaron can you help guide me through the process I need to take to start my own independent RIA Firm? 2) Can you help me evaluate some of the firms/platforms Im looking at? or 3) Which technology providers should I be considering as I go out on my own for different practice management needs such as financial planning software, performance reporting, CRM? Understandable questions, because there really is a lot to consider. Personally, I counted over 40 unique tasks taken to build my RIA practice into what it is today.

    As the volume of inquiries about my business has grown to a fairly sizable number, so did my interest in sharing the story of my own journey to independence. How I made the transition. How I actually set up my independent RIA after breaking away from Merrill Lynch . How Ive grown my business over the past year in ways I didnt see possible while working at predecessor firms. And what tools and technology I used to build my practice from scratch.

    So now that youre primed on what Ill be covering, let’s dive in, and start with day 1 of my transition from Merrill Lynch to independence.

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    Register As A Stockbroker

    As of 2009, all investment advisers in Canada must register with the National Registration Database, and the individual investment adviser representatives that work for them must also be registered with NRD. This applies to both firms and individuals, who sell securities, offer investment advice or manage investment funds. Canadian securities regulations are known as the National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements and Exemptions. Registering with the NRD will effectively register applicants in the jurisdiction in which they will work:

    Registration Requirements for Investment Firms/Investment Dealers:

    • Submit three enrollment forms to the NRD: Enrollment of Firm Flier, Enrollment of Chief Authorized Firm Representative, and NRD Account Holder Authorization for Pre-Authorized Debit
    • Include a copy of Certificate of Incorporation, amendment or other business document showing the firm legal name
    • Firm organization chart and ownership chart
    • Submission to Jurisdiction and Appointment of Agent for Service for each jurisdiction where firm is seeking registration
    • Include a check for $500 plus tax, paid in Canadian funds
    • Include a voided check to NRD for all future NRD fees

    Registration requirements for individual representatives when filing with the NRD:

    How To Break Away And Become An Independent Advisor

    Breaking away is a common term used to describe securities registered representatives who leave their wirehouse broker-dealers to leverage the financial advantages of the RIA channel. But its also used when current IARs need to find a more hospitable home for their talents, creating their own companies if no other opportunity fits the bill.

    Why would you be unhappy with your current RIA employment? You may be dissatisfied with:

    • Your compensation plan
    • Lack of ability to truly serve clients needs
    • Compliance or broker-dealer regulations, restrictions and limitations
    • Your desire for career and financial independence
    • Your firms tech support
    • Its research capacity
    • Lack of mentorship
    • Advancement opportunities

    Now, lets be real. No work setting will ever be perfect. Youll always be unhappy with one or several aspects of your job. But when dissatisfaction spreads to nearly every facet of it, you may want to consider breaking away. But dont rush into it. Think objectively about your situation. Is it really as bad as it feels? Can you take steps to improve it? What do trusted colleagues, mentors and others think? After thinking carefully about your current prospects, make a change only if what you stand to gain is greater than what you stand to lose.

    How to Become Independent

    Transitioning to independence as an RIA is an intricate compliance puzzle. But its not as complex as one might think. Here are the significant steps/issues involved:

  • Hardware
  • Office applications
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    Purchase A Domain Name

    For a mere cost of $0.99 for the first year, I went with 1and1.

    There are other options including GoDaddy that also do the trick, and lots of tips out there on how to pick the best domain registrar.

    I went with 1and1 because a domain name is only $0.99/for the first year, and they include private domain registration for FREE. This keeps your personal information from being made publicly available to solicitors. Youll definitely want this. Otherwise youll find yourself with hundreds of emails from digital marketing agencies, website developers, etc. I found that many of the domain registrar competitors charge an additional fee for private domain registration.

    Find A Balance Between Being A Business Owner And A Financial Advisor

    Career Agent or Independent Financial Advisor? Here’s How to Decide

    Some advisors that are curious about how to become a registered investment advisor merely think of it as transitioning into a new role rather than becoming a business owner.

    The reality is that being a registered investment advisor requires a lot of work that falls outside of a financial advisors core skillset. Things like marketing or building a tech stack can be a challengefor some advisors, its a welcome one others merely want to provide financial advice in a manner of their choosing.

    In this article, we talked about key factors to consider when making the transition to a registered investment advisor. Once you do make that transition, however, you need to be prepared to balance the concerns of your new business with those of your clients.

    Thats why the team at AssetMark has put together their insights into the business of being a registered investment advisor in our new eBook. Were calling it An RIAs Guide to Business Growth: Whats Getting in the Way? Read through it when as you prepare to make your transition away from your broker-dealer, and youll hit the ground running in your new venture.

    Recommended Reading: Is It Better To Have Multiple Investment Accounts

    Offer All Services Virtually

    If 2020 taught us anything, its that we can do business virtually. Financial advisors around the globe have adapted their business models to offer remote client service and video conferenced client meetings. Build all of that into your business model from the very start.

    This isnt a move of convenience. Virtual advisory firms operate without geographical boundaries, expanding their reach and allowing them to focus on narrower niche markets. If youre becoming an independent financial advisor in 2021, you will want to be able to do all of your business virtually.

    Define Your Growth Strategy

    There are thousands of prospective clients out there who need help, and the numbers are growing every day. According to a 2020 report released by Cerulli Associates, an estimated 111,500 advisors are expected to retire in the next ten years.

    Thats a third of the existing advisor workforce, leaving thousands of clients without professional financial advice if no one steps in. You cant service them all and you shouldnt try. Successful independent financial advisors have a specific strategy as to how to grow either organically or through acquisition. What will yours be?

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    Every Investor Should Ask Questions

    Whether triggered by a life event or evolving goals, many people reach a point where they need more from their financial advisor. You may be asking yourself one of these questions:

    • Is my money in the right place?
    • Am I getting the attention I deserve?
    • Is my advisor always objective when making recommendations?
    • What am I really being charged, and is it eating into my returns?

    It can be a challenge to find an advisor thatâs right for you. But there are tangible clues that can help you evaluate how responsive and accountable an advisor may be.

    For more questions to ask yourself and your advisor, visit:Choosing the right advisor >


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