Carve your own path as an independent advisor

Submitted by kristin.mccasland on September 6, 2019

Define yourself.

Brett Sharkey

Three Bridge Wealth Advisors

I think sailing and the financial advisory business have a lot in common. You know, you have to know and understand and appreciate many different forces that are in play at all times. You have to understand the currents beneath you, you have to understand the wind above you, you have to understand how the wind is moving in front of you, you have to make sure that you have the right sails up.  
One of the things my father imparted on us early on was independence. And we really didn't understand what that meant at the time, but it was really setting us up, giving us the tools so that we could carve our own path and do our own thing.

Brett Sharkey

Managing Director | Three Bridge Wealth Advisors

It's a very interesting kind of intersection to be a financial advisor because you…you know, you're dealing with the big banks on one side, and you're dealing with understanding product, but at the same time, you're trying to figure out what's the best solution for these people that have trusted you with…with basically the future of their family.

And once I had formed a partnership with…with my two current partners, Eric Thurber and Fred Molfino, we started to talk long-term about having our own firm at some point down the road.  Maybe before we were going to retire, we'd start our own firm. It was just something that we had talked about as s someday event.

And in 2008, when the financial crisis unfolded, we realized that that someday was now. We believed so strongly in what we were doing that we had to make that commitment to each other, that this is absolutely something we're going to do, and we're going to put our own financial futures on the line to do it.

Setting up our own independent firm at that time just made complete sense. It was, 'Okay, this isn't a someday thing, this is a today thing, and we need to get going on it right away.'

Didn't really have an understanding of how to make it happen, and the team at Charles Schwab was instrumental in making sure that we understood everything that we needed to understand to launch a successful firm.

You know, I think one of the things we truly appreciate with Schwab is the fact that they approach our business the way we approach our clients, in that it's the same thinking. If you take care of the client, the business will take care of itself.

I think our number one concern when we went independent was we might not have the same kind of breadth or the same kind of access that we had inside one of the major, you know, Wall Street banks, and I think one of the big surprises was the fact that we had more access, we had access to all the Wall Street banks, not just the one we were working for.

One of the true benefits of being an independent advisor and a firm owner, is… is how you use your time.  And our time now is… is much more deliberate than it was when we worked inside a big bank. Every decision, everything we do is either making sure that we can benefit our clients, benefit the firm, benefit our families. We're not spending any time with anything that we deem as a waste. Just it's…it's a fantastic feeling. I mean, it really gives purpose to my own life, in…in knowing that I'm out there helping people.  For me, it's…it is that connection, that personal connection, and just knowing that we are having a positive impact on…on people's lives.

What does independence mean to you?

Important disclosures

Meant for institutional audiences.

The information included in this video is intended to be general and is subject to change.

The RIAs (Registered Investment Advisors) and their representatives use Schwab for custody, trading, and operational support.

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