JEFF BOTTORFF: Hello, I'm Jeff Bottorff, Managing Director with Schwab Advisor Services, and I'm joined today by Fariba Ronnasi. Fariba is the President and Founder of Elite Wealth Management. Thanks for joining us today, Fariba.
FARIBA RONNASI: Thank you for including me.
JEFF: Of course. I'd like to start off with your story a little bit. What prompted your ultimate decision to establish your own RIA and become an independent advisor?
FABRIA: In my last job, before I started Elite Wealth Management, I was the managing director, for their entire private wealth division throughout the country. So I contacted my clients and asked them if they would be willing to join me if I went on my own. So at that point, I turned in my resignation, and in July of 2004 is when Elite Wealth Management started.
JEFF: That's great. And in that spirit, it sounds like your clients received the decision well. But could you tell us a little bit about that transition and how your clients did react?
FABRIA: Absolutely. So one of the main questions that pretty much most of them asked is where are the assets going to be custodied? And at that point I had done my due diligence and made the decision to go with Schwab. And not one was concerned about where I was moving. Everybody recognized the name. They knew that it's a reputable company, one of the largest out there. So it was very well received.
JEFF: And another question I might have is how you and your staff received the move to independence. I think there's a notion out there that maybe there's a downgrade in support, service, consulting, help, those kinds of things. What would be your reaction to that?
FABRIA: It was concerning making that switch, because, obviously, when you work for a large firm, you pick up the phone and there's always people there that take care of things. When you go on your own, everything stops at your desk. So in the process of interviewing other friends, the one thing that I found out about Schwab was that they had a team that could walk me through every step of how to go on my own and get everything set up properly, from setting up my first website to hire a compliance firm to work with, and also getting the proper support on the team where they would be able to manage all of my clients on the West Coast without any glitch, having an 800 number that was exclusive to institutional clients, knowing that my clients could call that number, and getting the proper support where I didn't feel that something was falling through the cracks on the back end of it. I felt like they were part of my team. And that was extremely important to me.
JEFF: That's really great. Well, we appreciate the time and insight today, Fariba. Thanks, and have a great day.
FABRIA: My pleasure. Have a wonderful day.
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