The independent RIA life: Unscripted
What's going independent really like?
Two advisors discuss the paths they took.
Morgan Rosel Wealth Management
ERIC ROSEL: So, Sarah, it's in your mind, you made the decision, you're moving. So talk to me about the process you went through to decide where your clients' assets were going to be, how you were going to manage your trading, your compliance, things like that. So what was the due diligence process like and how difficult was it?
Sarah Keys, J.D.
Cardan Capital Partners
SARAH KEYS: Right. Well, to be totally frank about it, we actually didn't make the decision until we decided on the route because we wanted to have confidence that our quality of resources, what we had access to, would not be sacrificed, that we would still be able to deliver the same level of service that our clients had been accustomed to and that we took a lot of pride in delivering. And so we spent about two years talking with other broker-dealers, looking at hybrid solutions and then looking at the various independent routes, whether it was through like an independent branch through a broker-dealer or just totally independent. And once we really felt solid, and, in the fact, and it did… took two years, that by going the independent route and utilizing Schwab as our custodian, that we were going to be solid. Our clients were going to be solid. Everybody was going to be well taken care of, and we didn't need to worry about what resources we were going to have access to. And it's played out beautifully.
How about you? What was your process like?
ERIC: Well, like you, I think the most important thing and fear in our mind was what's the client's perception going to be? So, for us, we wanted to make sure that we partnered with, of course, the biggest and the best, but we also wanted to partner with someone who is perceived in the eyes of the public as someone who is fighting for the client. So, like you, going through the due diligence, we wanted first and foremost to have someone that had our client's interests first. So, obviously, there's some big boys that come to mind, but at the end of the day, Schwab was the clear leader in our regard. So, you know, once we had that decision made, as you mentioned, the resources that they're able to bring to us to help put the other pieces together was there.
SARAH: Were you always going to go totally independent…
SARAH: ...or did you look at any of the hybrid options?
ERIC: Well, we did look at all of the other options, the hybrid models, whatever it may be. But, for us, at the end of the day, we felt that we wanted to chart our own path, from the compliance all the way down. We wanted to be the one that said, yes, this marketing is approved in the best interests of our clients, not someone else who, who knows what's going to happen or change at the leadership of their company…
ERIC: …what compliance officer do they bring in. We know we have our clients' best interests at heart. No one knows more what our clients need than us, right? That's why we chose to go that path.
SARAH: Yep. I would agree with that.
ERIC: I'm sure you probably found that, as well.
SARAH: Yep. Yep. There were moments that felt scary, but, yeah, looking back on it now, it was… you know, it was just the natural nerves that you would have, I think, going through such a big change.
ERIC: That's right.
SARAH: But, yeah.
ERIC: No different than other major milestones, I guess, in your life, right?
SARAH: Exactly. Yep.
ERIC: You just go to do it.
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