How I Became an Independent RIA

Investment advisors take many different paths to independence but often share the same fears, doubts, and excitement. How I Became an Independent RIA, an original podcast from Schwab Advisor Services™ hosted by Jerry Cobb, shares stories of how investment advisors conquered uncertainty on their journeys to success.

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An investment advisor listens to the new Schwab podcast, How I Became an Independent RIA.

1. Taking the Leap

Jill Reitmeyer, Nancy Mercado, and Dustin Bench felt limited at their previous firm. None of them possessed a sense of ownership or fulfillment in their day-to-day work. They couldn't help asking, "Are we really living up to our potential?"

Learn how the team pushed through discomfort to pursue a world of new possibilities by forming their own Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm.

Listen below or on your favorite podcast player: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or copy to your RSS reader.

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After you listen

Many investment advisors find solutions to their work frustrations when they go independent. Often, the only thing holding them back is not knowing what the opportunities are.

Learn More About the RIA Model and Start Picturing Your Firm

2. Stronger Together

Joe Zappia wasn't sure he wanted to strike out on his own. So he didn't. He joined an existing independent RIA firm instead, and he's never looked back.

Learn what investment advisors can gain professionally by partnering with others who have already cleared a path to independence. 

Listen below or on your favorite podcast player: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or copy to your RSS reader.

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After you listen

Joe's story isn't unique. The growth of the RIA industry has led to many existing firms hiring more investment advisors, opening new offices, and building an ecosystem of support to help make it all happen.

Discover the Breadth of Support Available to RIAs

3. No Matter What

When the 2017 California wildfires threw their clients' lives into disarray, Jim Aljian and Jessica Markarian were there for them—in ways the pair could not have been before going independent.

Learn how operating an independent RIA firm gives investment advisors the flexibility to serve their clients the way they see fit, especially during times of crisis.

Listen below or on your favorite podcast player: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or copy to your RSS reader.

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After you listen

Your client relationships are your most valuable asset. During a crisis, are you empowered to act?

Explore More Stories from Investment Advisors Who Chose the RIA Model

4. Wanting More

At 41, Jesse Giordano was at the top of his career. But he didn't feel like it. He was no longer happy—and it was taking a toll on other relationships in his life. Then he co-founded an RIA firm and took back control.

Learn how going independent can be emotionally—and financially—uplifting. Your clients aren’t the only ones who benefit from more meaningful service.

Listen below or on your favorite podcast player: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or copy to your RSS reader.

Read the transcript

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After you listen

Jesse's story is inspiring. In fact, inspiration is what many investment advisors gain with the RIA model. Taking control can invigorate you and your career.

Explore the Advantages of Independence

Introducing our host

Jerry Cobb, the host of How I Became an Independent RIA, smiles.

Jerry Cobb

Senior Business Consultant, Schwab Advisor Services

Jerry Cobb spends his weekdays helping investment advisory firms address growth, profitability, and succession challenges. Jerry understands the entrepreneurial spirit of independent investment advisors. He built his own marketing firm that served small and midsize advisory firms. An award-winning journalist and on-air CNBC correspondent, he covered business and financial news for more than two decades. He was also a writer, producer, and reporter for the Financial News Network. 

Jerry lives in Phoenix and spends weekends trying to keep up with his three teenagers and their large dog. And since he has hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim in a single day, he does a good job keeping up.

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Ready to talk about independence?

Switching to the RIA model is a big step, and it helps to talk it through. Our experienced consultants are here to answer any questions you might have. All conversations are completely confidential.

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The above-mentioned firms and their employees are not affiliated with or employees of Schwab unless otherwise noted. They should not be construed as a recommendation, endorsement of, or sponsorship by Schwab. The views expressed are those of the third party and are provided for informational purposes only. Third-party firms and their employees are not affiliated with or an employee of Schwab. Experiences expressed by advisors may not be representative of the experience of other advisors and are not a guarantee of future success. The data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources; however, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

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