The Surprises on the Well-Traveled Road to Independence
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Hearing the latest reports on growing number of breakaways and the rise of the advisory business model would make you think that there is a sudden revolution in the industry. This couldn’t be further from reality.
While the fiduciary rule has certainly accelerated the move to RIAs, the migration has been underway for some time and is indicative of a broader shift in the industry. Financial professionals are transitioning from being professional sellers to being professional buyers, away from being product advocates to being client advocates, away from a commission structure to a fee structure and, overall, away from a suitability standard toward a fiduciary standard.
The progression to fiduciary advisory is here to stay. Cerulli Associates estimates that by 2020 approximately 28% of investor assets will be managed by registered investment advisors (RIAs)) – up from 23% in 2015. But while the benefits of the advisory model are well-established, the decision to adopt a whole new business model is not one to be taken lightly.
What triggers the move?
Benefits of the RIA model include greater autonomy, better economics, the opportunity to create the optimal client experience and work in the best interest of clients. The economics of the full ownership model offer significant upside potential for advisors looking to define their own unique culture and client experience.
In fact, this desire to focus on providing the best possible client service, facilitated by the growing breed of technology and investment solutions available to advisors, is one of the main drivers of the move to independence.