The Culture Shock Facing New RIAs

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Wirehouses and banking institutions, particularly those that emphasize product sales over a collaborative office culture and positive client experience, create a stressful atmosphere. Advisors leaving that environment must prepare for the culture shift and surprises that awaits in their transition.

Those advisors have faced enormous pressure to meet quarterly goals. Long hours and uncertainty lead to burnout and turnover, leaving many advisors and support staff to wonder if there is a better way. Over time, advisors will change their goals and branch out on their own to form a company based on their own culture.

As with entrepreneurs in other industries, scores of financial advisors have discovered that real prosperity and security come from the RIA channel. Although it does take time to build new business, independent financial advisors do better in the long run because they take ownership over their client relationships, service offerings and brand identity. They also report higher rates of job satisfaction, take more pride in their work and experience less stress.

Corporate culture problems induce advisors to leave firms

A pernicious corporate culture will force financial advisors to head for the door. Many financial advisors who work in large institutions believe that those firms fail to match their values. They consider it an anathema to work in a culture that expects them to do things that may not be in the best interest to their clients.

When you are independent, you're able to create your own company culture that aligns with your morals and values. When advisors work as independent advisors for an RIA, they take on a fiduciary role, which relieves them of the large institutional pressure to make sales for the sake of commissions. Solo advisors take on the role of fiduciary and leave behind the churn-and-burn games.