Ask Brad: Should I Join an Existing RIA?

This is the latest installment of a regular column to answer questions from advisors who are considering transitioning to an RIA model. To see Brad’s previous articles, click here. To submit your question, please email Brad here.

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Let’s address the pros and cons of joining an existing RIA.

As background, I help advisors understand the pathway to the RIA model.

For some advisors that will be starting their own RIA. For others, it will be joining an existing RIA. Some will utilize the services of a so-called “middle office” provider to support their startup.

There are many reasons one advisor might choose one path over another. There is no perfect solution. Every option and affiliation model has pros/cons. It’s a matter of determining which path is the most advantageous for you.

I will start with a rant.

I am not a fan of when some folks broadly decree to certain advisors: “You are not big enough to start your own RIA. You should only join an existing one.”

You can start an RIA with $0 AUM. Some RIAs never have AUM, as they don’t formally manage any assets and only provide fee-for-service advice.