A Personal Story About Starting Your Own RIA

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

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I’m going to tell you a personal story with this major caveat: Just because my decision worked out well, it doesn’t mean you will have the same outcome.

I’m recounting this story because so many of you are struggling to decide whether you should breakaway and form your own RIA. It’s a challenging and stressful decision to make, requiring you to exchange the security of your current position for the uncertainty of going out on your own.

I confronted the same decision many years ago. Here’s my story.

A cushy job

In 1970, I was working as a young associate in a large Wall Street law firm. I was approached by a headhunter who told me about a position handling major litigation in-house for ITT Corporation, which was based in midtown Manhattan.

I interviewed for the job and was hired.

For the next six years, I felt like I had one of the best legal jobs in the world. My boss was kind, thoughtful and understanding. The general counsel was extremely intelligent and took great pride in the quality of the in-house law firm he had assembled.