How Big Is Your Appetite For Independence?

  • The Breakaway Menu
  • A Size That’s Right for You
  • How to Get a Taste of Freedom

Once, all financial advisors took the same path… go work for a big brokerage firm or wirehouse and then grow your book of business by leveraging their brand and resources. They take their cut, you get yours — and when quotas and goals are met and exceeded, everyone celebrates.

But the industry has evolved as more and more advisors want greater independence. And, in turn, more and more options are available and being offered to them to make a move. 

That’s the good news / bad news. There are so many options, models and hybrid models that it’s hard, if not next to impossible, to get a true apple to apple comparison.

As advisors make the decision to breakaway, they find themselves having to figure the key differences that set one option apart from the others and, more importantly, which is right for them. 

The top two options for breakaway advisors looking for independence are:

  • Go all in from the get-go and start your own RIA firm
  • Join an existing firm, also known as the tuck-in model 

With each model having its own up and downside, it weighs on the advisors’ shoulders to determine what they are most comfortable with and what fits in best with their goals and aspirations. 

Choosing the tuck-in route comes with a big taste of independence without fully venturing out on your own. It brings many of the benefits of a wirehouse but with more of the freedom of being independent. Tucking-in means pre-established infrastructure at your fingertips and access to the existing firm’s compliance program, technology and marketing. 

From a financial standpoint, independence can be a big weight to bear, which is why tucking-in can be a compelling option for some advisors. It’s also a more affordable option for advisors who may not have the capital upfront to cover start-up costs. But when you come down to it, the tuck-in model offers advisors less control over their business. 

Going one step beyond the tuck-in model is the full independence route. Being a fully independent RIA means the world, or in this case, your business, and is your oyster — you get the freedom to take your business in any direction you want. That means you have the opportunity to customize every part of your business, from the infrastructure to resources and everything in between. And as you build your business and brand as an independent RIA, your book of business will have a higher value than it would being tucked-in with another RIA. 

But establishing your own firm doesn’t come without its share of hardships. From the start, advisors will have to dole out a steep amount of money from their own pockets to get the firm off the ground. From there, advisors will be faced with fulfilling operational duties and marketing activities that were handled for them at their former wirehouse. 

The decision to breakaway can be tough enough, but then advisors are faced with the choice of which road of independence they want to take. There’s no right or wrong answer, and in many cases, the tuck-in model is a great stepping stone to full independence — or the perfect long-term solution for many professionals. It all depends on what the advisor is willing to take on and what they think is the best move for themselves and their clients. 

As you begin exploring your breakaway options, look to 3xEquity as your transition guru. We have the expertise, data, and experience to help you find the right home for your business. We’ll be by your side every step of the way answering any questions and helping you make an informed decision. In fact, we can provide you with three qualified offers from today’s leading broker-dealers and walk you through them. Check out or call 855.491.2910 today to learn more.

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