Is Going Independent the Right Choice for You?

The financial services industry is undergoing significant change. New legislation and regulations, fiduciary obligations, and fee compression are making it challenging for financial advisors. In response, financial advisors are moving to an independent structure, which allows them to provide greater variety of innovative solutions for the evolving needs and complexities of their clients. According to Cerulli, registered independent advisor (RIA) AUM has doubled in the past decade and could top $26 trillion by 2030, nearly 7x what it is today.

Reasons for Going Independent

Fiduciary Responsibility


Client Focus & Fees

RIA Structure

Successful independent advisors are committed to a culture of compliance and doing what’s right for their clients. Being independent allows them to put their clients’ needs first.

Independent advisors want to grow their business on their own terms.

Independent advisors can provide more services, while increasing revenue.

Advisors who make the move toward independence seek the RIA structure because they are most concerned about compliance and acting as a fiduciary for their clients.

What Advisors Are Saying

Nearly half of advisors (48%) say working with a fiduciary is the most important benefit to their clients.1

87% of Private Advisor Group advisors have increased the size of their books of business since going independent.2

‘Client-Centric’ advisors have 93% larger accounts. Less than 30% of advisors in wirehouses say their firms go above and beyond in this area.3

The majority of advisors report choosing the RIA model to gain the freedom to do what’s best for their clients (94%). As a result of going independent, they are able to build better, long-term relationships (73%)1

Advice from Advisors Who Transitioned to Independence

Top Advice

The most important piece of advice for advisors considering independence, according to advisors who have already made the transition, is to do it soon and don’t wait too long!1

No Regrets

Nearly all advisors who have made the switch would turn independent again. They are happier and would recommend going independent to other advisors. Many wish they’d done it sooner.1

Why Now is the Time

Top advisors know they need to actively seek more independence to better serve the rapidly evolving needs of their current clients and make adjustments to prepare for the wealth management needs of the next generation. Learn more about why now is the time to choose independence.

  1. Charles Schwab, Independent Advisor Sophomore Study, March 2018
  2. PAG Annual Loyalty Survey, 2019
  3. U.S. Advisor Metrics 2018: Reinventing the Client Experience report, Cerulli