Soon it will be July 4th (Independence Day), the U.S. celebration of our independence dated back to 1776! I also celebrate an “Independence Day” of sorts dating back to January 22, 2010. You see, on that day in 2010 I took the leap of faith and began the good fight to achieve my independence, be my own boss, and have the ability to truly focus on serving my clients.
What being an Independent Financial Advisor means to our clients:
Conflicts of interest are minimized
Note: There will always be conflict of interest that needs to be disclosed, but far less conflicts exist when an advisor works primarily with his/her clients and not as an employee of a brokerage firm.
Clients benefit from an open architecture of investment offerings. As an Independent Advisor, we are able to consider many different avenues for a client’s specific needs.
For example: Many advisors who are employed directly by their firm who want to offer a fee based platform for their clients may find themselves limited in their choices or be required to utilize their firm as the money manager for their clients. While that may well turn out fine, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being impartial.
As an Independent Advisor with an open architecture, there can be many solutions available such as hiring our firm’s team, utilizing one or more of hundreds of outside third party money managers (separately managed accounts), the advisor(s) choosing to build portfolios or models of all types of investments at the local level, etc.
Bottom line: As an Independent Advisor, we are not captive nor are we an employee…we work for our clients. Clients benefit from free flow of research, market information, ideas, etc.
A colleague and good friend of mine has always described it as “taking the training wheels off.” Independence means there is no restriction of information and ideas, no crafting of messaging, and a culture of freedom.
I will never forget my first Raymond James National Conference… things that particularly struck as amazing are as follows:
No sales goals or quotas
Now to be fair, does the broker/dealer (Raymond James) want us to perform at some base level? Of course they do. However, as an established Independent Advisor, there are no sales goals, no monthly or quarterly performance tracking charts, etc. Again, this independence allows the advisor to focus on his/her clients.
On this subject…I have never found any value in sales goals, quotas, or contests. In my opinion, they only serve as distractions from serving clients. In my 17 years, I have found that when you always put the client first, all of the other stuff takes care of itself.
While the fight for my independence was not without strife and some hurt feelings along the way, it was totally worth it!!
There is no better feeling than having the freedom to serve my clients and truly build my own business that reflects my values, beliefs, principles, and personality…not what some company believes that they want me to portray.
Any opinions are those of Keith Holsten and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.
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