How to Choose the Right RIA Firm

By Karen Hayes, Relationship Manager - Recruiting

Going independent doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. In fact, many financial advisors opt to join an established RIA firm instead of taking on the challenges associated with setting up and running their own independent practice. When you work for an RIA firm, you’re able to leverage that firm’s existing infrastructure, resources, processes, and even brand power to hit the ground running right away. 

But with tens of thousands of RIAs out there, how do you identify which is the right fit for you? Here are some considerations to help you narrow down your choices.

Culture Comes First

Nobody wants to work with a company that doesn’t share their same values and priorities. You need a firm that is aligned with how you want to conduct business and meet your clients’ needs. Begin by reviewing each firm’s website and social media accounts, but by no means should you stop there. Speak with their recruiters and reach out to their advisors for feedback about their own experiences with the firm.

Custodial Choice

No two clients have the same financial goals, so what happens if you can’t meet everyone’s needs under the same custodian? With the right RIA, you can have access to multiple custodians – allowing you to direct your clients’ assets to the one that makes the most sense. This kind of open architecture should be a requirement of yours. Your business does not have to be in a box.

Compliance Support

Compliance is one of the main reasons why so many independent advisors seek to join existing RIAs. The ever-changing nature of today’s regulations makes it challenging – if not impossible – to remain compliant without professional help. Under the right firm’s supervision, though, your time can be liberated from compliance-related matters, freeing you to focus on other business priorities – like serving your clients. Look for a highly ethical organization that works with upstanding advisors and is well-known for its compliance expertise.

Transition Support

Your transition to independence should be as quick and seamless as possible, so it’s important to understand what a firm’s transition process is before you enter into any kind of partnership. Do they have a dedicated team of specialists who can support you throughout your transition? Can they provide a detailed roadmap and approach? Do they offer any kind of legal support to review and explain your agreements, contracts, and filing requirements? Keep in mind that the goal is to minimize – if not eliminate – disruptions to your business as you make your transition.

Support Your Growth

The decisions you make today have the potential to impact your business many years down the road. Before you select an RIA firm, consider how you want your practice to evolve. The right firm will be able to support your long-term goals – whether you want to grow your business organically or partner with someone else.

Joining an RIA is a fantastic way to gain the independence and support you need to grow your business and meet your clients’ needs. Before you take the leap, though, be sure you take time to carefully evaluate your options in order to determine which is the best firm to help achieve your goals. 

If you’re curious about what PAG has to offer, talk to us! We’re happy to answer any questions you have about our firm and what we can do to help you build the independent practice you’ve always envisioned.

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