3 Common Myths About Going Independent as a Financial Advisor

According to a January 2020 ThinkAdvisor article, 2020 will be the first time in the history of the industry when there will be more independent advisors than employee-based advisors. And TD Ameritrade Institutional’s 2020 Break Away to Independence Survey found that 55 percent of potential breakaway brokers would make their move within the next 12 months. 

And it makes sense — there are several benefits of going independent, from the opportunity for increased compensation; to the ability to better serve one’s clients; to more control over one’s business, schedule, and future.

But many misconceptions about going independent still exist, keeping advisors from making the next step in their careerIn today’s blog post, we will be going over three common myths we often hear about going independent — and dispel them by sharing our own personal journeys to becoming solo firm owners.  

Myth #1: “The transition will be too hard.”

Bridget Venus Grimes, CFP®, Founder and President of WealthChoice and Co-Founder of Equita Financial Network: It’s stressful walking out the door of your current job when you have tremendous financial pressure on you. That’s what I was going through when I was in the beginning stages of launching my firm, WealthChoice. My two kids were in college, and I had a mortgage to pay.

Before committing to founding WealthChoiceI considered switching jobs instead of launching my own firm. But after looking at the rest of the industry, what I found was exactly the same at different firms — it didn’t matter where I went for a lateral move. I knew I wouldn’t be happy at another firm.

The months leading up to launching WealthChoice were nerve-wracking. But when I finally launched my firm in September 2016, I remember the first thing I felt was relief. I thought, “I wish I had the guts to do this years ago, but I was too scared.”

And after I made that leap, I found that there were peers right alongside me wanting to help or going through the exact same experience as me. Katie Burke was also running her own business, Method Financial Planning, and so we became sounding boards for each other. In May 2018, we co-founded Equita Financial Network.

Yes, there’s a learning curve when going independent, but there are people and resources along the way that make the transition easier.

Ultimately, what matters most is having the mindset to become a business owner. As ThinkAdvisor notes, there are three essential qualities required for a successful transition from employee to business owner: being a good entrepreneur, manager, and technician.

Myth #2: “I will have to do everything by myself.”

Katie Burke, CFP®, Founder and President of Method Financial Planning and Co-Founder of Equita Financial Network: If you align with the right partner, you can outsource key functions that you don’t have the resources to cover on your own, while focusing solely on better serving your clients. In fact, Bridget and I created Equita Financial Network so you won’t have to do everything yourself. One of the best parts of Equita is our network of financial professionals.

As solo firm owners, for so much of the day we’re working alone in our home offices and feel disconnected from a bigger community. But as a Member Firm of Equita, you always have a group of financial professionals you can reach out to for resources and support.

When you work with Equita Financial Network, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re getting the best financial planning, the best portfolio management, and the best coaching and growth for each woman’s autonomous brand. We make a set of defined promises to every member firm we serve and to each other — 1.) We are fiduciaries; 2.) We are fee-only; 3.) We are client-focused; and 4.) We are collaborative.

Myth #3: “I won’t be able to provide my clients with the same breadth of products and solutions, and my client relationships will suffer.”

Bridget Venus Grimes: When you’re an independent advisor, you can actually serve your clients better. Independent advisors use a fee-based compensation model and are not bound to any family of funds, investment products, or services. As a fiduciary, you’re always acting in the client’s best interest, and so this builds trust and confidence.

Also, when you work with a partner like Equita Financial Network, you also get access to everything you need to run a high-quality financial planning firm — including business coaching, technology and marketing, compliance coverage, errors and omissions insurance, and a portfolio management solution. Equita provides a blue-chip platform that helps its Member Firms run more efficiently so that they can provide clients with better financial solutions. 

Katie Burke: I founded Method Financial Planning five years ago. When I was ready to take my firm to the next level, I was worried that I would not have access to the services needed to attract the types of clients I want to work with.

However, through Equita, I’m able to access the services and vendors I need to succeed. I feel like I am part of a large institution with all of the resources and support provided to me and my clients through Equita.


Want to learn more about breaking away and starting your own firm? Reach out to us today 

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