Remember when Frasier stopped hanging out at Cheers and started a radio show in Seattle? The Jeffersons moved on up away from their old neighbor Archie Bunker. And con man Jimmy McGill evolved into Saul Goodman before he met Walter White.
Like creating a spinoff of a popular TV show, breaking away from a broker-dealer can be a risky venture (let’s try to forget how Joey left his Friends behind in Central Perk).
Yet more advisors are going independent than at any time before. Cerulli research shows that, between 2007 and 2017, the number of advisors at independent RIAs and hybrid RIAs, those affiliated with a broker-dealer, almost doubled, reaching 63,202 at the end of 2017. Currently, one-fifth of all advisors in the U.S. are associated with an RIA.1
Technology is one of the primary challenges facing new RIAs. Resources must be comprehensive yet simple, innovative yet affordable. Independent and hybrid firms report two concerns for their tech stack: to please customers and find new clients, and the ability to attract and retain new advisors.
When Michael Henley, CFP®, CPWA®, CRPC®, Founder and CEO of Brandywine Oak Private Wealth was part of a wirehouse, he wasn’t “able to really customize financial plans for our clients.” But as an independent advisor, he could select his own technology. “Using eMoney was probably the best decision we ever made,” Henley stated. “The fact that we’re able to show clients tangible outcomes from various strategies has been unbelievable.”
“What we love about eMoney,” Henley continues, “is when the client logs into their portal they see cash flow, spending, all the stuff that really matters.” He confirms that their clients require an easy-to-use portal to keep track of their finances and communicate with their advisor. “eMoney’s Client Portal was the biggest differentiator, especially compared to the competitors.”
Recruiting new advisors can be difficult for a firm using outdated or inefficient technology. An integrated tech stack can improve business productivity and eliminate manual processes, so advisors can focus on providing a high level of service to their clients. That’s why breakaway advisors turn to eMoney, a proven name in the fintech world.
“When it comes to acquiring other advisers or having other advisers join our firm, especially those who are used to wirehouse technology, it is a breath of fresh air,” asserts Henley.
Leaving the security of a large, established broker-dealer to start your own independent advisory holds many challenges. eMoney wants to be sure choosing your financial planning software isn’t one of them.
1 Cerulli, “U.S. RIA Marketplace 2018 Designing a Framework for Independence.”