For many wirehouse advisors the lure of moving to the independent channel can be strong. These would-be “breakaway brokers” are largely free of the desire to be paid the biggest sum of money as an incentive, but are hungry for greater control over their business, the opportunity to create a brand and gain equity with less conflict and bureaucracy, and the ability to provide more customized services and products to their clients. So many top advisors and teams have chosen to go independent that, according to Cerulli Associates, RIAs and dually registered channels are the fastest growing with assets under management increasing by 13% and 19% respectively.
In just the past six years, three independent models were born – and now dominate – the breakaway marketplace for advisors looking to grow: Focus Financial Partners (2006), HighTower Advisors (2008), and Dynasty Financial Partners (2010). Each offers different transition paths and paths of compensation/support. All maintain they have one core vision: to help advisors grow faster than they would on their own.
Offerings can include upfront money, equity, succession options and more; it is a stark contrast to the independent space of old which was largely just a platform with no practice management support beyond it.