You’ve been at the Wirehouse for some time now. Why should you start your own firm? Can you make more money owning and running your own firm, as opposed to being an employee at your current firm? Can you monetize your practice at a higher valuation by owning your own business or being inside a larger company? Where are you in this process? What questions should you be asking?

There are many benefits of being independent:

  • Own and control your own business, manage your future
  • Build a growing asset that you could monetize when you’re ready
  • Focus on your goals as an Owner vs. Employee
  • Align yourself with a firm whose business model enables your growth
  • Keep more of what you earn
  • Access to a broader product universe

Let us help you think through your options. At Sowell Management Services, we help advisors take back their independence. We provide a turnkey back office suite of solutions that allows you to scale your business and maximize revenue potential as your business grows. This platform includes:

  • Integrated technology suite, including Salesforce Financial Cloud, SharePoint and Microsoft Office.
  • Comprehensive portfolio design programs
  • Managed trading solutions
  • Dedicated compliance resource and partner
  • Experienced transition team that handles all client paperwork and processing, to smoothly move your business to your new home.
  • Practice valuation, succession and continuity planning
  • Advisor Support
  • Insurance
  • Creative Services, Branding and Marketing



When is the best time to go Independent?

The perfect time is when you realize that there are other options available to you that are more attractive than your current situation. You are doing your homework to be prepared for the opportunity that is in your future. The growth in the independent channel has outpaced that of the Wirehouses. Maybe you should consider going independent before your client finds someone that is?

Should I be worried about my clients moving with me?

That’s a question you really must ask yourself. How well do you know your clients? Did I inherit this relationship or did I open the original account? Most clients have 3 relationships with other firms, are you certain that you have the largest share? You should probably consider the “80/20” rule, but make sure the right 80% makes the move. In all our transitions, our experience has been that 90% or higher will join you.

How long should I plan to make the move?

A good rule of thumb is 4-6 months from building and implementing your transition plan, to resignation and client account transition. The actual paperwork transition usually takes less than 60 days.

What can I expect from being Independent?

Remember, if you are at a Wirehouse you are going from an employee to a Business owner. You must consider more than ever before, how you plan to grow “your business” and all the things that entails: from office space, payroll, employees, insurance, marketing, branding, what percentage of clients that will move, do you implement a 100% fee based business model, do you need a broker/dealer relationship, etc.? SMS can help you manage your business processes on a day to day basis.

Should I move on my own or with a group of Advisors?

Again, it depends on how you like to work, sole practitioner and be the boss, team or maybe a group of advisors. There would be obvious synergies if you could spread the costs/overhead out.

Banking & Lending?

If you currently use Banking and Lending in your practice, you should know that all our largest custodial relationships offer banking and lending.

What Custodian should I choose?

With well over $1.325 billion in AUM, we have relationships with all the largest custodians and can help you evaluate which is right fit for you.

What is the difference between an IAR and RIA?

Both Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs) and Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) can provide investment advice to clients. The bottom line is that if you have below $50 million in AUM, it will be difficult to start your own RIA and you will likely need to affiliate with an RIA that already has relationships with custodians, as an IAR.

What kind of payouts should I be expecting?

There are several answers to this question but the best part is that you start at 100%!

How do I think about growing my new Independent firm?

The natural answer would be Organically, but think about adding advisors to your practice! If you are doing net margins of 75% and you bring on another advisor and pay them 55% and keep the extra 20%for yourself or the firm’s growth. Your costs are basically fixed, so every new dollar in goes to the bottom line.

What Licenses will I need?

You must have a series 65 or 66 to conduct fee-based business as an IAR. Your series 7 or 6 are required if you do transactional business through a broker/dealer.

Why do you need Our help?

You are thinking of leaving your firm and need help with setting up your practice

You are ready to focus primarily on growing your fee-based business

You want your own firm so you can build your business the way YOU want to

You are not growing your business because you spend too much time on back office, office management, trading, and portfolio management

We can help guide you through the Custodian selection process.

You can benefit by our enterprise level pricing and service at the custodians.

You need help branding your practice

Your Broker/Dealer just got sold and you’re going to have to repaper all your clients’ accounts

You’re tired of being just another body at your broker/dealer

You would like to put together a Succession Plan for your practice


What to do now?

  • Learn about going independent at our annual conference in Dallas, on April 25th – 27th, 2018. Attendance is free of charge!
  • Go to our Website to find out more about us-
  • Contact us for more information and to sign up for the conference-

Matt Estes