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Considering Independence? A Must Read Q/A with Marc Koven

Q/A with Marc Koven

November 2017


Last month we did a Q&A with Ryan Delaney, CFA®, Co-Founder of Freedom Partners. He discussed the financial risks associated with being an independent advisor. To continue the education this month, we did a short Q&A session with Marc Koven. Marc Koven is a Co-Founder of Freedom Partners. Marc has been in the financial services industry for over 13 years. Marc spent most of his career as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley and then transitioned to an RIA in 2014. Today he manages his book of business while operating as Your Operations and Technology Partner with Freedom Partners. Below Marc provides some great perspective and advice on managing your business as an independent advisor.

What is the best advice you can give an advisor considering a move to independence?

“Walk through the fear and uncomfortable feeling that change can present so you can experience what the other side has to offer. I am the advisor who doesn’t like change. In fact, the idea of moving to independence had a paralyzing effect on me. The week of my transition I was sick to my stomach. I feared not one of my clients would come with me. The reality is they all said yes, and life has never been better. Do your best to educate yourself to minimize the fear and then take the leap of faith. Remember you are not the first advisor to make the transition and you won’t be the last. Everything will be okay. In fact, it will be better than okay!”

What are some operational items that advisors should be thinking about in a move? 

“Understand your data needs. If you build your own RIA you will need to pick a custodian(s) and CRM system. You may have other operational needs, like accounting software, portfolio management software, and access to a broker-dealer. You may need data aggregation and integration tools for these technologies. You want to understand all these components ahead of time so you are not learning on the job. In my opinion, data management and data integrity are one of the most overlooked items when making a move. Once you move, if the data is not accurate, you won’t be happy.”

From an operational point of view, what are the biggest differences between being an advisor at a major firm and being an independent advisor? 

“The major firms provide you a narrow path to work. They control the process and you follow the direction. When you go independent the training wheels come off. You create the process of how things get done. This can be a scary feeling for some, but if you approach it right it is one of the real benefits of being an independent advisor. You can develop systems and processes that are designed for you and your clients. This allows you to be efficient and build scalability through technologies that bigger firms typically don’t allow their advisors to use.”

What’s the best benefit of being an independent advisor? 

“Freedom. Freedom to be the advisor you want to be. Freedom to use any technology you think best helps you in your business. Freedom to market your brand. Freedom to think for yourself. I spent ten years in the wirehouse and watched my freedom get squeezed over time. When I went independent it took time for me to adjust to being free. It took time to understand what the freedom really meant to me, my clients and family. It is the greatest feeling.” 

Your title at Freedom Partners is “Your Operations and Technology Partner.” What do you do for advisors that hire your firm for support? 

“I manage all the data needs of our advisors. I help them create the operational processes and then manage those processes for them. I manage the data integration, CRM and integration of portfolio management software, accounting software, and client reporting systems. I train them and their staff and work with them in their office week to week with their needs. The greatest value I offer is that I have lived through my own transition. I have lived through the process of setting up my business on this side. Most firms offer transition support and the people helping are not advisors. Being an advisor offers perspective to your transition and operational day-to-day support that I believe is unique and invaluable.”

About Freedom Partners

Freedom Partners' mission is to be the premier service provider for financial advisory firms in Southern California. Freedom Partners provides hands-on support and training that focuses on enhancing and refining the people, processes, and poetry of the partner advisory firms they serve. Their goal is to increase revenue, reduce costs, and help increase enterprise value. Freedom Partner’s A-Z back-office support is delivered by their team of professionals that have had long-standing careers in financial services.  Their experience has been in roles working closely with advisors, but also as top-tier sales representatives in client-facing sales roles. They have successfully helped build and run an RIA and have experienced the full life cycle of a firm.

Freedom Partners believes these experiences are their competitive advantage in the marketplace. Freedom Partners attributes their success to offering a transparent solution that incorporates technology but also delivers the in-office support they believe advisors want and need. FreedomPartners’ Co-Founders have successfully transitioned over $1 billion of assets from Wirehouse firms since 2014. To learn more about Freedom Partners, please visit us at or contact us at 949.751.7407