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The Misconceptions of Independence- Volume 7

"That's Too Big of a Change for Me."


November 2016

Erik Mora

“That's too big of a change for me.”



Our series is called “The Misconceptions of Independence.” I will be the first to say that the above statement is not necessarily a misconception. A move for a financial advisor from a big bank or wirehouse firm would most likely feel like a big change. However, I think the true “misconception” that lies in this statement is that if an advisor stays where they are, nothing changes or there will be less change by staying put. I know for most people, “change sucks.” I think that is why when I talk to wirehouse advisors about the benefits of being independent they love the idea of higher income, branding themselves, and no corporate bureaucracy. However, it seems the fear of change still consumes them. My rebuttal to this thinking is: “You should fear the change you can’t control more than the one you can.”

Change You Can’t Control

I don’t think anyone would ever argue that our industry is changing at a record pace. A financial advisor’s life is being regularly disrupted. We have seen the explosion of “robo advisors” and other “fintech.” Depending on what you read this is set to replace the everyday advisor. You have the new DOL Fiduciary Rule that has already changed how some advisors can invest or provide advice. (The rule hasn’t even gone into effect nor do we know if it will be upheld or changed with President-elect Trump, which may potentially mean more change.) For those advisors at the big banks/firms, you have had to endure more headline risk (especially since 2008). These headlines have caused some advisors more headaches than they would like, as they spend their time defending the actions of others. A great friend of mine said it best to me last month. He has been in the business for over 20 years. He said, “The big Wall Street names were a positive early in my career. We were perceived as safe and trusted. Now there has been achange in perception. We are seen as safe, but not necessarily trusted. The lack of trust sometimes makes my job harder than it needs to be.” These perceptions may or may not be true for you. However, I’m sure many of you can cite howthings have changed for you over your career.Whatever the change, possibly the hardest part of being a financial advisor who isan employee, is that in most cases you have no control of your firm’s policy creation in response to new rules and regulations. Someone else in the firm creates the policy, and you are forced to change to comply with the firm’s rationale, whether you agree with it or not. Dealing with change is a part of life, but being at the mercy of other's decision making is tough. Especially when it deals with one’s livelihood.

Change You Can Control

So how big of a change would it be to go independent? I think depending on your level of entrepreneurialism it may not be as big as you think. The most important thing is to find the right match for you. Most large custodians offer the same investment platforms that you have become accustomed to. There are so many different flavors of independent platforms that are available to support you and your business. You can choose a route where you are on our own or plug into a larger network if you want a similar feel to a big firm. The point is you have options, and while it will be a change, you can make the decision that is best for you.

Change Rewards

Change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. For many, the greatest opportunities are based on change. I still have presentation notes from a meeting I attended ten years ago as a wholesaler. The topic was change and five principles that you should embrace.

#1- Change rewards the highly resilient

#2- Change rewards the proper mindset

#3- Change rewards action

#4- Change rewards tenacity

#5- Change rewards relationships

My hope is that you look at the potential change to independence as a positive, achoice you are making that will benefit your clients, you, and your family.

Understand Your Options

Please contact me if you would like to learn more about your independent options. As I mentioned, our industry is likely going to change significantly over the next 12-18 months and, in my opinion, with that change you are going to see a lot of advisor movement. Our commitment is to teach you the ins and outs of being independent so you can make the best decision for you. You will see being independent is less about a sales pitch and more about helping you find the right fit for you and your business.


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 a 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. Freedom Partners currently has over $900 million of assets under contract. To learn more about how Freedom Partners may be able to help you, please visit us at or contact us at 949.751.7407.