TD Ameritrade Institutional1 attracted a record 441 breakaway brokers to its platform for independent registered investment advisors (“RIAs”) in fiscal 2012, a 27 percent increase from fiscal 2011. TD Ameritrade Institutional has established itself as a leader in supporting breakaway brokers and has helped more than 1,000 advisors become RIAs since 2010, more than any other custodian. 2 “TD Ameritrade Institutional is one of the most experienced custodians in helping advisors make the move to independence,” said Tom Nally, president, TD Ameritrade Institutional. “We’ve made the goal of becoming an RIA more attainable through a clear, step-by-step, guided approach that can help take the guesswork out of the process.” TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Bridge to Independence program serves to simplify and ease the transition for financial advisors looking to start their own RIA firm, join an established RIA or operate as a hybrid advisor. TD Ameritrade’s one-on-one approach is tailored to the financial advisor’s goals to help make the transition as straightforward as possible. TD Ameritrade Institutional provides guidance through four phases: 1) Choose a path. Financial advisors have options to consider when choosing how they will set up their business. TD Ameritrade Institutional lays out options for advisors starting a new RIA firm or joining an established RIA firm and also helps hybrid advisors find the right broker-dealer to support or transition any commission business. Financial advisors can get insights on the potential financial advantages of going independent, creating a strong business plan and timing a transition. 2) Plan – Business structure and setup. TD Ameritrade Institutional provides financial advisors with expertise and support for a wide range of business needs including staffing, setting up technology and investment platforms, compliance and insurance, even office furniture and phone systems. 3) Transition. TD Ameritrade Institutional’s experienced Business Transition Services team has transitioned thousands of advisors. The team handles all account and asset transfers, client communications, and other logistics and helps ensure that the account transfer process goes according to plan. 4) Grow – Manage the business for success. TD Ameritrade Institutional provides ongoing practice management services which include access to educational materials and expertise in the areas of technology, staffing and compensation, client service, operations, business management and strategic planning. “There’s more support than ever before for breakaway brokers who want to experience the benefits of the independent advice model. They no longer have to deal with conflicts regarding what is good for the employer, as opposed to what is good for their clients,” said Nally. “We’ve dispelled the myth that going independent means going it alone. The RIA industry has matured and there are more choices and flexibility available to RIAs as an increasing number of technology and service providers focus their attention on the growing independent advice channel.”
Scott Stauffer, a former wirehouse broker, recently made the decision to become an RIA. Stauffer chose to join California-based Wealth Design, LLC, an established RIA firm. He wanted the freedom to do what’s right for his clients, choice and flexibility in investment options and the potential financial benefit associated with becoming an independent advisor, but wasn’t interested in the operational side of running a practice."Joining an established firm that had been through the experience of transitioning to the RIA model, coupled with TD Ameritrade Institutional’s expertise, proved invaluable,” said Stauffer, Wealth Design, LLC. “Not only did TD Ameritrade Institutional provide a clear road map, but the transition team was a sounding board throughout the process. Any issues or questions were quickly addressed which eliminated concerns and gave me the confidence that my business and my clients were in good hands.” TD Ameritrade Institutional’s Bridge to Independence support services include:
- Relationship Managers – An experienced team of professionals who are dedicated to helping advisors who are making the transition to independence, whether that is starting up a new firm or joining an existing firm.
- TD Ameritrade Institutional RIAConnect™3 – Advisors looking to join an existing RIA firm will be introduced to established RIA firms with proven capabilities to support their business objectives.
- Business Evaluator4 – An online tool that allows advisors to compare business models, estimate expenses, identify their motivations and strengths, and ultimately design a customized action plan to ease the transition to independence.
- Business Transition Service Team – Dedicated service group to help advisors develop a plan to transition their clients to their new firm and simplify the account transfer and paperwork requirements (minimum asset requirements apply).
- Broker/Dealer Network – This flexible service helps ease the transition and maintenance of advisors’ commission-based business. TD Ameritrade Institutional works with broker-dealers who understand the unique needs of RIAs. Advisors have the choice to affiliate with a company that fits their specific culture, size, location and product needs.
- Advisor Transition Mentor Council – A collection of experienced advisors who have successfully made the transition to independence and who can provide their insight, guidance and counsel to advisors considering making the decision to go independent.
- Webcasts, Whitepapers and Case Studies5 – Provide guidance from advisors and industry experts on transitioning to the RIA model. †