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FAs Going Indie Should Study Their Firms First

March 7, 2018

Financial advisors at large wealth management firms don’t necessarily need to come up with a business plan — but they must be prepared to live off their savings and to study the firms that they’re leaving, as well as their place within them, to understand whether they can go independent, Syracuse University professor and venture investor Carl Schramm tells ThinkAdvisor.

Schramm is the author of the new book Burn the Business Plan: What Great Entrepreneurs Really Do, and he tells the publication that business plans don’t help entrepreneurs build successful businesses. They’re also expensive to develop and are mostly valuable to entrepreneurs communicating with venture capital firms, which happens for less than 1% of new businesses, Schramm tells ThinkAdvisor.

Financial advisors who want to leave large firms do need to consider what their firm’s brand does for them, however, according to Schramm.

“If you’re working at, say, Fidelity or Morgan Stanley, the brand protects you,” he tells the publication. Advisors who want to leave need to “have confidence you’ll be as protected as you were being with a huge institution,” Schramm tells ThinkAdvisor.

In addition, advisors wanting to go indie need to be able to cover many expenses on their own, which often means living off their savings in the beginning, according to Schramm. Most importantly, because financial advisors aren’t switching to a new business but are rather starting their own version of it, the key is to study the firm they’re already working at, he tells the publication.

And before taking the plunge, advisors need to assess whether the book of business they have is really what they recruited on their own or whether it came to them as a result of the big brand, according to Schramm.

“If you’re not sure that you can bring a brand that will [create] sufficient revenue to support your company, you probably aren’t cut out to be a free-standing financial advisor,” he tells ThinkAdvisor.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the ThinkAdvisor article cited in this story, click here.