Going Independent: Key Benefits of the RIA Business Model

Jeff Blumenthal, Managing Director, Western Business Development, Schwab Advisor Services, Margaret Huang Casey, Chief Operations Officer & Chief Compliance Officer, Durbin Bennett Private Wealth Management and Jason Snipe, Founder & Chief Investment Officer, Odyssey Capital Advisors weigh in on going independent and why the RIA business model works for them.

Because RIAs are able to more thoroughly understand each client’s financial situation and to provide an array of solutions to fit their needs, it’s no surprise that the independent RIA model is currently leading the advice industry in growth. The RIA model allows investment advisors more control and autonomy, which could ultimately lead to a higher payout. The RIA model offers advisors the flexibility needed to respond quickly to a wide array of challenges, from power outages and wildfires to a global pandemic. RIAs are more in tune with clients’ needs, and they have the unique ability to pivot rapidly to rise to unprecedented challenges.

“We’re able to get at the heart of the issue and put solutions in place quicker,” says Margaret Huang Casey, Chief Operations Officer & Chief Compliance Officer, Durbin Bennett Private Wealth Management, LLC. This adaptability was key in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the quick shift to online work life posed a significant challenge to other businesses. Independent investment advisors have the unique opportunity for transparency through their personalized service.

“We’re now able to build a real customized service solution and software we want to serve you, so this is an opportunity for us to really come closer and work together in a more efficient manner, and I think clients are really excited about that,” says Jason Snipe, Founder & Chief Investment Officer, Odyssey Capital Advisors.

This insight into the investment process builds trust between the client and the advisor. Independent investment advisors have the power to build their firms exactly how they choose. They choose their own personal goals, clients, and locations. RIA firms typically choose a main focus, but they also have the power to pivot to emerging trends. There are certainly financial risks when starting an RIA, and it’s important to understand that there will inevitably be difficult periods. However, the autonomy that comes with the independent RIA model means that the owner of the business has significant control over protecting the firm from adverse outcomes.

The culture of an RIA firm drives its business. Casey describes the “fun committee” at Durbin Bennett Private Wealth Management, LLC, which was created to increase morale and camaraderie among teammates. “It’s a nice break to rejuvenate yourself and refuel the energy you need to work with your clients, and it also gives you a great out-of-the-office environment to learn more about each other. It’s a great way to keep your team involved and connected, and to celebrate each other,” says Casey.

Charles Schwab helped pioneer the RIA model, and now provides custodial, operational, practice management, and trading support to firms of varying sizes. The thirty years that Charles Schwab has spent working with independent advisors have led to proven processes and insights for developing an RIA business, and Charles Schwab continues to stay committed to the future of RIAs.

To learn more, register and watch a replay of Schwab’s webcast – Rise Above: Why Advisors Choose the RIA Model and How It Helps Them Soar. Register Now