Frequently asked questions
I’m an established financial advisor but I’ve never run my own business. What services do you have for someone like me?
We provide a number of services for experienced advisors exploring the possibility of going out on their own. Services include helping you select the right business structure (employee, contractor or totally independent), state or SEC registration, providing back office, compliance and technology services, and personalized marketing materials and websites. All services are tailored to a client’s individual needs. There is no one‐size‐fits all.
What is the relationship between RIA Innovations and Northwest Asset Management?
RIA Innovations and Northwest Asset Management are both alternative names under which NWAM, LLC does business. Under RIA Innovations, NWAM, LLC provides outsourcing services. Under Northwest Asset Management, NWAM, LLC provides a platform for investment advisor representatives who do not wish to have to have their own registered investment advisory firm.
What is the greatest added value you provide to your clients?
We started RIA Innovations because we saw a need in the quickly changing investment world for another way of doing business. Our real life industry experience and ability to help advisors control their overhead expenses allows you control your own destiny and time to concentrate on what you do best. RIA Innovations offers a flexible set of tools to experienced advisors to set up their own practice, their way. Advisors can focus on what they do best and outsource the rest to us.
Why can’t advisors start a firm like you did in 2008?
They obviously can. It’s a matter of time and priorities. Do you want to go through the learning curve involved in operating an RIA firm from the ground up, or do you want to invest that time in growing your practice? RIA Innovations will help handle the many details so you can spend your time the way you envision.
What if I eventually want my own RIA but am not ready now?
We want to create an environment where you can maximize your time and efforts. Join our registered investment advisory firm now and later move to your own using our infrastructure to set up and service your practice—the choice is yours.
Advisors are encouraged to move freely across our platforms. Some advisors want to join us as an employee or indepdendent contractor. Others want to start their own independent firm. We are happy to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches so you can make an informed decision. Our staff has experience working with all sizes of practices, from no asset start-ups to billion dollar firms. The choice of structures and services is up to you.
What are the advantages of going out on my own?
Generally it’s a simple cost benefit analysis—are you getting your money’s worth from your current firm? Some questions to consider:
Are you treated as a distribution channel rather than a relationship owner?
Is there a conflict between your client’s best interests and the sales demands of your firm?
Would you like to have a better work‐life balance, and more control of your time?
Are you earning what you should from your practice?
Will my clients follow me if I change my affiliation?
Today most clients have their primary relationship with their advisor, rather than the firm they represent. Their relationship is with you. The stronger the relationship the higher the percentage of clients who make the move. Advisors with the best retention rates are those who develop a communication strategy that keeps their clients well informed before, during and after the transition.
What is the transition like if I am leaving a wire house?
The transition is similar to any other move, but we have experienced support staff who have transitioned dozens of advisors onto our platform. It involves an ACAT from your current firm to one of the major custodians (Fidelity, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade). The good news is that this will be your last ACAT process, because even if you decide to change the structure of your practice, your clients will not have to change custodians.
How is being an RIA better for business continuity?
At RIA Innovations, business continuity is part of our service offerings. You have more choices and more control because it is your practice, so it will be your decision how to hand it off. We’re just here to help.
What are the net payouts to the advisors?
It varies because every practice is different. The variables are practice size and how well the advisor controls their overhead expenses. Pricing proposals are based on the services required.