Transition Tips From RIAs Who’ve Done It

We asked RIAs from across the country to share the best piece of advice they could give to advisors who are considering transitioning to the independent model. Click to explore what they have to say and gain insights that can help motivate and inspire you to make a thorough and informed decision.

“Be transparent with your clients about why you are making the move.” —An RIA from Texas

Be honest about your intentions

Before you decide to break out on your own, consider your motivation. While money might factor into the equation, try to dig even deeper. You may find that you’re also seeking freedom, a more client-friendly environment, a better cultural fit, or all of the above. No matter your reasoning, be sure to communicate your intent to your clients and explain how this move can benefit them. Doing so can help you maintain their trust throughout the transition process.

“Don’t feel as though you have to do it all yourself.” —An RIA from Maine

Build your network

Making the transition can be easier than you think. Remember, there are many who have done it before you! Networking can help you find other RIAs who can give you tips and pointers on how to get started. Find others who have experienced success through transition and learn from their triumphs and setbacks.

“Don’t be afraid. Clients will follow.” —An RIA from MIssissippi

Trust your gut

Chances are you have the experience and know-how needed for your business to flourish. Remind yourself of this often and let it motivate you to be a trailblazer. When clients know you’re confident, they’ll likely take your lead.

“Loyalty begins with you and the way you do business." —An RIA from Florida

Strengthen client relationships

When you become an independent RIA, the needs of your clients become more important than ever before. Communicating with them openly after you resign and as you transition, and demonstrating how your business now revolves around them, can go a long way toward building loyalty.

“Pick a custodian who doesn’t compete with you.” —An RIA from California

Choose the right custodian

Having the right custodian partner can make or break your business. Be sure to find one that shares your values and offers the tools and resources you need to take off running. If you’re unsure of where to start, try asking other RIAs who have already transitioned about their custodial experiences. Their advice can make vetting your options easier than you think!

Meet advisors like you who have
successfully transitioned

Todd Resnick

He joined his partners to break away and do things on their own terms.

Stephen Rischall

He left his independent broker-dealer to start his own firm and experience true freedom.

NextGen Advisors

Hear from advisors who know about how the RIA model is perfect for NextGen talent.

Joining a Firm

Hear from an advisor who joined a firm after going independent.

Gerald Loftin

After 12 years at his independent broker-dealer, he decided enough was enough.

Operational Efficiency

Hear from an operations pro about how to streamline your new firm's operations to provide a seamless customer experience.

Bob Rall

He left the wirehouse to build deeper relationships with his clients.

The Fong Brothers

They turned their family values into a strong foundation for a growing and successful firm.

Ryder Brose

He used the RIA model to put his clients first.

Ready for more

advisor insights and advice?

We’ll help you

do the math

Thinking of becoming an RIA, but unsure of the financial implications? Learn more about the potential benefits with our RIA Economic Evaluator.

Become an RIA in

4 simple steps

From choosing the right business model to helping your firm thrive after transition, you may have a lot of questions about becoming an independent RIA. Get the answers you’re looking for in our guidebook, Becoming an Independent RIA.

Additional resources
to help you on your journey


M&A on the Horizon: Ready to Grow Your Firm?

If it’s time to start thinking big(ger), we can help. Learn about what you need to do to prepare for M&A at your firm.


Going Independent by the Numbers: Mapping Out the Costs of Starting Your RIA Firm

Ready to go out on your own? Let’s do some math. Use this worksheet to keep track of what your startup costs may be.


Steps to Independence: Structuring and Setting Up Your RIA Firm

Starting your own RIA firm? Use this guide to walk through some critical steps you'll need to take as you get up and running.


Realize More Career Freedom: Discover the Benefits of the RIA Model

Transitioning to independence could be a win for you and your clients. Find out what other Advisors have to say about what it’s like on the other side.

Need more resources to guide you?