Turning Uncertainty into Opportunity: How Post-Pandemic Trends Will Prompt Advisors to Consider Going Independent

This year is presenting unprecedented challenges for financial advisors, with the pandemic impacting businesses of all sizes, the election and market volatility spooking investors, and Schwab’s acquisition of TD Ameritrade forcing change in the brokerage model. We are engaged with financial advisors every day, both in and outside of our GVA network, who are closely monitoring current events. These items weigh heavily on advisors, and the conversation often comes back to one thing: giving greater consideration to transitioning to an independent model.

While it may seem counterintuitive amid mounting uncertainty, the current environment is quite favorable for advisors considering the move to independent. The benefits of making this move are expansive, and our recent blog post with several members of the GVA network provides an initial perspective on their motivating factors for going independent. We strive to facilitate a seamless process for advisors who join our network, but GVA advisors aren’t the only ones pleased with the career decision. In fact, a 2019 survey from Charles Schwab found a whopping 90 percent of advisors who transitioned to the independent model had no regrets about doing so. 

In an environment of uncertainty, reevaluating how you run your business stands to be impactful. Approaching your clients with a forward-looking plan — one with direct benefit to their financial life and goals — shows you are staying current and always looking out for their best interests. The post-pandemic era will favor independent advisors, and the following factors will be increasingly important for financial professionals in 2021 and beyond:

Flexibility needs to be woven into your business model

There is value in having the flexibility to run a practice the way you want to, and transitioning to independent allows you to gain control of your business model. When you run your own operation, you can make necessary advancements whenever you see fit. Gaining the flexibility to work with the people, products and strategies you want yields a better business structure. This is especially true in today’s environment; advisors need to be flexible in their decision-making processes to be more proactive versus reactive. This type of flexibility is crucial to growing your business.

Access to the right technology can make or break a practice

The pandemic has prompted many businesses to shift their operations to a digital platform, which has placed an increased emphasis on practice management technology. To be effective in today’s environment, advisors need access to top-tier technology solutions.

Many advisors are inclined to stay in the brokerage model because of the technology available through those channels. In reality, aligning with the right partner to go independent bypasses these concerns. GVA has invested heavily in technology and forged partnerships with industry-leading solutions providers to ensure our advisors have the ability to build the practice as they see fit. Advisors can run a successful independent practice with the confidence that they have the appropriate technology for their clients.

Asset gathering will be more important than ever

Data from Schwab’s 2020 RIA Benchmarking Study found that higher-net-worth investors favor the independent model. This is noteworthy, as it points to the fact that investors recognize the difference an independent shop offers, particularly when it comes to investment options.

Independent advisors can make decisions that are in the best interest of their clients. They are no longer obligated to offer proprietary products just because of their proximity to them. This makes for a more robust client experience.

The right support will harness growth potential

Advisors should always be growing. If you find yourself stagnant — or alternatively, if you are growing rapidly and are overwhelmed — it’s time to consider a change. In both scenarios, advisors can benefit from a strategic partner. Whether you need additional compliance oversight, more support or a wider range of resources, partnering with an RIA in the independent space could help you harness growth. Even the biggest and most successful offices need help to streamline processes. When it comes to growing or managing your growth, partnering with a strong RIA could help you exponentially achieve your goals.

As the world works to recover from the pandemic, the financial advice sector will look different. Investors will expect more from their advisors, and the independent model can help address this expectation. Our team has helped many advisors transition to independent, and we understand the transition process can be daunting. That’s why we help you every step of the way, providing the support, partnership and technology you need to be successful.

If going independent is even a thought, then you have already taken your first step toward the path of independence. Considering transitioning your business to an independent model? We’re here to help. Reach out to our team today or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.