The ever-increasing demand for holistic wealth management has created an increase in Broker/Dealer changes. Independent Broker/Dealers (IBDs) are the main beneficiaries of this trend. Is that the direction you are heading?

In this article, we’ve outlined the process for how to choose a Broker/Dealer, including a list of questions to ask during the “interview” process. This information is for established advisors and firms seeking a Broker/Dealer affiliation and change.

Whether you’re changing broker-dealers, starting or joining an RIA, or looking for M&A opportunities, Bridgemark Strategies can leverage our vast network and experience to help you discover and vet new firms so you can make the best choice for your needs. Contact Us

The Balance Between Control and Independence

One of the benefits of working with a Broker/Dealer is the assistance an advisory firm can receive with day-to-day operations. When vetting opportunities, be sure to ask about client onboarding, services, and technology solutions. These are the areas that directly affect your client relationships.

  • On the technology side, does the Broker/Dealer require that you use only their software? Will it be difficult to get approval to offer different reporting, or a client portal, or independent financial planning tools? Some BDs are restrictive in these areas.
  • Are onboarding and service calls handled exclusively by the Broker/Dealer? This may seem like a good thing on paper, but the advisor is surrendering what is often the first point of contact for a new prospect. Client relationships are established in those first few encounters.

The level of control you maintain is important when choosing a Broker/Dealer. Relinquishing control of daily operations can free you up to do more prospecting and build your book of business, but at what cost? You don’t want to lose what you’ve already built.

Assessing Broker/Dealer Values and Culture

When choosing a new Broker/Dealer, it’s important to conduct due diligence. This assessment begins at home. What are your values and how does your business currently operate? As a financial advisor, you’ve established a level of trust with your clients and have always had the ability to come up with creative solutions. Will that be affected by a new BD affiliation now and into the future?

Visit the home office of the Broker/Dealer whenever possible and observe how you are treated and how the staff interacts with each other. This can tell you a lot about the firm you’re thinking about moving to. If the employees working there aren’t happy, can you be confident that you will be?

Review the mission and vision statements for the Broker/Dealer. Are they in alignment with your own? These deals are about more than just numbers. Changing to a new Broker/Dealer will change things for the advisor, staff and clients. Make sure those will be positive changes.

Planning and Resources for Future Growth

What else does the Broker/Dealer bring to the table? Making this type of move shouldn’t only be about running from something as it should be about going toward something better. Does the BD offer tools and resources to help you grow? Are they willing to invest in your business?  What will be better about the new BD for you and for your clients?

As the wealth management landscape evolves, you can expect to see changes in prospect markets and regulations that govern how you manage money. Is the Broker/Dealer capable of handling those changes? Do they have a successful history of doing so?

When changes are made, such as technology innovations or corporate policy, will you have any input into those changes? This is a great question to ask, particularly if you’re signing a long-term, binding agreement. Ideally, you’ll want to have some input into the firm’s direction.

Start Your Broker/Dealer Search with Bridgemark Strategies

Contact Bridgemark Strategies if you need help selecting the right Broker/Dealer for your unique needs. Our team has deep knowledge and experience with the issues involved and familiarity with the Broker/Dealer community. We can provide many of the answers to your questions.

Learn More