Broker/Dealer Evaluation Services

Finding the right Broker/Dealer can be time-consuming and complex. At Bridgemark Strategies, we have experience working with both financial institutions and financial advisors performing comprehensive Broker/Dealer evaluations. We leverage our experience to synchronize and prioritize the needs and wants of the financial institution with that of the financial advisor, narrowing down a list of potential Broker/Dealer partners. We then assist you in performing the required due diligence on the selected Broker/Dealers to select a best fit partner.

How Can We Help?

Whether you’ve been in business for years or you’re doing this for the first time, Bridgemark Strategies can help you with Broker/Dealer evaluations. Our financial institutions consulting team has the knowledge and experience to find you the right match. A sample list of areas we can evaluate include:

  • Technology
  • Service and Support
  • Platforms
  • Compliance support and requirements
  • Payout

We can also help you choose between practice management or standard broker dealer services and can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of hybrid models.

Growth is always a top priority for financial advisors. It cannot be achieved without technology that helps you more effectively scale your practice. This is an area that we take a detailed look at when we do Broker/Dealer evaluations. Fintech is constantly evolving.

One of the key questions we ask is whether or not the advisor can incorporate some of their own technology. Compliance departments have historically been opposed to this, but freedom of choice is a big selling point. Our team can help you determine where that’s available.

Technology can enhance growth initiatives. Poor service and sub-par client support will inhibit it. Every Broker/Dealer will claim they offer great service. Our team does a deep dive in this area, evaluating customer reviews and speaking to other member firms when possible.

Broker/Dealers offer many advantages to financial advisors. Those are easy to list out after a basic walkthrough or virtual tour. Service is a bit harder to analyze. Advisors should get their first impressions when going through sign-up negotiations.

As a member firm with a Broker/Dealer, advisors are reliant on internal channels for day-to-day practice management. Vertical communication to compliance, management, and finance departments needs to be seamless, with timely responses and prompt actions when necessary.

Lateral communication to other member firms should be encouraged and even facilitated by the Broker/Dealer to help you build a strong peer-to-peer network. Some Broker/Dealers we are aware of this and do this extremely well. Others fall short. We’re happy to share our insights with you.

What comes next? We’re not talking about tomorrow or even next quarter. What happens in one, three, five or even 10 years? Wealth management firms need sustainability and succession plans. Broker/Dealers should have tools in place to assist with that.

When we get to this stage of our evaluation, we also look at the sustainability of the Broker/Dealer itself. Can it survive and grow with you? Newer firms are more innovative, but they may not have staying power. You’ll want a partnership that can go the distance.

Practice Management, Standard Broker/Dealer, or Hybrid Model

It’s important to understand your options when seeking out the best Broker/Dealer for your needs:

Practice Management Firms

Also known as “value-added” Broker/Dealers, practice management firms are growing in number because they’re more of a turnkey solution. Their back-office handles much of the day-to-day functions and processes for the financial advisor.

Standard Broker/Dealer

The standard IBD model typically only processes the business and provides supervision. Newer advisors often opt for the standard model to give them the ability to sell commissionable products.

Hybrid Models

Hybrid models are for those who want to maintain some independence yet still have the ability to sell annuities and insurance products. The hybrid model requires the advisor to be an RIA and a Broker/Dealer that is open to dual registration.