An increasing number of advisor teams are transitioning to the fully independent registered investment advisor model from independent broker dealers, according to a Charles Schwab Advisor Services survey released Tuesday, which found a 45% increase in 2010 compared to 2009.
The survey, which was conducted with 157 IBD-affiliated advisors, revealed that 86% of advisors find the idea of being a fully independent registered investment advisor attractive. And among those who know someone who started or joined an RIA firm, 95% find the RIA model appealing, Schwab reported.
According to the survey, 56% of independent broker dealer advisors consider themselves “somewhat” independent and 36% say they are “completely independent.” Meanwhile, 58% say they would prefer to join an existing firm, while 34% say they would prefer to start their own. Forty three percent of survey respondents said that by joining or starting an RIA they would have a greater ability to develop and grow their business, 42% said they could deliver more customized solutions, and 41% said they could hand pick their own team.
What would give these IBD advisors an incentive to make the transition? Forty-five percent said a friendlier economic and tax environment for small business owners would do it, while 43% said improved overall market and economic environment.
“We see a growing number of IBD advisors transitioning to the independent RIA model,” said Nick Georgis, vice president with Schwab Advisor Services, a leading provider of custodial, operational and trading support for more than 6,000 independent RIAs, in a statement. “In our experience with these advisors, the desire to have more flexibility to develop and grow their own business and the ability to offer more customized solutions to clients are two significant drivers of this trend.”
In addition, the survey finds that an average 82% of IBD advisors’ assets under management are currently in a fee-based model, and that the trend will continue in that direction with most IBD advisors maintaining a primarily fee-based practice or a mix of commission- and fee-based business. Forty-five percent of advisors surveyed said their plan is to be mostly or all fee-based, while 46% reported they plan to have a combination of both commission and fee-based business and 8% said they will be mostly or all commission-based. Why? Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said a fee-based model provides an easier to understand pricing model for clients and 61% said it provides a greater predictability in revenue.