Archived Under Launching an RIA

5 Essential Roles an Advocate Fulfills when Launching an RIA

When you’re launching an RIA, you need an advocate. 

A lot of advisors think they can launch an RIA on their own by just talking to someone they know who has done it before, or just powering their way through the process and devoting themselves to learning the ins and outs every step of the way. 

I’m not saying it’s impossible. 

But I always ask this question: Are your clients better off letting you run their financial life than they would be on their own? Any advisor worth their weight would answer that with a resounding “Yes,” as you should. Your job is to know more about finances than they do and help them make informed, wise decisions.

Without your guidance, they could end up paying too much in taxes, not saving enough for retirement, and missing out on a lot of those “alpha” elements you bring to their lives based solely on the fact that you know a lot more than they do. 

It’s the same way with us, but in many ways, the stakes are higher. You’re not “just” investing your money and saving up for retirement. There are legal liabilities, relationships with your partners, timeline considerations, and much more to consider.

The same way you tell your clients that what they do with their money now will impact how they live 30 years from now, the decisions you make now can impact your future firm’s success for decades to come. Starting your RIA without any help can be dangerous.

Here are five roles an advocate like Fusion Black Ops can fulfill when launching your RIA.

1. A Knowledgeable Guide

This one goes without saying, I know, but we have to say it. 

Starting an RIA is a multi-faceted process

You’re about to go on a journey you’ve never taken before, through a new terrain, and the lights are off. Will you stumble around until you find your way, or will you hire the guy with the headlamp who has made the trip multiple times before? 

At Fusion Financial Partners, we have helped literally hundreds of new advisory firms get up and running. We know the terrain well, and we know which details are most important, and which can wait. 

2. Someone to keep you safe

Most of the time, advisors who are looking at starting an RIA are already employed at another firm—often a wirehouse or IBD. Leaving the “W-2 advisor” life behind is exciting, but it holds some real risks, namely the possibility of being sued by your former firm

So you start working undercover, using your personal accounts to talk with your partners and vendors about your plans, doing your best to avoid attracting any attention. Then one day, you accidentally send an email from your work account and it’s all over. Your employer monitors employee emails for certain keywords, and you’re caught. That’s it.

By the end of the day, you’re packing up your belongings and being escorted out of the building. You were planning to download all your client contact info next week—now that’s not an option. Anything you do from this point forward will be put under a microscope by your previous employer’s legal team.

Too many times we have witnessed advisors who had to unceremoniously accelerate their transition due to being found out, an errant email to the wrong inbox, or from working with people who do not understand the nuances of this private process.​

That’s why we created Fusion Black Ops—a covert operation that works on behalf of advisors to start building your RIA for you without alerting your employer. We connect you with custodians, broker-dealers, tech partners, and more, all while using encrypted communications channels and protecting your current job.

3. Someone to Connect You with People You Need to Know

One thing advisors often don’t think about when starting an RIA is the importance of relationships with people other than your clients. 

When you worked at the wirehouse or IBD, you didn’t have to think about where to custody assets, or how to build your tech stack, or how to market your firm. Your employer made those decisions for you.

The great thing—and the scary thing—is that you now get to make your own decisions in every area of your new firm. But knowing which way to go can be tough. 

Like I said earlier, at Fusion, we connect you with the right people. When you work with us, you are leveraging our reputation with some of the best partners an advisor can have. 

And the best part of all is that you still get to pick whoever you want. Some RIA launch partners have contracts with specific providers that limit who they can work with. Not us.

4. Someone to Have Your Back

We do more than connect you with the right people and guide you on regulatory and legal issues. Those are essential pieces of what we do, but that’s not all. 

If we see you making a bad decision, we’ll let you know. Like any advisor, we can’t require that you follow our advice, but we will let you know when we see you doing something we think could be detrimental, or if we think there’s a better way.

Considering the sheer volume of decisions you have to make when launching an RIA, there’s simply no way to know that you’re making the best decision every step of the way. By traveling with an expert at your side, you improve your chances considerably. 

5. Someone to Mind the Details

The hardest thing about launching an RIA while working full-time is that you end up taking attention away from client relationships at a time when you absolutely can’t afford to lose any clients. If you’re like most breakaway advisors, the bulk of your client list in your first year as an RIA will come from clients who followed you from your old firm. 

That’s where Fusion Black Ops comes in again. We have developed a turnkey process, so all you have to do is say “go” and we’re off and running, taking care of every detail (with you input, of course) so you can focus on the things that will matter most in the long run.

By working with a trusted advocate like Fusion, you can spend more time strengthening client relationships to prepare for transition while leaving blueprint design and transition management to us.

Countdown to Launch

Our team stands at the ready to help you start the next great RIA. 

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