XYPN Radio Roundup: From Broker-Dealer to Fee-Only

6 min read
April 30, 2020

Are you considering leaving the broker-dealer world to start your own firm? You aren't alone, and better yet, you're in great company. Roughly 1/3 of all XYPN advisors followed a similar path in pursuit of more control over their businesses and how they serve their clients. (In case you're wondering, they found both when they launched their own fee-only firms.)

That means when it comes to making the transition, you won't have to forge the path on your own. Instead, you can call upon the journeys of others to inform the decisions you make along the way. Hear from the voices of experience in these nine episodes of #XYPNRadio, featuring advisors who left the broker-dealer world behind and found happiness doing what they love: providing comprehensive, fee-for-service financial advice. 

Looking for a roadmap to start your own independent RIA? Check out our  comprehensive guide to starting your firm!

Ep #232: Breaking Free From Broker-Dealers: The Careers of Craig Joncas and Jim Bradley

XYPN member Craig Joncas and his partner, Jim Bradley, share their experience building Penobscot Financial Advisors. As Jim reveals how the practice originally got started and Craig discusses what it was like beginning his career interning for Jim, you'll hear about the ups and downs they faced along the way and the difficulties they've navigated over the years as they've built their business.

Learn about the structure of their business, as well as how they really focus on furthering the careers and skills of their team. You'll discover how Craig and Jim found their niche, the importance of transparency and honesty, and how they plan to grow in the future.

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Ep #247: Leveraging Technology and Broker/Dealer Experience - The Career of Cliff Downie

Cliff Downie is the owner of Downie Financial Group, a fee-only firm in Orange County, California. Cliff has spent his career in this industry, starting at Merrill Lynch before moving to a big, independent Broker/Dealer, and then ultimately becoming the owner of his own RIA. He joins the show today to discuss his unique perspective on running a firm that serves over 100 clients while still maintaining valuable time to spend with his wife and family.

In this episode, we talk about how Cliff keeps a healthy work-life balance, as well as how he's used his communication and sales training from previous firms to help him with prospect meetings. Listen in as he shares how he gets referral sources, the benefits of using technology to grow your business, and more.

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Ep #155: From the Wirehouse to RIA with a Break as a Marketing Consultant - The Career of Stephanie Sammons

You might know Stephanie Sammons as the founder of Wired Advisors, but as of last year, she’s also the founder of Sammons Wealth Management, a fee-only firm handling $7.5 million in assets. Now focused on high net worth clients in the LGBTQ community, Stephanie has overcome more than her fair share of struggles in the industry.

In this episode, she opens up about the difficulties she faced being a gay woman in the advisory world, and ultimately how she has prevailed and continues to grow her practice to support her ideal life. Listen in to hear about her inspiring journey, as well as the major lessons she learned along the way.

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Ep #85: Surviving the Wirehouse Trap - The Career of Brian Face

Brian is the owner of Face 2 Face Financial Planning, a fee-only RIA in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He's a second generation planner who was introduced to the industry by his father and in 2007, he started his career in a wirehouse, but found the work unsatisfying after two years. The environment wasn't conducive to helping clients without significant wealth.

Brian bounced around between various industries before finding his way back to financial planning. He ultimately learned that he could serve customers in a way that provides value while earning a living at the same time. His experience is a wonderful case study describing how to establish a new firm, convince clients to join you, and transition from an existing RIA without burning bridges.

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Ep #184: Navigating the Broker-Dealer and Insurance World - The Career of Malcolm Thomas, XYPN's Director of Advisor Success

Malcolm Thomas became XYPN’s Director of Advisor Success about six months ago, and he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. Having had the unique experience of being on both the buy-side and sell-side of mergers, as well as various roles throughout his career, Malcolm has seen almost every corner of the industry.

In this episode, he shares his insight on the various business models out there, as well as the struggles each are facing. Listen in to hear the lessons he’s learned over the years, his mission in working with XYPN’s Advisor Success Department, and his outlook on the future of the industry.

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Ep #198: Providing Multi-Generational Financial Planning to Minority Families - The Career of Emlen Miles-Mattingly

In this episode, Emlen Miles-Mattingly describes how he took his career from bank teller to president and CEO of the successful firm, Gen Next Wealth. We discuss Emlen’s unique niche in providing multi-generational financial planning to minority families and what he is doing to bring diversity to the industry.

Emlen recounts a personal story of how listening to #XYPNRadio prompted his decision to break off from his old firm to develop his own business. Give this episode a listen to get an in-depth look at how he establishes lasting relationships with his clients and the extensive work he puts in to continue impressively growing his practice. 

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Ep #106: Leaving the Broker Dealer Behind - The Career of Bill Nelson

A key idea we hold here at XYPN is that it's usually a good idea to get experience in the financial services industry—or even another industry—before starting your own RIA. Our guest on this episode, Bill Nelson, had a career in compliance and then with a broker dealer before finally taking the plunge into true financial planning.

When Bill realized that working on Capitol Hill wasn't for him, he joined Price Waterhouse Cooper and became an expert on compliance. But when he and his future wife decided to move so she could attend medical school, Bill considered opening his own firm.

In this episode, Bill shares why he took the safe route when he first moved rather than start his own RIA. He talks about what he learned working for a big broker dealer, why working in the industry was so helpful before starting his own business, and what his business looks like today as he finally niches down.

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Ep #116: Building a Business Under a Large Firm Umbrella - The Careers of Andrew Damcevski and Devon Klumb

Building a new business is always a lot of work. This didn’t deter Andrew Damcevski and Devon Klumb from starting their practice, quickly adjusting, and putting it in the perfect position to succeed. By becoming part of a bigger firm, their business has been able to see a large amount of growth and they are able to reach the type of customers they are passionate about serving.

Andrew and Devon join in on this episode to spread some inspiration and great information about the unique way they structured and grew their business. They fill us in on how their three-advisor team with separate specialties works together to serve clients in a dynamic and truly helpful way. They also share how the merging process worked out so well for them and what it’s like to work with people who share their passion and values for running an ethical business and truly helping people.

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Ep #14: The Career of Daniel Wrenne - From Northwestern Mutual Insurance Agent to Fee-Only Financial Planner

Daniel Wrenne, CFP and founder of Wrenne Financial Planning, was building a pretty solid book of business at Northwestern Mutual before ultimately deciding to branch off and start his own firm. Over the last ten months, he's built and ran his business working primarily with physicians and business owners that are striving to save for the future.

This episode highlights what it takes to make the transition to starting your own firm. Daniel also shares an honest look at some of his successes and failures along the way. If you're with an insurance company and find yourself wondering what your options are for going fee-only and starting your own an RIA, this episode is for you.

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