By Mindy Diamond and Barbara Herman via

In an industry marked by a year of turmoil, the spirit of independence has never been stronger.

The past 12 months within the independent broker dealer (IBD) and registered investment advisor (RIA) space can certainly be defined as a period of growth and increased validation—but not without feeling the disruption of a tumultuous business and regulatory environment.

While at one time it was unheard of for an independent firm to recruit a wirehouse advisor because the mindsets were so vastly different, today it’s a scenario that has never been more likely to occur. Independent firms that have scale, capacity, robust infrastructure and capital have an unprecedented opportunity to attract top talent from the traditional space. And except for very rare exceptions, once an advisor plants his entrepreneurial flag, he may opt for a model that offers even greater independence, but he never goes back to being an employee.

The changing regulatory environment, increased cost of doing business, and difficulty in identifying successors make many stand-alone independent businesses ripe for acquisition. M&A activity was robust in 2017 and all signs point to an acceleration of this trend well into 2018.

Click here to read the full story on