Are Regulators Forcing You to Become an RIA?

By Jason Pucinak via

For many advisors, the slow-motion action on the Department of Labor/fiduciary rule has led them to take a serious look at their business models. With regulators moving the industry inexorably toward strict rules on commission-based business, advisors are considering whether turning their practice into a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) now will keep them ahead of the industry and allow them to retain valuable clients.

The commissioned broker working for a wirehouse has been in decline for more than a decade. Aite Group estimates wirehouses have declined from almost 42 percent of all assets in 2007 to 36 percent this year. Cerulli Associates projects that independent RIAs will rise to 28 percent of the market in 2020.

RIAs do not make commissions on securities’ sales but rather charge a fee for their advice and services.

As important, RIAs are already fiduciaries to their clients and are not regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) but are by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). And, there’s a level of independence an RIA can experience that is an attraction on its own.

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