How to Find the Best RIA Tuck-In Partner

Five Tips for Gaining More Autonomy While Enjoying Built-In Support

If it’s time for your career in financial services to evolve, becoming independent as a registered investment advisor (RIA) could be the right step for you. Maybe you’ve spent years building your book of business as a financial advisor at a broker-dealer. Maybe you’re nearing retirement and you don’t have a business succession plan. Maybe you’ve been in a bank or wirehouse and you know it’s time to remap your professional future. Whatever your reason or professional season, there are many benefits to becoming an RIA, and the tuck-in model means you can do it with fewer headaches. A crucial decision point, of course, is who to partner with, and this article offers five tips for finding the best partnership for you.

What is the RIA Tuck-In Model?

Let’s start with the basics. If you want more independence in growing your client relationships and book of business, but without the heartburn associated with running your own independent firm, you might choose to “tuck-In” with an established firm. 

A partnership like this can benefit you in many ways. You can maintain your independence while gaining the process, platform, marketing, practice, and administrative support of an established company. You can focus on your clients’ needs and on growing your book of business, and you can leave the time-consuming practice management to someone else. In short, it’s more lucrative, less restrictive, and you still get the autonomy you’re looking for. All of these benefits are the reason the RIA tuck-in model is growing in popularity. It offers a “soft landing” into independence without the time, headaches, and expense of going it on your own.

Finding the Right Partner for Your Personal and Professional Goals

Deciding to remap your career in financial services is exciting. Often, it means you’re looking for something different both personally and professionally. So, it’s important to be intentional about your next step. To find the best RIA tuck-in partner for you, follow these five guidelines.

Evaluate Potential Custodial Partners

If you’re going to associate your name and professional reputation with an existing firm, you’ll want to do tireless due diligence to ensure doing so will be to your benefit – and not to your detriment. Learn all you can about company culture, with an eye toward what’s most important to you. For example, if building and maintaining close relationships with your clients is your preferred style, make sure any potential partner is committed to supporting close client relationships. Some firms are simply more transactionally oriented than relationship-based. Make sure you choose one that complements your personal and professional brand.

Consider National Registration and Licensure

As you consider a tuck-in partner, you’ll certainly be thinking about where most of your current clients are located. However, think about areas where you want to grow your business, too. Choose an established RIA that already has national registration and licensure in the state where your clients – and potential clients – live. 

Look for Fee Transparency

You’ve worked diligently for years to build your book of business and assets under management, so you’ll want to ensure you’re comfortable with tuck-in fee arrangements. Arrangements will vary among various partners but choosing to tuck-in to a model that completely covers your overhead is ideal. Not only might it drastically increase your take-home, but it may lower your clients’ fees as well. So, review the documentation of any potential RIA tuck-in partners and make sure you understand what fees you will owe to the custodial partner. If you find anything less than complete transparency, look for another tuck-in option.

Evaluate Technology Offerings

We live in the digital age, and you know your clients are increasingly finding value in the financial technology you can offer. Look for an RIA tuck-in partner offering a state-of-the-art technology platform that is easy for advisors to navigate, but which also offers a simple and effective user experience for your clients too. Of course, it’s important to use a platform that offers complete document management and reporting that meets regulatory mandates.

Get Clear About Your Level of Independence

The tuck-in partnership can look different based upon who you choose to partner with, including how independent you will truly be. If you tuck-in with us at TriCapital, for instance, you get to keep the clients you bring to the table.  We fully support you maintaining your personal relationships with the clients you have, and with new ones you obtain. This isn’t true for every tuck-in partnership, so be selective as you evaluate your best options.

Think Toward the Future

An RIA tuck-in partnership can be an excellent business model, but it should serve your personal and professional growth, too. You’ll have the opportunity to gain counsel and mentorship from partners who are experienced in the path you’re on, so make sure you share many of the same values and work ethic. In this way, you can truly optimize your tuck-in partnership and maximize the value of the relationship.

Is TriCapital Wealth Management Group the Right Tuck-In Partner for You?

If you’re interested in partnering with us at TriCapital, we would love to have a conversation with you. We’re looking for advisors who are excited to wake up and go to work to serve their clients, and who are committed to their fiduciary obligations.

In addition to some of the benefits already discussed above, a tuck-in partnership with us means you get to grow your AUM, use our proprietary time-tested wealth management process, simplify and streamline your back office, enjoy marketing support, and gain valuable time to focus on your clients. 

We’ve been in business for more than two decades, and we’re dedicated to building strong relationships with our clients, to genuine and transparent business practices, to the highest level of client service, and to acting as fiduciaries for our clients. We’re also devoted to consistent professional improvement and development. At TriCapital, we help advisors grow their careers, attract new clients, and deliver an outstanding client experience. Contact us today to learn more!

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