Breaking Away: Two Advisors Share Their Paths to Independence

Financial advisors considering going independent and breaking away from the wirehouse model have viable options in changing the landscape of the wealth management world.

Advisors Paul Tanner of Las Olas Capital Advisors and Todd Resnick of One Seven, offer insight into their decisions to go independent.

Tanner launched Las Olas Capital Advisors in August 2015. His firm has offices in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and New York. He compared breaking away to the voyage of Christopher Columbus: “Fear was my biggest hurdle. Like Columbus, I knew I was not navigating in an ocean of a flat financial world. I hoped that if I set sail, my clients would trust that I knew the wealth management world was round and that there were great opportunities for discovery and growth.”

Resnick and his partners launched One Seven in July 2016. The client-centric RIA is headquartered in Cleveland with an additional office in Park City, Utah. Resnick, who worked as a financial advisor for almost 10 years explained, “At my former employer, my team managed $550 million to $600 million in assets. One Seven brought over $475 million to $500 million of that business.” Resnick reported that many clients came onboard and signed with One Seven within the first 24 hours.

Both advisors built personal relationships beyond portfolios that led to 85 percent to 90 percent of their clients signing on with them when they started their own independent firms.

Resnick and Tanner agree that it can take longer for clients to take the leap – persistence is key. While there is a foundation of trust built, clients may patiently wait and watch. “Some clients wanted to see our transition before they made their decision,” said Resnick.

Taking the leap to independence is one that requires reflection and discernment. Resnick believes advisors eventually must ask themselves if they want to be an advisor or a business owner. “If advising is your passion, then becoming a part of an RIA makes a lot of sense. But if you want to be a business owner, then starting your own RIA makes sense. But, you have to be willing to invest a lot of your own time and energy. It is paramount to find the right strategic partners who can take on some of the heavy lifting.”

Opening a business comes with hard work and challenges. That is when a TruClarity partnership can play an integral role. TruClarity customizes solutions so advisors can take on as much or as little as they choose. Tanner and Resnick agree that having transition assistance and an experienced project manager made the entire process easier to conquer and much more enjoyable.

There are decisions that advisors breaking out on their own might think would be obstacles, but were not. Tanner was pleased that research, training and products are all available to purchase. He can buy products and services on an as-needed basis to fit his practice and his clients. “When you work in a wirehouse, you think all of their products and services are proprietary, but they are not. They are all available in the marketplace.”

“There are big rewards to owning your own RIA,” Tanner happily reports. “Singularly, there is no better feeling at the end of the day than locking the door to my own business. I am living the American dream.”

Resnick is living the dream, too. He reflects on the decision to have a 7-foot-tall gratitude wall at One Seven. Friends, family and clients write on it with Sharpies. “It’s different from any other financial advisor office I have visited. It changes the way we think. It’s not just about the money. It changes the conversation and the relationship with our clients.”

Tanner and Resnick deliver individualized client experiences rather than having the corporate pressure to push particular products and services. Being independent has allowed them to offer innovative solutions in an industry that is not traditionally creative. Resnick reiterated, “I feel reinvigorated, and I would do it all over again!”

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