One of the most common approaches to growing an RIA quickly has been to acquire another adviser’s book of business, with or without the adviser. This can be in conjunction with the acquired adviser’s succession plan (whether voluntary or involuntary) or where you and the acquired adviser perceive advantages in joining together.
Where an adviser is well established and the focus of the RIA business is more on providing a deeper and better service to existing clients, another approach to growing the firm might be to acquire another professional – not an adviser – on your team. The professional could be a CPA, an attorney, an insurance specialist or some other person who would bring value to the RIA. The value would lie primarily in the added expertise your new hire offers to your clients and the desirable services your business could provide.
The broadened scope of the RIA would be something closer to the concept of a family office but would be providing services to many families – your clients. The ability of the client to make one stop to meet with those professionals he or she needs would be important as would the consistency of the deliverables. Your team, working together, would know better how to serve the client than a number of individual firms each having different knowledge and experience of the client as well as different priorities in service. The team approach would also eliminate many of the delays clients may experience in getting a comprehensive plan together or maintaining it over time.
A potential side benefit to this approach is that a non-adviser professional joining the RIA may well have a book of business that could benefit from the advisory and other services offered by the RIA. On the other hand, this post does not discuss some important issues in effectuating this approach, including compensation and compliance. Those are separate topics that must be handled for the approach to work.