Independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) are professional independent advisory firms that provide personalized financial advice to their clients, many of whom have complex financial needs. Because these advisors are independent, they are not tied to any particular family of funds or investment products. As fiduciaries, they are held to the highest standard of care – and are required to act in the best interests of their clients at all times. Here are some benefits to working with a RIA:
1. Customized guidance based on your entire financial picture
Independent advisors are not tied to any particular family of funds or investment products. So whether you need help with retirement planning, a tax situation, estate planning, or managing assets at multiple places independent advisors have the freedom to choose from a wide range of investment options in order to tailor their advice based on what’s best for you.
2. A relationship that’s responsive, attentive and personal
To offer advice closely aligned with your goals, independent advisors must first build a strong understanding of your situation. As a result, many independent advisors focus on building deep relationships with their clients. This often takes regular, ongoing interactions. And because many of these advisors are entrepreneurial business owners, they hold themselves personally accountable to their clients.
3. A fee structure that is simple and transparent
Independent advisors typically charge a fee based on a percentage of assets managed. This fee structure is simple, transparent and easy to understand. It also gives your advisor an incentive to help grow your assets. When you succeed, your advisor succeeds.
4. A high level of expertise to support your complex financial needs
Independent advisors can help investors address the variety of complex investment needs that arise when you accumulate significant wealth. While specific services vary from firm to firm, they are often described as financial “quarterbacks” focused on your holistic financial picture. Some advisors are specialists in certain investment strategies. Others can assist you with comprehensive services, such as estate planning or borrowing, the sale of a business, complicated tax situations, trusts and intergenerational wealth transfer.
5. Your money is held by an independent custodian, not the advisor firm
Independent advisors use independent custodians (eliminating the Maddoff nightmare) to hold and safeguard clients’ assets. For many investors, this provides a reassuring system of checks and balances – your money is not held by the same person who advises you about how to invest it.
Lawrence W. Waller II is President of HLM Financial Services Inc., located in Downtown Decatur. Visit HLMonestop.com or call 404-836-1120.
Lawrence W. Waller II is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of and offers securities and advisory services through INTL FC Stone, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC. HLM FInancial Services, Inc. is not affiliated with INTL FC Stone, Inc.
by Lawrence W. Waller II