It’s been another banner year for independent advisors as the industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The bull stock market, combined with assets pouring out of wirehouses, has driven AUM to new levels; by most counts, there are now more ensemble firms than one- and two-advisor shops; and a growing number of firms are somewhere in the process of transitioning the majority of industry AUM to successor advisors or outside firms.
Of course, it hasn’t been all good news. This growth has driven demand for young advisors so high that it’s almost impossible to find anyone to hire. Regulators (the SEC, FINRA, and the CFP Board), have largely been ignoring the Dodd-Frank mandate to bring broker regulation into line with RIA regulation, and instead, are launching various “crackdowns” on independent RIAs.
What’s more, stock market highs and recent minor corrections are causing concerns among many advisors who are determined not to repeat the mistakes made during the run up to the 2008-2009 Market Meltdown. Here are our suggestions for steps that owner-advisors should take in the coming New Year to meet these challenges, and position their firms for continued success.