Harnessing Autonomy: The Shift Towards Independent RIAs at Savvy

Harnessing Autonomy: The Shift Towards Independent RIAs at Savvy
October 6, 2023


With $100T of wealth held by millionaires in the United States, the role of the country’s 330,000 personal financial advisors can't be overstated.Financial advisors are at a juncture where balancing asset management, fostering client relationships, and crafting effective financial strategies are paramount. Historically, large firms have dominated this space, yet the allure of becoming an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is growing. This transition embodies a quest for autonomy, personalized client interactions, and possibly a more substantial portion of the revenue share.

Personal Brand Resonance in Wealth Management

Crafting a Legacy with Personal Touches

Financial advisors such as Raj Sharma have found autonomy and brand identity to be crucial, even within large-scale entities like Bank of America. The notion of 'personal branding,' exemplified by “the Sharma Group,” demonstrates the potential for advisors to stand out as distinct entities. The evolving dynamic that witnesses a surge in individualized business approaches and client relationships accentuates advisors’ personal brands as valuable assets, occasionally enabling them to retain clients even during transitions between firms.

Mobility and Client Loyalty in the Advisory Domain

Studies have highlighted that a significant 40% of client assets typically follow advisors as they transition between firms, showcasing a considerable foundation of loyalty towards individual advisors over the larger firms they represent​. This statistic unveils a pathway for advisors eyeing a shift towards independent RIAs, where their personal brand and client rapport become the centerpiece of their practice.

Economic Benefits of Independent Stature

Revenue-Sharing and Augmented Financial Autonomy

At larger institutions, financial advisors have exhibited an ability to secure a stable or increasing share of revenue, with advisors reportedly earning between 20% and 55.5% of the revenues they generate at firms like Morgan Stanley. Transitioning to an independent RIA like Savvy allows advisors to explore a setting that provides greater flexibility and control over their revenue structures, aligning their income more closely with their efforts and client acquisition prowess​​.

Client Asset Management and Financial Stability

The strong shift to an independent RIA model also has implications for client asset management. Navigating client assets at smaller RIAs could introduce a paradigm where the financial stability of their operations is intricately tied to their client management strategies, bestowing both the challenge and the advantage of directly influencing their financial paths​4​​5​​6​.

Cultivating Client Relationships in an Independent RIA Framework

Nurturing Trust and Tailored Client Interaction

Within an independent structure, financial advisors have the freedom to build and nurture client relationships on a highly personalized level. This model of operation not only enhances trust but also solidifies client-advisor relationships that are resilient and enduring​7​​8​​9​​10​. Transitioning to a smaller, agile entity like Savvy may enable financial advisors to leverage the power of empathy and personal connections more effectively, potentially cutting through bureaucratic hurdles and fostering a more intimate working environment.

Evaluating Career Longevity and Succession in an RIA Context

Age and Succession Planning in Financial Advisory

The sector, with a notable portion of advisors aged 56 and above, is gradually moving towards a situation where age and succession planning in financial advisory are becoming crucial. In independent RIAs, personalized succession strategies integrated within the business model may offer solutions to these challenges, as demonstrated by examples like the father-and-son duo at Morgan Stanley transitioning to LPL11​​12​​13​​14​​15​.

Structuring a Future-Forward Practice at Savvy

By electing an independent, smaller RIA such as Savvy, advisors can potentially mold their practices with a future-forward lens, shaping their business models to not only facilitate current operations but also to pave the way for smooth transitions in the future, ensuring the longevity and sustained success of their practices.


The migration towards independent RIAs like Savvy in the expansive wealth management landscape signifies a broader movement towards autonomy, personalized client interaction, and enhanced control over financial operations for advisors. Amid the intricacies of client relationships, revenue management, and succession planning, such a transition potentially unveils opportunities for advisors to carve out niches that are financially rewarding and deeply intertwined with the personal relationships they cultivate along their journey.

If you are a financial advisor envisioning your next significant step, delve into a realm where your expertise, personal brand, and client relationships are celebrated and become the foundation of your practice. Welcome to Savvy – where your advisory practice is as distinct and boundless as your aspirations.