Breakaway Maven Launches RIA for Advisors Seeking ‘Quasi-Independence’

Advisors are tired of being bossed around. That doesn’t mean they want all the responsibilities that go with being the boss.

(Illustration by RIA Intel; Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg)

(Illustration by RIA Intel; Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg)

TruClarity Management Solutions, a company that helps brokers leave their employers to open independent firms, is starting its own RIA.

The Tampa, Fla.-based company founded in 2015 said Tuesday it launched a separate entity called TruClarity Wealth Advisors, which plans to hire brokers and allow them to operate under their own brand.

Unlike the existing service business, the new RIA provides another landing place for advisors who are interested in the independent channel but don’t want to start their own firm, said Pamela Stross, who will serve as CEO to both TruClarity Management Solutions and TruClarity Wealth Advisors.

Some advisors feel restricted by the brokerages they work for, at least in terms of how they can market or brand themselves. Starting an RIA gives them autonomy over their promotion but saddles them with many other new responsibilities, like compliance and maintaining relationships with custodians.

TruClarity Wealth Advisors is a “quasi-independent” option that delivers the best of both worlds, Stross tells RIA Intel. “[TruClarity] gives them two really good solutions and, in both, our goal is never to trap the advisor or make them feel like they can’t leave.”

Like at Raymond James, LPL, and recently Wells Fargo, brokerage, TruClarity sees opportunity in serving advisors through different business models.

Five advisor groups at brokerages, managing a total of more than $1 billion, are already in talks about joining the RIA, said Stross. If all goes according to plan, they will be employees of TruClarity Wealth Advisors and work under a typical compensation plan or grid, she said.

TruClarity Management Solutions currently supports 25 advisors at eight RIAs managing a total of about $2 billion.

Brokers initially set on starting their own wealth management firm often come to realize they would prefer a more gradual transition to independence, according to Stross. Now, her company doesn’t have to turn some advisors away and she gets to work with them.

One of the most rewarding things about working with advisors is that each possesses unique attributes, said Stross. The new RIA could help them better express what makes them special while maintaining their own clients.

Client ownership has long been a subject of debate between brokerages and their employees. But RIAs are increasingly borrowing from the brokerage legal playbook and filing complaints against former employees.

“We don’t want to be like wirehouses or other captive environments, where if you ask who owns the client, the wirehouse or captive environment would claim ownership. We are here to differentiate ourselves from that idea,” Darian Johnson, chairman of TruClarity Wealth Advisors, said in a statement.

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