Financial advisor Bill Sowell made the leap to independence more than three decades ago and he has never looked back. Since then, Sowell Management, the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm he founded in North Little Rock, Arkansas, has grown exponentially. Since 2016, Sowell Management’s AUM/AUA* jumped from $525 million to $4 billion today and more than doubled the number of its employees – from 14 to more than 30.
Bill says it’s because more financial advisors than ever are going the independent route and doing what he did all those years ago – and he’s pretty sure he knows why.
“Working with a registered investment advisor (RIA) like Sowell Management, who can really be a partner in all aspects of your business, is what it’s all about. There are so many advantages for the successful advisor and business owner who wants to serve clients as a true fiduciary in the financial services industry. And a good RIA will provide a multitude of support services.
“At Sowell Management, we meet independent advisors where they are and take them where they want to go. That means if they are new and breaking away from a Broker Dealer or any larger firm, we help them get their feet on the ground. If they’re looking to expand their business, we have the support services – from an end-to-end technology platform to the people to help with billing and much more, and if they’re worried about what to do next in life, we provide succession planning,” Bill says.
Working with an RIA that really cares about its advisors is reason enough to choose to become an independent advisor, but there are others. Here’s what Bill identifies as three leading reasons:
Bill’s top reasons financial advisors go independent
#1 Advisors want freedom.
At Sowell Management, we believe freedom comes first. That means we help the financial advisor design their businesses intentionally – aligned with their vision to serve their clients independently and as a true fiduciary. Respected RIAs provide advisors with all they need to run a compliant advisory practice, keeping costs down and providing flexibility. We work with independent advisors to tailor their vision into a business that is customized to their specific needs with greater autonomy to provide personalized service for their clients.
Advisors receive custom investment management agreements, a personalized ADV Part 2 and compliance oversight based on the way they run their business. Custom portfolio reports can be created and Sowell Management offers an online portal for the advisor’s clients – all white-labeled with their branding. We empower our advisors to build allocations and models – or choose from a curated group of outside managers. Advisors can control the rebalancing of accounts and customize and present client data how they choose.
And talk about freedom – advisors choose the custodian of their choice … Fidelity, Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade. Sowell Management can handle billing, pulling fees from client accounts and wiring payouts. Sowell’s entire offering is delivered through a cloud-based advisor portal that allows advisors to transact business securely from anywhere – giving them control. They have total freedom to choose how resources are allocated.
#2 Advisors want to focus on growth.
Sowell Management is a big believer in physics – a company is either growing or shrinking, so a growth mindset is the way. A solid RIA optimizes their advisors’ efforts with their people and their solutions – freeing the advisor to focus on revenue-producing client relationships. Instead of hiring staff – advisors can use an RIA. At Sowell Management, we start with an organized transition – helping move an advisor’s accounts. We leverage our scale with the custodians to work with their best service teams, and our Advisor Solutions Team helps advisors with ongoing service needs and ensures middle- and back-office efficiency. What’s more, we offer an end-to-end technology solution that seamlessly connects the advisor to their clients’ information and accounts and a full compliance department.
Basically, through an RIA, an advisor can choose their destiny, be their own boss and efficiently deliver advice and investment strategies on their terms. We make it easier for financial advisors to focus on their clients and grow their business.
#3 Advisors value a true partnership.
Last to make the top three is partnership. At Sowell Management, we believe partnership is the right path. It’s our philosophy and how we do business – embracing true collaboration. Everyone says it. Few people do it. At Sowell Management, we take partnership seriously. Not only do we connect advisors to, and help them navigate through, the universe of possibilities that are available, we also become a trusted partner. Sowell works with independent financial advisors – whether they want to build a lifestyle practice or a financial conglomerate. Each component of what an RIA like Sowell Management offers is surrounded by a team that has decades of experience helping independent financial advisors run their practices efficiently. We help advisors build and run a business for themselves – not by themselves.
Bill’s Bottom Line
Doing what’s best for advisors and their clients isn’t just my job – it’s my passion. – Bill Sowell
At the end of the day, a good RIA can handle everything but the client, so financial advisors can operate their business efficiently and scale their business faster – and for a fraction of the cost of doing it alone. If you are a financial advisor considering independence, and are interested in discussing even more reasons you should do it – because of course there are more than three – feel free to reach out to me using the “Let’s Chat” button at www.sowellmanagement.com.
Introduction and interview by Erin Taylor, Managing Director of Marketing and Communication
* AUM/AUA is as of April 2023