Becoming an Independent Financial Advisor

Think You’re Cut Out to be an Independent Financial Advisor?

 Independent Financial Advisor From the outside looking in, a career as an independent financial advisor looks shiny and bright. After all, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2015, personal financial advisors had a 2015 median pay of $89,160 per year and a 2014-2024 job outlook growth rate of 30 percent compared to the average growth rate of 7 percent for all occupations.[1] While these facts and figures surrounding the profession are certainly enticing, this competitive field can be cutthroat and is not for everyone.

If you’re considering a career as an independent financial advisor, here are some pertinent points to keep in mind and help you decide whether you’re well-suited for this profession:

  • You must have a sales mentality. Regardless of how much of a whiz you are at financial analytics, investment knowledge, and making the best financial planning and investment recommendations, these skills alone are not sufficient for succeeding as an independent financial advisor. To find success in this industry, you need a strong sales mentality and must be comfortable pounding the pavement, making cold calls, and constantly networking. While a strong financial services and investment knowledge base is highly desirable, this knowledge is useless if you can’t convert it into making prospective business contacts, then turning them into leads or prospects, and ultimately closing them as new clients.
  • You must have an entrepreneurial spirit. Most financial advisors start out their careers under a financial advisory company’s brand and training program. However, once these financial advisors learn the ropes and build an established book of clients, many have aspirations of going out on their own and starting their own independent business. While the payouts can be great, the risks are high too. Ask yourself how comfortable you are with business risks? Do you have the money to cover the start-up costs? Are you comfortable with variable, unpredictable compensation? Are you a leader? Do you have thick skin?
  • You must be committed to always learning. Just because you’ve already received your degrees and passed the requisite licensure examinations, doesn’t mean your days as a student are over. To both stay afloat and ultimately succeed in this competitive financial planning industry, you must be committed to always learning. Staying up to date with current financial news and your continuing education requirements is just the tip of the iceberg. Change is inevitable in the variable financial planning and investment industries; after all, this is an industry currently characterized by increasingly strict regulatory environments, market volatility, widespread technological innovations and advancements, and savvier consumers and clients with more financial planning options and platforms than ever. To get ahead and stay ahead, a successful independent financial advisor must always be learning and stay abreast of changes and advancements in this industry.
  • You must have an effective support team around you. Despite the “independent” part of the “independent financial advisor” moniker, no successful man or woman in this hypercompetitive industry can truly be an island. An effective support team can mean many things. It can mean establishing professional relationships, such as those with a CPA or an attorney who is willing to partner with you, to help build your client book and establish credibility. It can also mean building an effective, efficient team of partners, assistants, and support staff at your office to help you do your job as smoothly and profitably as possible. Finally, having an effective support team around you can also include partnering with an independent broker dealer firm to help support and grow your independent practice.


If you’re interested in becoming an independent financial advisor, you don’t have to go at it alone. We encourage you to strongly consider working with an independent broker dealer such as Summit Brokerage Services who can help you every step of the way. To learn more about Summit Brokerage Services and out network of independent financial advisors, visit  or call us at (800) 354-5528.


About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.

Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.


About Cetera Financial Group

Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial planning advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions.  Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.

Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations.  Advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and financial planning and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology.  For more information, visit

*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, The Legend Group and Summit Brokerage Services.




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