All financial advisors questioned who established an independent registered investment advisory firm in the past two years would do so again, according to Schwab’s Sophomore Year Survey released today.

Nine out of ten advisors report being happier as an independent advisor and feel their firm is in a better position for growth, the survey found. Three quarters wish they had made the move sooner.

“Once advisors make the move to independence, they like what they see. Advisors enjoy the freedom of doing what they want when they want, having more control over their schedule, more control over how they develop their business,” says Tim Oden, senior managing director for business development at Schwab Advisor Services.

Among 98 percent of respondents, providing more personalized service to clients was the main reason they went independent. Other reasons advisors sought independence included seeing an opportunity for greater long-term personal financial success (95 percent) and protecting their personal reputations (95 percent).

It takes advisors, on average, two years to start their own firms. Obtaining quality legal and compliance advice and choosing the best technology for their new practice top the list as the most important steps taken during the transition for 88 percent of respondents.

Retaining clients during the transition was also an important focus for 77 percent of advisors. According to Schwab, eight out of 10 clients made the move with their advisors and followed them to their new independent firms.

In an effort to assist advisors transition to independence, Schwab offers an Advisor Transition Services Team and has launched a new RIA Economic Discovery Tool that offers a hypothetical view of the financial benefits associated with independence.

Forty advisors who established their own independent RIA firms during the past two years and custody with Schwab Advisor Services where interviewed between February 14 – March 6 for the study by Koski Research. Those interviewed have been working in the investment advisory business for 15 years on average and manage a median $100 million in assets.