Financial advisors are still drawn to establishing their own independent businesses despite the damper Covid-19 has put on much of the economy, said Pamela Stross, CEO of Tampa-based TruClarity Management Solutions, a practice management firm that helps advisors go independent.

The overall process of going independent has not had a complete makeover, but timing is a major consideration now, Stross said in an interview.

In addition, advisors who now receive help from TruClarity often receive the assistance remotely rather than having helpers working side-by-side with them.

Stross noted that a recent exception was a firm preparing to launch in New York City. A TruClarity manager who lives in Jersey City, N.J., quarantined herself for two weeks and was tested for Covid-19 so that she could be present in New York City to help with the details first hand.

“But that firm could not have opened in New York City in April,” Stross said.

“We had an advisor establishing his own firm who opened his new office last spring, only to be immediately shut down by Covid,"  she added. "Despite the delay, he is now open and doing well. Covid has not been a deterrent against advisors wanting to go independent. We’ve still seen a lot of activity and there are more firms in the pipeline.”

As part of its role in providing support for advisors who want to establish their own businesses, TruClarity works with third parties to select vendors, negotiate contracts and evaluate performance and quality of service. TruClarity recently established an RIA that advisors can operate under if they do not want to establish their own RIA.

One effect of Covid is that advisors who are establishing businesses now are planning for more remote operations, both for staff members and clients. 

“Advisors almost need more advice now when they go independent but, once set up, their relationships with their clients are even stronger than before,” Stross said. “Before they launch, we need to determine what is going on in their communities regarding the pandemic and we need to determine a realistic time to launch. There are still a lot of advisors who see themselves as independent business owners.”