Ask an AdvisorLaw Expert: Can I form an RIA prior to leaving my current firm?

There are a number of important factors that an advisor needs to consider when deciding to leave a firm to form their own RIA. On this week’s Ask An AdvisorLaw Expert, we’re talking with RIA superstar, Michelle Atlas-Quinn, J.D., about how advisors can mitigate time spent and risk assumed, without consequence, while becoming properly licensed.

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It can be done, but there are a number of areas that you need to focus on. Not only do you need to prepare your formation documents and all of your filings and have them correct and accurate so that you can mitigate the amount of time that it takes to get it properly licensed, but you also need to review your firm’s outside business activity, policies, and procedures, and look at ways to not violate those in the process on your way out. And then in addition to that, most advisory firms or most broker-dealers also have non-competes and non-solicitations. So you want to look at: how are you going to mitigate that risk, as well? Are you bringing partners? Are you bringing staff with you? There are a number of different areas, from filing to the outside business activities, to non-competes, and you really want an attorney around to help you walk through those to mitigate your risk.