A Leap of Faith: Advisor Nate Cloutier’s Journey from Pro Sports to Fee-Only RIA

Last Edited by: LPL Financial

Last Updated: July 08, 2024

Nate Cloutier, Cloutier Wealth Management

I went out on my own knowing that I wouldn’t be alone. By joining LPL Financial, I knew that I had the pieces in place to create a top-notch client experience and practice.

- Nate Cloutier, Cloutier Wealth Management

Nate Cloutier is no stranger to taking leaps of faith. His first leap led him from studying business at the University of Vermont to volunteering with the U.S. Track & Field team in Australia as they trained for the 2000 Summer Olympics. His ability to connect with the athletes and staff, as well as his creative thinking, opened the door to an internship back in the U.S. with Vermont’s Minor League baseball team, which culminated in an 18-year career in professional sports. 

But during the Covid pandemic in 2020, Nate began wondering if it was time to revisit his earlier interest in finance. As a husband and father of four with an established career, the stakes were high. “I spent a lot of time thinking about what I loved to do, what I didn’t like to do, what I was good at, and what I could leverage from two decades of experience in this business community,” he said. 

He also leaned on the support and experience of his brother-in-law and LPL Financial advisor, Gregg Patenaude, of Patenaude Wealth Management. “Gregg was instrumental in pointing me in the right direction, whether it was a pivot into wealth management or going out on my own. He saw something in me, and I am forever grateful for his constant guidance and support.”

On His Own — But Not Alone

After careful consideration, Nate took another leap of faith and became a fee-only advisor at a Vermont-based RIA. “I did a lot of research, and I knew I wanted to be a fiduciary. I didn’t want to be seen as someone who had something to sell. People want to be heard and seen; they don’t want to be sold to. The only thing I wanted someone to buy was to buy into the process of building their long-term wealth. I wanted to be there to provide customized, transparent advice without any conflict of interest on the other side.” 

Three years in, it was clear that Nate would need to take one more leap to continue growing his business. “I had a vision for how I wanted to build my business. I wanted to build something special for my clients, for myself, and for my family. I knew that I needed to control my own destiny and build the best team around me to get there.” 

He found his team at LPL. “I went out on my own knowing that I wouldn’t be alone. By joining LPL Financial, I knew that I had the pieces in place to create a top-notch client experience and practice that would allow me to focus on my skillsets and the needs of my clients, giving me the ability to develop a distinguishable value proposition.” 

As a fee-only advisor on LPL’s RIA, Nate could customize his advisory business model, have full ownership of his business, and leverage LPL’s custodian and RIA for compliance support, risk management, and business solutions. “At LPL, I have access to a la carte options like Model Wealth Portfolios for the investment side of things, bookkeeping, and admin support. Deploying all these efficiencies allows me to focus on my skillsets and make sure my clients have the best experience possible.” 

Although Nate was initially anxious about the transition, LPL’s onboarding team made the experience easier than he expected. “Before, I was custodied with Fidelity and Schwab, so I was apprehensive about making the move. I was concerned about the repapering process, but LPL’s onboarding and transition teams made it simple so I could focus on having the conversations I needed to with my clients, grow my business, and surpass my goals.”

A Liberating Experience

Nate’s latest leap to building Cloutier Wealth Management fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning his own business. “I’ve worked for other people for over 20 years and it’s just so rewarding to work for myself and reap the reward of those benefits.” 

It’s also a family legacy he hopes to pass on to his kids. “Growing up, my father owned a contracting business, which gave him flexibility to coach little league and always be there with my mom, my brother, and I. He wouldn’t have been able to do that if he hadn’t owned his own business. I tell my kids, ‘If there’s one thing I wish for you, it’s that you own your own business.’ I want my kids to see that you can do something on your own to be proud of.” 

What advice would Nate give other advisors who are looking to gain more autonomy over their fee-only business? Don’t be afraid to take the leap. “Your new business doesn’t need to be perfect; you just need to start. This is a relationship business and people want to do business with people they like and trust. Show clients that it’s legitimate through a beautiful website, an email that works, and a full set of print and marketing materials that will give you an opportunity to tell your story. As time goes on, make adjustments that will allow you to grow your business.” 

“If the vision you have for your client experience is different than the situation you’re currently in, chase your dreams and lean on the support and resources that LPL has to offer. I am thrilled that I did, because I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced this sort of liberation.” 

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For Financial Professional Use Only.

The views and opinions expressed by the Financial Advisor(s) may not be representative of the views of other Financial Advisors and are not indicative of future performance or success. Neither LPL Financial nor the LPL Financial Advisor(s) can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.

Cloutier Wealth Management and LPL Financial are separate entities. 

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