A Decade of Growth and Partnership
May 14, 2017, marked an important date for Robert Russo: the 10th anniversary of his partnership with LPL Financial. Robert, CEO and managing partner of LPL-affiliated hybrid RIA firm, Independent Advisor Alliance, recently reflected on the milestone and how LPL’s independent platform helped him take his business to the next level.
Around this time 10 years ago, I made two big life changes. I married the love of my life which made me a better man personally—and I made the move from a regional wirehouse firm to LPL Financial (May 14, 2007), which took my professional life to a new level.
Both events have taught me a lot about myself, my strengths and weaknesses (my wife can point out both). But the transition to LPL and the support I received as I changed and grew my business was unlike anything I had ever experienced in my professional career.
When I joined LPL as an advisor, it was the first time I felt my broker/dealer partner was interested in my success and what I could do for my clients. I began friendships with so many folks who provided the insight and guidance I needed to be understand my options and make informed decisions.
Sure, my transition wasn’t easy. It’s really not supposed to be. It’s a decision that can’t be taken lightly. But when you know it’s time, it’s time. That’s why I got into the business that I’m in today. I saw an opportunity, and in 2013 I changed my model to focus on running the most transparent hybrid RIA firm possible.
I sold my retail and institutional books and began Independent Advisor Alliance on my own. As a solo practitioner, I had the benefit of learning the ins and outs of all areas of the Super OSJ/Hybrid RIA/Large Enterprise business. I served as the firm’s CEO, CCO, COO, transition manager, director of communications, and chief cook and bottle washer. That experience helped to deepen my understanding of the roles, and when I was ready to hire, I knew exactly the type of team members and skills needed to effectively partner with other advisors.
It’s never a simple task to move your business from one place to another. But my transition helped pave the way for how we help transition our advisors and their clients to IAA today. It’s funny to look at where we were; it used to be just me repapering advisors, and now we have a 31-person repapering team. We’ve built a strong platform, so much so that we’re ready to take our regional footprint nationwide.
It’s been a long road to get to where IAA and I are today, and it’s been exciting, scary and fulfilling all at the same time. It’s gratifying to know that whatever issue we have, we can come knocking on LPL’s door—we’re only 11 miles way from the new Carolina headquarters. The talent there is incredible. So incredible, in fact, that several of IAA’s employees are former LPL’ers, and a few of our family members work at the home office today.
Through it all, it’s always been about the relationships, and since IAA is all about being the most transparent, advisor-centric RIA firm out there, we know we’re the perfect complement to LPL.
The last 10 years has energized me. LPL’s entrepreneurial model, dedicated leadership, and professional employees continue to inspire and motivate me. I look forward to continuing the partnership as we make strides in both our businesses. And I can’t wait to look back in another decade and think, look at how far we’ve come.
The views and opinions expressed by the LPL Financial Advisor are as of the date of publication. These views 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 can be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss incurred by applying any of the information offered.
Independent Advisor Alliance and LPL Financial are separate entities.