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What's an RIA? Why Should You Care?

A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is a professional advisory firm that offers personalized financial advice to its clients, many of whom are affluent.

  • Why might an independent RIA be a good choice for an investor?Many independent RIAs work with complex portfolios and address unique needs that require a highly customized level of investment management strategy and consultation.
  • Many independent RIAs are owned by the individual advisors who run them.
  • RIA firms have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of their clients.

Why might an independent RIA be a good choice for an investor?

  • Independent RIAs generally have affiliations with a variety of firms who assist with tax planning, estate planning, money management and more. These affiliations allow them to help their clients with complex financial needs.
  • An independent RIA’s affiliations generally make available a wide universe of products and services to them, so that an RIA can tailor solutions to an individual client’s goals.
  • Some independent RIAs’ compensation is directly related to growing their clients’ assets, which can benefit both the advisor and client alike.

Many affluent investors prefer to work with an RIA firm for the reasons stated above. In fact, RIAs recently received some prominent exposure among the nation’s investors in a Wall Street Journal Weekend article titled, “Thinking about hiring an RIA?”1 Click here to read more.


1. The article originally ran in the October 22, 2011 issue and was authored by Randy Meyers, a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Barron’s, CFO, Corporate Board Member and other prominent business publications. Mr. Myers is not affiliated with Charles Schwab & Co.