Nathan Stibbs: RIAS Remain Better Positioned to Grow Than IBDS

You would be hard-pressed to find an individual in the wealth management space who is more familiar than Nathan Stibbs with the hybrid advisor experience delivered by many firms across the independent broker-dealer segment.

Michael Madden Contributing Editor & Research Analyst

Having spent 20 years at Triad Advisors, the IBD that arguably pioneered the hybrid advisor model, Stibbs, whose most recent role at the firm was Chief Strategy Officer, helped drive much of Triad’s recruiting growth over the years.

After helping to facilitate a smooth transition for Triad Advisors as part of its acquisition by Advisor Group – alongside the other Ladenburg Thalmann firms last year – Stibbs decided it was time for a change.  And that change came in the form of his move to Continuum Advisory, LLC in May this year, as the firm’s President and Chief Strategy Officer.

In this role, Stibbs sees multiple opportunities to leverage his business development skills and experience from the IBD universe to accelerate recruiting growth opportunities for the Idaho-headquartered hybrid RIA platform provider, which encompasses $3 billion in assets and 20 offices nationwide.

New technologies are positioning RIAs for scale and efficiency

For Stibbs, who will continue to be based in Atlanta, transitioning from the IBD to the RIA space was a very deliberate decision, driven by his view of the relative advantages he believes RIAs have over IBDs when it comes to recruiting, retention and advisor growth.

Wealth Solutions Report connected with Stibbs to discuss his new role, Continuum Advisory and the future of recruiting success for wealth management firms.

WSR: Why should a financial advisor join forces with a large RIA, versus being a hybrid advisor with an IBD that has an RIA platform?

Stibbs: As the digitization of our business accelerates, independent RIAs are ideally positioned to adapt and leverage new technologies for scale and efficiency.  

RIAs can move fast and be nimble, while IBDs, in general, rely on their scale and can be inflexible, slow to react, and even slower to execute.  

An independent RIA provides a more entrepreneurial environment and greater control over the most critical aspects of an advisor’s business: custodial platform, technology, and pricing.  

WSR:  What was appealing about joining Continuum Advisory – And specifically, what do you see as the firm’s key strengths and advantages in the wealth management space?

Stibbs:  As an RIA built by advisors, Continuum offers the ideal balance of entrepreneurial flexibility with boutique service and access to large firm resources.  

My decision to join the firm came down to Continuum’s unique culture and its significant growth potential, which I view as key strengths of the firm.  

Continuum’s focus on delivering an optimal advisor experience and a desire to provide paramount service aligned with my values.  

As a turnkey platform for advisors, Continuum serves as a middle office solution allowing advisors to maintain their own brand while having access to larger scale technology, platform pricing, and operational support. 

WSR:  What’s your sweet spot financial advisor recruit look like, and how does Continuum Advisory deliver a superior experience for this kind of professional?

Stibbs:  As Continuum looks to add advisors, we place a premium on the caliber of the advisor and their potential for growth, both organically and inorganically. 

We selectively partner with advisors who are uniquely dynamic, entrepreneurial, and will be a great long-term partner for Continuum.  

Financial advisors select Continuum because of our compelling story, clear vision, and powerful culture.  

Everything we do is firmly focused on helping advisors build and promote their brand, while providing a welcoming, collaborative environment of high-touch support.
 
WSR: What keeps independent financial advisors who are transitioning to an RIA up at night, and what can RIAs do better to deliver a friction-free transition experience?

Stibbs:  The anxiety of business disruption and the speed of the conversion are the greatest concerns.  The transition technology available today in the RIA channel is a gamechanger.  

While no transition is seamless, RIAs have the unique ability to personalize the transition experience through advanced digital onboarding technology, swift paperless account establishment, and dedicated onsite support internally and through custodial partners.  

Nathan Stibbs, President & Chief Strategy Officer, Continuum Advisory LLC

At the end of the day, there is no substitute for a clear strategic transition plan, which helps to manage advisor expectations while minimizing downtime and disruption.  
 
WSR: If you had to watch and re-watch one movie on a six hour cross-country flight, what would it be…and why?

That’s easy, Hoosiers.  A basketball classic and my all-time favorite movie that I’ve seen at least 100 times.  

The film embodies everything that is relevant in life and business – Adversity, hope, dedication, patience, teamwork, and triumph.   It has an incredible soundtrack too!

Michael Madden, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst, can be reached via email at ContributingEd@wealthsolutionsreport.com  

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