Starting an Investment Advisory Practice
For many CPAs, becoming an investment adviser is a smart decision. Even after deciding to become one many people will still have questions. This checklist offers help to CPAs who want to establish their own investment advisory firms.
* Do client research. Get reactions from some of your current accounting clients about your proposed investment advisory services.
* Research the competition. Make sure the local investment community is not threatened by your expansion plans. (Some clients will always need a full service broker to provide certain services.)
* Assess your skills. Evaluate the abilities of partners and existing professional staff to advise clients on their investments. If necessary, obtain additional training or hire appropriate new staff.
* Get outside help. A variety of resources are available to help you start an advisory practice. For example, the AICPA Center for Investment Advisory Services can provide information about alliances with National Regulatory Services, Securities Training Corp., Investment Management Consultants Association, Fidelity, Morningstar, Ibbotson and others through its Web site at www.cpa2biz.eom, or by calling 877-66-AICPA
* Find a business model. Review your proposed level of investment planning activity and decide whether you will offer investment advice on your own or affiliate with another registered investment adviser.
* Create a business plan. Develop a plan to help identify where you are going and how you will get there. It should cover your target market, the specific services you want to provide, your operating structure and an estimate of start-up costs. …