You typically need to register when you are going to be marketing a great deal and holding yourself out to the general public.
You can hold off from registration and take advantage of what are called “de minimus” exemptions and avoid paying the fees and doing all the paperwork until you have a certain number of clients over any 12-month period of time.
On the RIA side, you can register by state or with the SEC. There are asset levels that would mandate your registering with the SEC regardless of the number of clients.
One thing I’d like to stress is that most potential clients are not going to understand anything about registration.
Two, being registered will not make raising assets any easier. Clients are not going to show up just because you are registered. I think many new traders go and register because it will give them a sense of security or clout.
IMHO, it doesn’t do that. All it does do is create busy work for you so that you can avoid the rejection you get from having to ask people for money. I’d save the registration fees in that regard, find some clients, and then go register using some of the management fees you’ve earned. You can get sidetracked very quickly trying to look like a trader, but it’s a facade. If you want to be a pro, trade and gather assets. Money from management and incentive fees solve many problems.
If you have a trading grubstake, and enough money to pay your expenses at the beginning of your career, spend the time and money raising assets. Everything else is a distraction from what will get you to where you want to be.
Getting assets to manage is the key to your success and growth. Focus on that process. Your track record will come over time. If you want to grow your business, double your asset base.
For example, if you’re running $1,000,000 right now and you want to grow, go get 4 new clients at $250,000 each. That’s the fastest way to double your asset base and increase your fees. If you achieve 12% RoR, it will take you more than 6 years via internal growth because your fees would come out of the account. You can get 4 new clients in a few months or less.
Save your money and don’t buy stuff you don’t need like computer monitors, rent on a fancy office, or registration fees. You can’t buy your way into success – you have to trade up to it and gather net new assets.
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