Sign up  |  Log in

Comp Question - Small RIA Firm

Up to this point, my career has been in commercial banking on the credit side (underwriting and monitoring business loans). I recently passed Level III and was introduced to the owner of a small RIA firm with about $200 aum. They currently have 3 advisors (including the owner) and are experiencing growth (the owner is also 60 and plans to start phasing out over the next 5-10 years). I’ve met with them a handful of times and expect they will be asking me to join later this week. 

Firm is located in Clearwater, FL.

I’m currently making a little over $80k a year, what’s a reasonable base to expect? 

I won’t expect the starting salary of your local RIA to be any significant more than your current income.  Also, do you have any idea what kind of role will you join them as?  That will play a major role on your income.  If they are asking you to join as a business developer (bring money in), you can expect $100k plus, however; if function as some kind of analyst (input trades, rebalanced), it could be less than what you make now.  But again, depends on your career path, and willingness to make a move from commercial banking to asset management.

Huh, it depends more on you than the job description. The amount will be different if you are a 25 year old vs a 35 year old, and it will depend on specific details of your background.

“Visit the Water Cooler forum on Analyst Forum. It is the best forum.”
- Everyone

BFostvedt wrote:

Up to this point, my career has been in commercial banking on the credit side (underwriting and monitoring business loans). I recently passed Level III and was introduced to the owner of a small RIA firm with about $200 aum. They currently have 3 advisors (including the owner) and are experiencing growth (the owner is also 60 and plans to start phasing out over the next 5-10 years). I’ve met with them a handful of times and expect they will be asking me to join later this week. 

Firm is located in Clearwater, FL.

I’m currently making a little over $80k a year, what’s a reasonable base to expect? 

Hey Bud, I am in St Pete. I have been looking for jobs for like 6 weeks now in the Tampa Bay area and they are honestly god awful (outside of RJ of course). 

In terms of AUM, that’s really low. Additionally, most industry compensation reports show a huge drop off in compensation for firms 250MM and under from the rest, sometimes 40 percent. Sweet spot is 5-10bil. A little over 80k in this area for an Analyst role 2-3 years of experience would be in like the 75th percentile for pay, ie very high. 

That being said, I doubt you will be offered much more, maybe a few grand at best over what you make now. But if you really want to make the switch, it could be a good starting point, especially considering how little RIA/Family Office type opportunities there are in this area right now. 

Thanks for the input everyone!

WS - I’ll eventually be client facing, going to give me some time to shadow and learn the ropes and they are going to pay for me to become a CFP. 

ohai - I’m currently 27

lprofit4sure - Yeah man we’ve been in contact sporadically over the years…. yeah it’s a very small shop… only reason I was able to get a meeting was through a connection. I’ve interviewed with RJ and if I made the move to equity at this point I’d start as an entry level research analyst since all my experience has been commercial banking… not something I want to do at this point in my career. 

I’ve also been in contract with a decent size bank to be a commercial banking PM, the pay would be great - around $120k base but I’m itching to get out of commercial banking and put the CFA to work.

Good to know that you will be “eventually” client facing, heck, even a junior analyst at a major bank can be sometimes client-facing.  I guess is that your initial salary won’t be much more than your current level, could be even less; I can almost smell the pitch from the RIA “come join us, you may take a little pay cut, but you are putting sweat equity, and in 3 years, our asset level will be $$$, and you cane be XYZ making $$$.”  I am not buying that.  Given the choice, I will go after the $120K commercial banking PM job for two reasons:  1) better income level, 2) nothing spells confidence when you can tell the other firm to f themselves knowing you don’t really need their job. 3). I assure you that you can make the switch from commercial baking PM to portfolio managers (asset management).  Many fund mangers I have met (especially in credit funds) have strong commercial banking background, well, I maybe suffer from sampling bias.

I wouldn’t expect your base to be much higher,  Investment management is going to be hyper cyclical so you would want to negotiate a large bonus structure into your package.  Ideally, it would be related to firm performance since you’ll be working client-facing and also have input in the investment process.  As far as numbers are concerned for total comp, hopefully you’ll find this helpful.

https://www.cfasociety.org/southflorida/SiteAssets/2016_CFA_Societies_Co...

Thanks for the info… also found a good study done by Charles Schwab - https://www.schwab.com/public/file/P-7487654

I have the meeting today so I’ll ley ya’ll know how it goes in case you find yourself in a similar situation down the road! 

That’s also pretty useful!  Thanks for sharing!

Schwab used CFA as a noun - standards of conduct violation!

“Visit the Water Cooler forum on Analyst Forum. It is the best forum.”
- Everyone

ohai wrote:

Schwab used CFA as a noun - standards of conduct violation!

But seriously, not a good look in a published document…

Someone dropped the ball at Schwab! Meeting went well last week, waiting for them to put something in writing. Will keep you guys updated.