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What is an RIA?

A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is a professional advisory firm held to the highest fiduciary standards in the industry.  

  • Many independent RIAs work with complex portfolios requiring highly customized investment management, strategy, and consultation.
  • Many independent RIAs are owned by the individual advisors who run them.
  • Many independent RIAs provide advice and services for a fee based on a percentage of their client's assets.
  • RIA firms have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of their clients.

5 key benefits of independent RIAs

  • Tailored advice based on your goals. Many RIAs believe that their independence is key to offering advice that's based on what’s best for you.
  • You know what you're paying for. Typically, fees are based on a percentage of assets managed.
  • Advice for your complex needs. A rich diversity of specialization among RIAs means you can likely find the type of advice you need.
  • A different kind of relationship. RIAs typically form close relationships with their clients and have a strong sense of accountability.
  • You know where your money's held. RIAs typically use independent custodians—such as large brokerage firms—to hold clients' assets and provide related services.

Tips for choosing an advisor

  • Get referrals—from friends, your accountant, your attorney, or from a list of RIAs in your area.
  • Do a preliminary screening—by checking advisor credentials online with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • Know your objectives—to help you select an advisor who is in tune with your ultimate goals and personal preferences.
  • Make a list of questions—to ask each advisor you interview, and use it consistently so you can make a good comparison.
  • Listen to your feelings—and choose an advisor you like, trust, and feel comfortable with.

Experience a different kind of relationship

If you've reached the point where you want personal, highly customized financial guidance based on your goals, it may be time to speak with Arlington Capital Management.


Brochures Minimize
  • The brochure includes three hypothetical scenarios that show how an independent RIA might work with an investor.

  • The booklet includes questions for investors to consider when searching for a financial advisor.

  • The brochure provides a definition of an RIA and the five key benefits of working with one.

Articles and Reprints Minimize
  • Worth magazine—Is it time for a different kind of financial advisor?

    Download PDF
  • Thinking About Hiring an RIA? 10 Things You Should Know

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