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Case Study: Seeking a Successful Transition: Affiance Financial LLC

Meet Affiance Financial, LLC

Based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Affiance Financial has been helping clients reach their financial goals for nearly twenty years. While established as a registered investment advisor (RIA) for many years, Affiance Financial hasn’t fully taken advantage of its RIA designation, continuing to run some of its advisory business through their broker-dealer. Hear from Steven Lear and Andrew Fishman to learn more about Affiance Financial and their move to true independence.


Quick facts:

Headquartered: Minneapolis, MN

Total firm assets at time of transition: $500 Million

In the business for 17 years with an independent broker/dealer

Long established as a registered investment advisor (RIA)

Selected TD Ameritrade Institutional as custodian in 2013

Why Did Affiance Financial Make a Change?

After growing to $500M in total firm assets and 18 employees, Affiance Financial needed more flexibility to serve the increasingly sophisticated needs of its clients. Essentially, Affiance Financial outgrew their broker-dealer’s custody services and they needed an adaptable, comprehensive solution to provide more flexibility while giving their advisors more freedom on behalf of their clients’ investment needs.

" We got to the point where we weren’t using a lot of the broker-dealer’s tools… You’re talking about multiple hundreds of million under management; it just wasn’t the right fit anymore."
Andrew Fishman,
Principal & Financial Planner, Affiance Financial

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Due Diligence: Choosing TD Ameritrade Institutional

Changing existing operational procedures and enhancing their fee-based business was not an easy decision for Affiance Financial to make. For over a year, they worked with an outside consultant and reviewed a number of service providers. They compared everything from the range of investment product offerings and fee structures to training and ease of technology – both administrative and client facing – as well as the availability of ongoing strategic guidance.

" We had access to senior executive management [at TD Ameritrade Institutional] – they heard our concerns, our questions."
Andrew Fishman,
Principal & Financial Planner, Affiance Financial

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Business Transition Services and the Customized Transition Experience

After careful analysis, Affiance Financial chose to move its fee-based business to TD Ameritrade Institutional, primarily because of the level of customized service offered by the TD Ameritrade Institutional Business Transition Services (BTS) team.

Learn how the Business Transition Services team can provide you with a seamless experience during this important move toward independence.

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Customized Training Program

The Business Transition Services team worked with Affiance Financial to develop a customized training program and spent time on-site* at their offices during important stages of the process. The visits included personalized training for Affiance Financial associates as well as educational sessions to help clients get comfortable with the new client portal,

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Simplified Technology

Improved economics, more investment choices, and a simplified integrated technology platform were just some of the benefits Affiance Financial experienced as a result of their transition. Veo®, the TD Ameritrade account management and trading platform for independent advisors, was flexible enough to integrate with the firm's existing customer relationship management (CRM) software and other operational programs through the platform's open access capabilities. This helped Affiance Financial and their advisors:

Become more efficient and save time

Easily manage client accounts and process fund withdrawls

Eliminate much of the paperwork and other inefficencies

Clients of Affiance Financial also found easy to navigate—all of their accounts were available with just a few simple clicks. Affiance Financial clients had access to:

Account balances, positions, and history for all of their advisor-managed accounts

Easy-to-view and search-friendly statements, confirmations, and tax forms

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) that could easily be opened in the same day, with minimal paperwork

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Ongoing Strategic Guidance

Among the greatest benefits of the custodial relationship with TD Ameritrade Institutional was the availability of ongoing strategic guidance that can help Affiance Financial continue to grow their business. For no additional fees, they can now access a wealth of business management resources through TD Ameritrade’s practice management offering, ranging from individual consulting to tools such as white papers, guidebooks, and webcasts.

The leadership at Affiance Financial has easy access to hands-on information pertinent to growing their business. Affiance Financial had everything from how to systematize processes, better service their clients, manage time and build high-performing teams, including sourcing, interviewing and onboarding, to providing the appropriate levels of compensation and incentives for key staff.

" It’s a lot easier with TD Ameritrade, a lot more flexible…there are minimal custodial fees, a lot more investment options. We’re able to potentially generate more revenue."
Seth Meisler
Principal & Chief Investment Officer, Affiance Financial

There are many benefits to the relationship between Affiance Financial and TD Ameritrade Institutional. Affiance Financial gained efficiencies from improved operations, allowing them to streamline their business, to spending more time with their clients and boosting their bottom line. Going forward, Affiance Financial can rely on the customized consulting services and educational resources offered by TD Ameritrade Institutional, so that they can continue to be competitive and remain a leader in this field.

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* Firm asset restrictions and certain service restrictions may apply, please contact TD Ameritrade Institutional for more details.