Pat and Robert are partners in a local CPA firm. For the past 15 years they have been offering tax planning services, but due to increased competition they are now looking for ways to expand their current suite of services to their clients. Because those clients often need personal financial planning services, the firm has been approached by insurance companies, broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, and trust companies looking for personal financial planning referrals. Each has offered some type of fee-sharing arrangement in exchange for the referrals.


Pat and Robert are considering these opportunities, but they are more interested in offering personal financial planning services themselves. The two have been doing a bit of research into the field of personal financial planning; so far all of their research has turned up more questions for them than answers. What business model should they use? How should they be compensated for providing personal financial services? Should they remain a fee-for-service firm, or should they be compensated for assets under management? What does the regulatory landscape look like, and what additional requirements are mandated by the existing regulations? It seems the more they think about it, the more confusing the process becomes.


Worried that the learning curve for providing ...

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