Naming firm...?

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gettingstarted's picture
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I'm in the process of naming my new independent firm.  What are some creative names you've seen that depict what we do -- my practice leans a little more toward the insurance, guaranteed investment planning (fyi).I've read several articles about this - some say use your name, some say no...What say you?

loneMADman's picture
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Joined: 2010-05-10

Creative names for where you're leaning?  Well, you don't want to put your name on it.  So try...BIT LLC (Bad Investment Timing)Money for NothingBe Greedy when Others Are Fearful (Tag Line:  Your fearful and I'm Greedy)Just having some fun.  But seriously, you're leaning where the market has already gone.  Get ready for a decade or three of underwhelming investment results with this strategy, if you care about such things.  But YOUR income could be good in the next year or two.I mean, why bother to start something so pedestrian?  What people really need is someone who can help them navigate the markets and have some hope of realizing their financial goals  And after the past decade for 90% of people, that means better than decent investment growth, not an expensive mattress strategy.  And with valuations what they are, you have no excuse for not delivering.

jackofalltrades's picture
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loneMADman wrote:Creative names for where you're leaning?  Well, you don't want to put your name on it.  So try...BIT LLC (Bad Investment Timing)Money for NothingBe Greedy when Others Are Fearful (Tag Line:  Your fearful and I'm Greedy)Just having some fun.  But seriously, you're leaning where the market has already gone.  Get ready for a decade or three of underwhelming investment results with this strategy, if you care about such things.  But YOUR income could be good in the next year or two.I mean, why bother to start something so pedestrian?  What people really need is someone who can help them navigate the markets and have some hope of realizing their financial goals  And after the past decade for 90% of people, that means better than decent investment growth, not an expensive mattress strategy.  And with valuations what they are, you have no excuse for not delivering. WTF are you talking about...? Pedestrian,...? maybe I am missing the sarcasm, if so I apologize.

Indyone's picture
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The more I'm around it, the less I like using your name in the firm.  Unless you are Warren Buffet or Peter Lunch, leave your name out of it.

gettingstarted's picture
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jackofalltrades wrote:loneMADman wrote:Creative names for where you're leaning?  Well, you don't want to put your name on it.  So try...BIT LLC (Bad Investment Timing)Money for NothingBe Greedy when Others Are Fearful (Tag Line:  Your fearful and I'm Greedy)Just having some fun.  But seriously, you're leaning where the market has already gone.  Get ready for a decade or three of underwhelming investment results with this strategy, if you care about such things.  But YOUR income could be good in the next year or two.I mean, why bother to start something so pedestrian?  What people really need is someone who can help them navigate the markets and have some hope of realizing their financial goals  And after the past decade for 90% of people, that means better than decent investment growth, not an expensive mattress strategy.  And with valuations what they are, you have no excuse for not delivering. WTF are you talking about...? Pedestrian,...? maybe I am missing the sarcasm, if so I apologize. I haven't a clue what the heck he's talking about either...

gettingstarted's picture
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Indyone wrote:The more I'm around it, the less I like using your name in the firm.  Unless you are Warren Buffet or Peter Lunch, leave your name out of it.I'm with you - part of me says use it, part of me says no way.  I've brainstormed all the usual suspects...Peak - Summit - Secure - etc, etc,,, all the words that describe....

BigFirepower's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-09

Our town's name, that is what we used. Doesn't get better than that.... I'm sure the Ed Jones guy loved that, and especially when we took the space directly across the street from him, his old office to boot. Actually, he's a great guy, and seems to care less. And hey, it worked for NY Life... If you have your name on the firm, it does come across a wee bit pompous, or "mom and pop".  Also, if you sell your firm, then what? I worked with a logo design company, they didn't help with the name, but they sure as heck know design work for logos. Very impressed, it was only $100. We then took the logo to a sign company for window work, then to the printer for stationary. This step was referred to me, and boy did that make a difference in professionalism.

gettingstarted's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-25

BigFirepower wrote:Our town's name, that is what we used. Doesn't get better than that.... I'm sure the Ed Jones guy loved that, and especially when we took the space directly across the street from him, his old office to boot. Actually, he's a great guy, and seems to care less. And hey, it worked for NY Life... If you have your name on the firm, it does come across a wee bit pompous, or "mom and pop".  Also, if you sell your firm, then what? I worked with a logo design company, they didn't help with the name, but they sure as heck know design work for logos. Very impressed, it was only $100. We then took the logo to a sign company for window work, then to the printer for stationary. This step was referred to me, and boy did that make a difference in professionalism. Is the designer local or web based - if not just local, pm me their info.  Nice idea on the town idea.  I work several towns in an area or region so I'm looking that way now... 

spamfilter's picture
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Joined: 2010-05-22

Let your name say:Who you are & what you do.You don't see too many fancy names in the practice of law or taxation.  You are not trying to build a worldwide brand but one that has resonance in your town. 

loneMADman's picture
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Hey, I took the town's (also country's) name too, "AXXXXXX Advisors".  It's a classy name, without being pretentious.As for the previous comments, I wasn't trying to be cryptic.  I guess the term pedestrian isn't used much anymore.  It means common, as in everyone is doing it.

ThirdJoker's picture
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I am still a fan of "JT Marlin" myself....

jackofalltrades's picture
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spamfilter wrote:Let your name say:Who you are & what you do.You don't see too many fancy names in the practice of law or taxation.  You are not trying to build a worldwide brand but one that has resonance in your town.  Oh, I am building a worldwide brand one account at a time...

jackofalltrades's picture
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Joined: 2009-05-20

 Donkey Punch Securities  We'll knock the crap outta your returns...

gettingstarted's picture
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loneMADman wrote:Hey, I took the town's (also country's) name too, "AXXXXXX Advisors".  It's a classy name, without being pretentious.As for the previous comments, I wasn't trying to be cryptic.  I guess the term pedestrian isn't used much anymore.  It means common, as in everyone is doing it.Do you mean "county" or "country" ?

loneMADman's picture
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Hah!  If it was country then I would be America Advisors.  No, I meant county.

loneMADman's picture
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Hah!  If it was country then I would be America Advisors.  No, I meant county.

tenthtee's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

As Indie affiliate, I use my name, ___ ____, CFP, Certified Financial Planner Practitioner. 

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

In response to the not-using-your-name idea...I think it can work if it's a partnership and you already have an established book of business.  Look at CPA and law firms.  Nearly all of them have partner names.  If you are serving HNW and UHNW, having a law-firm-sounding name isn't bad.  It sort of sounds "exclusive".  However, I agree that "Bob Smith Financial" or "Peterson Financial Group" is pretty lame.  Just like "Bob Smith, Attorney at Law" sounds lame as well.  But you have something like "Peterson, Smith, Palmer and Edwards, LP" sounds a bit better, especially if they are well known (or WERE well known when alive).  It's a subtle distinction, but important.

Spaceman Spiff's picture
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I think you should name your company something that starts with A so that when people need a good financial planner and pick up the yellow pages, your name is first on the list.  And if you could name it something like Aardvark Investments that would be ahead of all of the Ameriprise brokers. 

tenthtee's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

Branding is a good thing. The best way to put your own name first, and back it up with a second brand. _____ _____, CFP, Edward Jones. " I offer funds and insurance from companies x, y z ". Very strong value proposition. The public is becoming more confused and leery and is looking for solutions, not alternatives to known brands. If you affiliate with brands, it will bring you more business and make your business stickier. That may cost you money, but you have to consider stickiness. Also, you can get paid on smaller accounts if you are more of a generalist and affiliated with brands, versus the scale and snob factor of botiques. Even botiques are using brands like Vanguard ETFs. Small branded shops can use Vanguard ETFs combined with major insurance brands and compete a little with the snoot factor. The brand that clients care most about and transcends the noise is your name, followed by your professional credentials. When you are gone, nobody is going to remember " Oak Tree Financial" - your firm will likely be absorbed by a different firm, especially if you are a small independent or a small RIA. This is a great topic, when you get it right, you can drive business to you instead of chasing it, big difference when you are talking about selling ideas, dreams and trust instead of upscale stereos. Many advisors would be better off getting their CFP, CFA or CLU and pushing the brand called you instead of taking the industry bait and becoming obscessed with switching b/ds or forming small RIAs.

Moraen's picture
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Joined: 2009-01-22

It's funny.  I get more people who come in who say they are fed up with <insert Wire/Bank/Regional name> and how they don't trust the big firms than I get from any other type of source.  They never feel like they are getting the whole story.When you hand someone your ADV II and give them the map to look up part 1 and actually go through the important parts that have the potential to derail a sale (which who does that any of the big boys?) the clients really appreciate that.  When you can say, "I have zero conflicts.  I own my own firm, so I am beholden to no one but my clients", that resonates.If you build your own brand, it ends up being better.  Also, remember that those brands had to be built by someone.  And what makes those people better than you?  I think that is the crux.  Why should other people be able to build a firm, and I shouldn't? 

tenthtee's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

Easy sale, huh? The brand is you.

spamfilter's picture
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tenthtee wrote:Branding is a good thing. The best way to put your own name first, and back it up with a second brand. As long as you work for someone you CANNOT build your own brand.  Even your clients will refer to you as "my Edward Jones guy"._____ _____, CFP, Edward Jones. " I offer funds and insurance from companies x, y z ". Very strong value proposition. WTF??  Explain a scenario where you could use that as your "value proposition".   The public is becoming more confused and leery and is looking for solutions, not alternatives to known brands. If you affiliate with brands, it will bring you more business and make your business stickier. That may cost you money, but you have to consider stickiness. Also, you can get paid on smaller accounts if you are more of a generalist and affiliated with brands, versus the scale and snob factor of botiques. Even botiques are using brands like Vanguard ETFs. Small branded shops can use Vanguard ETFs combined with major insurance brands and compete a little with the snoot factor. The brand that clients care most about and transcends the noise is your name, followed by your professional credentials. When you are gone, nobody is going to remember " Oak Tree Financial" - your firm will likely be absorbed by a different firm, especially if you are a small independent or a small RIA. But when I am gone they will remember Edward Jones?  How does that help me?  I want to build a brand, not a legacy.This is a great topic, when you get it right, you can drive business to you instead of chasing it, big difference when you are talking about selling ideas, dreams and trust instead of upscale stereos. Many advisors would be better off getting their CFP, CFA or CLU and pushing the brand called you instead of taking the industry bait and becoming obscessed with switching b/ds or forming small RIAs.  Those initials are pretty small when they are printed next to the massive logo and tagline of your b/d. 

tenthtee's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

Allright, Spam, I stand corrected. You hurt my feelings. I was going to work more on branding this afternnoon, now you motivated me to do a couple of disability insurance proposals to showing during my ETF wrap account reviews. Do you think those clients will be talking to their friends about ten's DI proposals or the class action suit against a b/d or small RIA firm that commingled client funds to invest in real estate a couple years back. Ask me if I care.

tenthtee's picture
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WTF??  Explain a scenario where you could use that as your "value proposition".   On the golf course last week.  "What do you do? ""I'm a CFP, I help my client with investments, insurance, retirement planning. I have my own office."" We could use a  CFP, give me your card. " "Are you in the club directory, I'll send you a link. " Cool. End of discussion. Casual invite for lunch near his office, sent.  I don't agree that clients think of the b/d first. Some b/d are more famous than others, but all things being equal: 1. Being thought of as a CFP in a small office (like a CPA) is a good thing. 2. Being backed by a national corporation with name recognition is a a good thing. 3. Being affiliated continuously with that brand over long period of time is a good thing. By good thing, I mean meeting all of your personal goals.  I'm talking about (my) solo shop. How many planners here think of themselves as being small generalists? Everything that I am describing to you on these thread is how to maximize your income, minimize your taxes and do the best thing as a solo shop. And it's obvious that I need some new ideas, but I think you can waste a lot of time and money on the "change" industry.

gettingstarted's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-25

Good discussion ---I'm going back and forth as I read this -- one second I'm "I'm using my name or initials" the next "I'm not using my name, I'm using something cool like blah blah financial..."Keep going...

JumpMan's picture
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Does FINRA disallow advisors from using "retirement" in their business names?

spamfilter's picture
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tenthtee wrote:I don't agree that clients think of the b/d first. Some b/d are more famous than others, but all things being equal: 1. Being thought of as a CFP in a small office (like a CPA) is a good thing. 2. Being backed by a national corporation with name recognition is a a good thing. 3. Being affiliated continuously with that brand over long period of time is a good thing. Look at the taxation advice industry.  The most recognizable name is probably H&R Block.  There aren't too many CPAs who have built their "brand" because they are backed by H&R Block.  My point is not to draw comparisons between H&R Block and Jones or any other large brokerages.  It is simply that you will ultimately build the brand of your employer first and then your own.

tenthtee's picture
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" When you are gone, nobody is going to remember " Oak Tree Financial" - your firm will likely be absorbed by a different firm, especially if you are a small independent or a small RIA. But when I am gone they will remember Edward Jones?  How does that help me?  I want to build a brand, not a legacy. It is simply that you will ultimately build the brand of your employer first and then your own. " I think you are confusing brand and legacy. What is the purpose of the brand? To make money?Team players work for synergy. One plus one is five. Competitive bike racers draft behind each other. Do you see how a lack of fiduciary standard across the biz lessens aggregate demand for the labor (not product) of financial advisors?When you sell, you first build a trust relationship, and cover anticipated (intellectual) objections, so you can let the buyer choose emotionally. The risk/reward opportunity of shortening and improving the selling process, for some advisors, outweighs the benefits of building a legacy. What blows me away is how virtuous some RIAs or independents become about their own process, which they view from the perspective of their own remote real estate. Again, as a small independent, ____ _____, CFP, ___________(recognizable b/d name) , is the least confusing message for clients and their friends who want service.

Independent's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-15

Begin with the end in mind.  At some point, you will want to retire or bring in a partner.  Would a partner rather work for John Smith Financial or (pick your target market or target area) + Wealth Management?  At some point when you go to sell your business, what one will be worth more to a buyer?  The Edward Jones poster might think 1+1=5, and he may be right, but it's Jones 5 not his, because they will keep two thirds of the pie during his career and not pay him anywhere near the two to three times annual revenue you might receive when you sell your book.  Sometimes, having the right business name can also make you look bigger than reality.  While it is the individual that develops the relationship and opens the account, sometimes it is the brand and marketing that gets you in the door.   Another way to get your logos done once you pick a name is to put them up for bid on www.elance.com   You will get quotes and sample portfolios from designers throughout the world that will work within the budget you establish even if it is only $100.

N.D.'s picture
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Joined: 2009-07-14

I agree completely with Independent, portability is the key to anything of value. If it cannot be ported it will not be of equal value. Start it, Build it, Monetize it, Sell it, Repeat - that is how wealth is being built these days

gettingstarted's picture
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What you guys think about Synergy __________ ___________  -  Also like Blue Chip ___________

N.D.'s picture
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Synergy may be to inclusive or exclusive being that it is close to "energy"Blue Chip Partners? I guess. I prefer the BlackRock, BlackStone, Cornerstone, Redwood type names. Something that makes you think strength and longevity

tenthtee's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

Give me a break. People don't give a crap about the difference between Synergy or Blue Chip when they are handig over their money. Not in times when you have " Is Stock Picking Dead?" articles on the front page of the WSJ. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704190704575489743387052652.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLETopStories

gettingstarted's picture
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True TenthTee -Synergy means 2 or more things working together to create an effect greater than the sum of their individuals sums...  I do a lot of planning, with insurance solutions mixed with investments, but risk management first to work together so it fits with us...

tenthtee's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-16

I'm sure believing and making something happen is the key. I tend to be annoyed with the times, with the past decade in general. :). Sorry.

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

Honestly, I research a lot of indy and RIA firms.  Some of the most successful firms have some of the goofiest names.  And some of them are REALLY simple.If you have an established client base, you could call yourself Goofball Investments, and it won't matter.  If you are starting from scratch and have no referral base, then MAYBE the name has some importance.

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