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It’s Not Easy – Launching an Investment Adviser

United Atlantic Legal Services

Did you know that in 2020 United States SEC-registered investment advisers manage over $100 trillion in assets? What is a trillion dollars? Well, it’s a million million. It’s a thousand billion. It’s one followed by 12 zeros. Now multiply that by 100. For comparison, the United States gross domestic product was $23 trillion in 2021. These assets were managed by only 13,880. 

Why isn’t everyone doing this? Because: it’s not easy. Click the video below for more information on the process.

Before we begin, I want to share a quote attributed to Teddy Roosevelt that I have always found inspiring:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Starting with the Why – Building your dream business

The investment adviser industry is fast-growing, interesting and, most importantly, has a meaningful impact on individuals who have often spent their entire careers working to save and grow their assets. Now they need guidance, they need you to help them navigate the often confusing and constantly changing investment world. Help them. Use your skills, knowledge, and experience to help others, and, of course, get rewarded for doing it. In Start With Why, Simon Sinek dives into the “clarity of why”, where he writes:

It all starts with clarity. You have to know WHY you do WHAT you do. If people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it, so it follows that if you don’t know WHY you do WHAT you do, how will anyone else?

We often enter discussions with financial services professionals who believe they want to start an investment adviser firm but have no real idea why they want to do it. We also see these firms struggle, and even sometimes fail. If you need help finding your why, consider reading Simon Sinek’s follow-up work: Find Your Why

Planning and Processes – Breaking down big goals into action steps

In our blog, 5 Steps to Registering as an Investment Adviser in the United States we outlined the investment adviser registration process. While it is not easy, it can happen, and you can do it. When we work with clients who are new to the investment adviser registration process, we spend a significant amount of time coaching on what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and why it needs to happen. Often our clients come to us with just a rough idea of what type of investment adviser they want to create, and we work to flesh out the details.

  • What types of clients do you want to service? Don’t try to be all things to all people.
  • What types of services do you want to offer? Be an expert, don’t try to know everything.
  • How do you want to attract clients? Strict new marketing rules, understand them.
  • How many employees do you want? More is not always more, think about processes.

These are just a few of the considerations we ask our clients who might now know where to start to be considering early in their investment adviser creation process. Consider forcing yourself to write out a well-developed business plan and write down how that business plan gets you to reaching your very specific goals. If you are open to discussing your goals with us, we are always happy to talk you through how we have seen other firms meet (and exceed) similar goals.

Doing a Hard Thing – Why it is important to struggle

Of course, none of this is easy. There are hurdles and barriers that need to be overcome. Consider, however, that if it was easy, then everyone would do. It’s not, starting an investment adviser firm is not easy, and that is a good thing. You may be responsible for the wellbeing of your client’s entire life savings; this is not a responsibility for everyone.

In his book, Do Hard Things, Steve Magness says that “true confidence is founded in doing the work”. We often run into individuals who say they want this, but who are unwilling to put in the work. When the time comes to step up and move things forward these people fade fast. We want to work with those investment advisers who want to build their confidence through the work. 

In 2022, we worked with a team of investment professionals that had made the difficult decision to step out of their well-established positions at large banking institutions to create an investment adviser firm they believed would be beneficial to their clients. The problem was that these individuals, while extremely intelligent and highly accomplished, were stepping into a world they simply did not fully understand. There is a massive difference between working within the confines of a bank-backed wealth management firm with billions of dollars under management, nearly unlimited support resources, and a brand recognized internationally to a firm that has zero assets under management, a limited support budget, and no brand recognition. In addition, this team had to learn how to manage a small business, something none of them had experience with.

Of course, we could support them through the registration process, of course we could provide guidance through specific legal and compliance matters, of course we could help them understand their legal and compliance responsibilities. We could not, however, make them want to do the work. Fortunately, this team is ambitious, focused, and accountable to each other. They will almost certainly succeed if they continue to put in the work and we have seen their confidence grow as a result.

Before moving on, I want to leave you with a quote from Angela Duckworth’s impactful book Grit:

To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven time, and rise eight.

Why does United Atlantic Legal Services exist?

United Atlantic Legal Services was created to provide investment advisers with efficient, transparent, and highly tailored solutions. We saw a gap in the legal industry where new investment adviser firms were not being given the support of that they needed. Either they were being provided cookie-cutter registration process that left them vulnerable and unprepared for regulatory examination or they were faced with dealing with becoming a faceless commodity to an extremely expensive large law firm. United Atlantic Legal Services as created its Adviser Launch Process to solve these problems investment advisers face.

  • When I say that we are efficient, I mean that we have processes in place that are designed to capture relevant information about your investment adviser firm upfront, so we are not repeating conversations and continually returning to you to get more information.
  • When I say that we are transparent, I mean that you understand your costs upfront (flat fee billing, not hourly) and that we are in ongoing communication with you about where you are in the registration process.
  • When I say that we provide tailored solutions, I mean that we understand that no two investment adviser firms are the same and building your firm, your way, from its foundation up is always our priority.

What’s Next – We are ready when you are ready

You’ve committed yourself to chasing down your investment adviser goals. You’re willing to put in the time and the effort – you’re willing to do a hard thing. Now what?

United Atlantic Legal Services can help you with next steps. We look at where you are, where you want to go and help you create that plan to succeed.

  • Draft your dream. Create your business plan, understand what you want to look like in five years.
  • Lean more. Start with our simple overview of the investment adviser registration process by reviewing: 5 Steps to Registering as an Investment Adviser.
  • Connect with us. We are always looking to connect with professionals who share our passion for the investment adviser space. Book a free consultation with us today to discuss our Adviser Launch Process.

You don’t need to know everything, we can help, just get started today.

United Atlantic Legal Services is boutique law firm focused on providing exceptional services to its investment adviser and private fund manager clients. We are dedicated to maintaining an efficient, transparent practice that is focused providing tailored solutions after getting to know the details of every client’s business. We have assisted entrepreneurs, established breakaway advisors and private fund managers in launching their own investment adviser firms and making their dreams come true. Please contact us by visiting our website at

When working with you through the entire Adviser Launch Process, we have three goals mind:

  • Efficiency. We understand that our efficiencies are beneficial to both our investment adviser clients and United Atlantic Legal Services. The more we understand about your business early, the more efficient we will be throughout the registration process.
  • Transparency. Ensuing that you understand where you are at in the investment adviser registration process at all times is a constant priority for United Atlantic Legal Services. We clearly explain the process, help identify potential roadblocks and work closely with you to ensure that filings are made correctly and timely. Communication is key.
  • Tailored Solutions. Each investment adviser is different, and we work to ensure that your business is accurately reflected throughout the registration process. We do not provide cookie-cutter registration services, United Atlantic Legal Services provides a holistic, highly tailored registration program designed to meet your business needs.

You can learn more about how our Adviser Launch Process can help you by visiting our website at United Atlantic Legal Services looks forward to working with you to ensure that your registration process is as efficient and transparent as possible.

Michael Rasmussen

About Our Founder

Michael Rasmussen is the founder of United Atlantic Legal Services. He is a licensed attorney in Florida and registered solicitor in the United Kingdom. Michael has acted as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer to several investment advisers, including private fund managers, responsible for the management of billions of dollars in client assets. 

Michael is also the founder of FinProLaw, an online learning platform where Michael has created several courses designed for investment adviser compliance professionals. These courses include: 

  • Investment Adviser Compliance Essential for Chief Compliance Officers 
  • Foundations of Investment Adviser Compliance 
  • What is a “Security”? 
  • Investment Adviser Marketing Rule 
  • Regulation A – Exemption from Registration 
  • Regulation Crowdfunding – Exemption from Registration 
  • Regulation D – Exemption from Registration 

Investment adviser firms who are also clients of United Atlantic Legal Services can receive many of these courses at a significantly reduced fee or, in some cases, at no expense. Contact us today or visit the FinProLaw website to learn more.