I’ve decided to leave my broker-dealer and start my own investment advisory company. I’m not ready to let my firm know, as I’ve heard it can take several months to get approved and I’m pretty sure they’ll terminate me once I tell them. However, I’m worried that, if I don’t tell them, they will mark up my U5 by saying I failed to advise them that I was engaging in an outside business activity. Can I begin to register as an RIA without letting my firm know?

Note that there are several caveats to what I’m about to say. First, this is just my opinion. Second, I’m basing my comments on a FINRA interpretive letter that only addressed registered reps starting their own broker-dealer, not their own investment advisory firm. And third, this does not address whether your current employer may have its own internal policies and procedures that you could still be deemed to be violating.

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