July 29, 2019

Independent vs Captive Agents/Representative-Which is right for you?

In today’s financial planning world there are so many choices on who to work with to build your retirement plan. Some of the questions you may be asking yourself are:

  • Do I work with a big name company?
  • Do I work with the local financial planner down the street?
  • Do I call the guy advertising on the local radio station?
  • Who is going to give me the best plan?
  • What are they able to offer me?

While these questions are swirling around in your head; there is a distinct separation that can help you answer them. Let’s address the most glaring difference-A Captive Agent/Representative versus an Independent Agent/Representative. There are pros and cons to each, and those are something that you should focus on when looking for the Financial Advisor that is going to help you be the most successful in retirement. First I want to state what they both have in common.

  • Both Captive and Independent agents/representatives can be Fiduciaries.
  • Both can procure designations that can give them more training/knowledge.
  • Both have oversight on what they offer and compliance standards.

Captive Agent/Representative

  • Typically your Captive agents/representatives are going to be with a large well known company
  • Usually these are your wire houses such as Morgan Stanly, Charles Schwab, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, LPL Financial, or Fidelity to name a few.
  • They can also be large insurance companies as well like-John Hancock, Nationwide, Pacific Life, and State Farm for example.
  • They have useful, customer friendly websites with tools, gadgets, apps.
  • All in one agent/firm/broker dealer.


  • Captive agents/representatives are restricted to ONLY the investment options approved by their firm.
  • Captive agents/representatives are incentivized to sell specific investments by their firm.
  • Captive agents/representatives are not allowed to utilize any investment that isn’t pre-approved by their firm.
  • Captive agents (insurance) only have access to the insurance products that their company has available.
  • Captive Agents are typically only Insurance licensed-Only able to offer you insurance products.
  • Captive representatives often utilize their companies own proprietary funds-If you have a Fidelity account, most likely you are holding Fidelity funds in that account.
  • Captive Representatives are typically only Securities licensed-Only able to offer you market driven investment options i.e. Mutual Funds, Stocks, Bonds, and ETF’s.

Independent Agent/Representative

  • Independent agents/representatives aren’t tied to any one company.
  • Independent Registered Representatives can be licensed for both Securities and Insurance-this allows them to offer you a blend of market driven investments and insurance products to diversify your portfolio.
  • Independent agents are licensed with multiple insurance carriers to be able to find the best product available.
  • Independent representatives have the option to use any fund family or security that is suitable for the investor.
  • There are no extra incentives/promotions for utilizing one investment over another.


  • Independent agents/representatives are typically smaller firms with possibly less capital.
  • Independent agents/representatives will have an outside Broker Dealer that is in charge of suitability and compliance-not an all in one set up.
  • Independent agents/representatives may not have the tools, gadgets, apps that Captive agents/representatives do.

When deciding on your retirement it is important to first and foremost use someone that you trust, that has shown the aptitude for putting together a comprehensive retirement plan, and you feel gives you the best possible chance to be successful-retirement is one of those decisions that you typically only do once (or at least only want to do once).

Come back next week to see how C. Curtis builds your Retirement Blueprint with our 3 Step Review Process!

Securities offered through Kalos Capital, Inc. and Investment Advisory Services offered through Kalos Management, Inc., both at 11525 Park Woods Circle, Alpharetta, GA 30005, (678) 356-1100. C. Curtis Financial Group is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Kalos Capital, Inc. or Kalos Management, Inc.