Question: I recently went independent and intend to operate my business as an LLC. We setting up the relationship with my BD, they insist that all the paperwork will be in my name and not the LLC. Is this normal? How do I protect myself from liability?
Answer: The reason the BD insists on having the registration and agreements with you rather than your LLC is simple – securities regulations require it. Firms are not permitted to pay compensation to unregistered persons or entities. Your LLC is not registered, YOU are registered, and therefore the paperwork is with you, not the LLC.
As to liability, first, an LLC will not protect you from liability to your clients should they sue you for negligence or fraud. That is what insurance is for, and a corporate entity does not provide protection from your own wrongful conduct. You can insulate yourself from other liabilities, such as rent, premises liability, vendor suits and all non-work related hazards by using the LLC. Set up the LLC as you would for any other business, and pay the LLC a fee for rent, phones, etc. from the check that you receive from the BD.
All of the legal caveats apply, this is not legal advice. If you need assistance with this give us a call.