Selling Away: What Is It and How It Works?

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, financial opportunities abound. One such avenue, which has gained significant attention, is “Selling Away.” But what exactly is selling away, and how does it work? In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricate details of this financial practice. So, fasten your seatbelts as we explore the world of selling away, uncovering its nuances, potential benefits, and risks.

Selling Away: What Is It and How It Works

Understanding the Basics

What Is Selling Away?

Picture this situation: You’ve got a reliable financial advisor by your side. But here’s the kicker – did you know that sometimes, they might offer you investment opportunities that don’t exactly match up with their company’s policies? This practice, commonly known as ‘selling away,’ occurs when your advisor strays from the rules and guidelines set forth by their brokerage firm. In simpler terms, it’s when they opt for investment choices that haven’t received the green light from their employer.

How Does It Work?

When a financial advisor spots an investment opportunity not offered by their brokerage firm, they kickstart the selling-away process. These opportunities can take many forms, such as investing in a private company, a hedge fund, or even unique assets. Instead of introducing these investment options through their company, financial advisors might choose to directly present them to their clients. This approach allows for more tailored and hands-on investment choices, fostering a closer advisor-client relationship.

Exploring the Mechanics

Why Do Financial Advisors Sell Away?

Financial advisors may be tempted to sell away for various reasons:

  1. Higher Commissions: Some alternative investments offer higher commissions compared to traditional ones. This financial incentive can lure advisors to explore these opportunities.
  2. Client Demand: If clients express a strong interest in a particular investment that’s not available through the advisor’s firm, they may consider selling away to meet client demands.
  3. Diversification: Advisors may see selling away as a means to diversify their clients’ portfolios beyond what’s available within their firm’s offerings.

Risks and Regulatory Implications

While selling away might seem lucrative, it comes with significant risks and regulatory consequences:

  • Compliance Issues: Selling away can lead to compliance violations, as advisors are often required to obtain approval for outside investments to ensure they meet regulatory standards.
  • Client Losses: Clients who invest in offerings outside the advisor’s firm may face increased risks, as these investments often lack the same level of regulatory oversight and protection.
  • Legal Consequences: Advisors who engage in selling away without proper disclosure and compliance can face legal actions and damage to their professional reputation.

The Illiquid Benefits

Pros of Selling Away

  1. Diversification: Selling away allows investors to access a broader range of investment opportunities, potentially enhancing portfolio diversification.
  2. Potential for Higher Returns: Some non-traditional investments may yield higher returns, offering an opportunity for investors to outperform the market.
  3. Client Satisfaction: Meeting client demands for specific investments can lead to higher client satisfaction and loyalty.

Cons of Selling Away

  1. Regulatory Risks: The foremost disadvantage is the risk of regulatory violations, which can have severe legal and financial consequences.
  2. Limited Oversight: Investments sold away often have limited regulatory oversight, increasing the potential for fraudulent or high-risk schemes.
  3. Conflict of Interest: Selling away can create conflicts of interest, as advisors may prioritize personal financial gain over clients’ best interests.

Navigating the Terrain

Tips for Investors

If you’re considering investing in offerings presented through selling away, here are some essential tips:

  • Due Diligence: Conduct thorough research on the investment, the advisor, and the associated risks.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask your advisor about their involvement and the regulatory compliance of the investment.
  • Consult Legal Advice: When in doubt, seek legal counsel to ensure your investments are sound and compliant.
Selling Away: What Is It and How It Works

For Financial Advisors

For financial professionals, staying on the right side of the law and ethics is paramount:

  • Full Disclosure: Always disclose your involvement in selling away and provide clients with comprehensive information.
  • Consult Compliance: Seek guidance from your firm’s compliance department to navigate regulatory requirements.
  • Client Education: Educate clients about the risks associated with non-traditional investments, ensuring they make informed decisions.


Selling away, while offering potential benefits, is a financial practice fraught with risks and regulatory challenges. As an investor, it’s crucial to approach such opportunities cautiously, conducting due diligence and seeking professional advice when necessary. For financial advisors, adherence to regulatory standards and full disclosure are imperative to maintain trust and integrity in the industry.

In the dynamic world of finance, where opportunities and risks coexist, understanding selling away is a valuable tool for both investors and professionals. Balancing the illiquid benefits with the regulatory pitfalls is the key to making informed and responsible financial decisions.

Remember, when it comes to managing your finances, knowledge is your best friend. Understanding the ropes of responsible financial practices forms the solid foundation for a trustworthy and secure financial future.

Important Note: While I’m here to share insights, remember: this isn’t financial advice. Always consult a qualified financial advisor before diving into investments. They’ll give personalized guidance, tailored to your unique finances, for a secure financial future.


What is selling away in finance?

Selling away is when a broker sells unapproved investments, often without their firm’s knowledge or consent.

How does selling away impact investors?

Investors face higher risks, as these investments lack regulatory oversight and may lead to financial losses.

Why do brokers engage in selling away?

Brokers may seek higher commissions or evade scrutiny, but it’s illegal and unethical.

Can investors protect themselves from selling away?

Yes, by conducting due diligence, verifying investment legitimacy, and reporting suspicious activities.

What are the consequences of selling away?

Brokers can face legal actions, fines, and loss of licenses, while investors may suffer financial harm.

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