Displaying items by tag: IBDs
2020 was a rollercoaster of a year and not just in financial markets. It was quite a wild year in recruiting as well. When the pandemic hit, advisor movement dropped off to a trickle, but in the summer it started to come back and was roaring in the second half of the year. 2021 seems like it will be much the same. Both large IBDs and RIAs are looking to increase recruiting efforts, and offer packages for jumping ship have been getting larger. Commonwealth, for instance is planning a major recruiting push this year, which builds on other big efforts from Fidelity and LPL.
FINSUM: This definitely feels like an advisor’s market for moves. Firms are hungry to recruit and advisors seem to have the upper hand in negotiations.
2020 was a very unique year for recruiting. In particular, despite the obvious market and economic turmoil, it was a year in which almost all aspects of going independent got more favorable. Not only did working from home making recruiting conversations with new firms easier, but working from home itself made going independent seem less daunting. Further, firms’ appetite to offer great packages to recruit has grown considerably since this time last year, so it is certainly an advisors’ market when it comes to moving.
FINSUM: One other point to mention here is that clients themselves have also gotten more comfortable with their advisors being independent. The lack of office visits and growth of Zoom communication has limited the need for the big well-known logo in the office lobby when clients arrive. Independents seem likely to gain more market share.
A new study from Cerulli Associates has found that wirehouses are performing very well in one regard—advisor productivity. The average wirehouse advisor has $175m in AUM, almost double the industry average of $77.9m. Even more amazingly, wirehouse productivity has risen from an average of $148m at the end of 2018 (to $175m at the end of 2019). However, wirehouses are still shedding many advisors to RIAs and IBDs. Cerulli identified two key reasons why. The first is as old as the industry itself—compensation. According to Cerulli, wirehouse advisors are growing increasingly tired of “complicated and sporadically changing compensation grids”. Additionally, support staff is an area where advisors are frustrated, reporting a lack of support staff as an issue at a far higher rates than at other BDs and RIAs.
FINSUM: Wirehouse advisors currently enjoy two advantages—brand strength and scalable firm-wide technologies. Neither is enough to stem the current outflows of advisors, and the technology aspect is quickly being eroded by improving tech stacks for independent advisors.
Earlier this year LPL launch its new Strategic Wealth Services program. It is a special program designed to help advisors with all aspects of setting up their own business, including everything from finding an office to setting up a tech stack to executing payroll. Best of all, LPL promises to do this with “zero out-of-pocket costs for the advisors”. Despite the pandemic, the program seems to be doing well. Once advisors from a Wells Fargo team that recently departed for LPL commented on the program that “LPL’s new affiliation model really appealed to me. It allows me to be an independent advisor but solves for the business operational needs”.
FINSUM: This is a smart program. It appears specifically designed to address the multitude of anxieties advisors feel when moving to an IBD.
LPL has been a true leader on the recruiting front in 2020. One should expect no less from the largest independent broker-dealer. As one of their new initiatives, they have just launched a program—called the “independent employee” model—to try to attract new advisors who want some of the benefits of being independent, but also want to be a W-2 employee. Such models have been around for a long time, and are most prevalent at Raymond James and Ameriprise, but LPL thinks there is an opportunity to scale it up. The program is designed to appeal to wirehouse advisors who like being W-2s but want to earn higher payouts. Payouts for the program range from 50-70%.
FINSUM: If an IBD is a halfway house between being a wirehouse advisor and being an independent RIA, then this is a one-quarter-way house. It does seem like this might be a smart move—W-2 benefits with higher payouts.