Displaying items by tag: independent
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.
Something very interesting is happening in recruiting. While advisor movement slowed down right at the beginning of the pandemic, it has bounced back strongly in the last couple month. The reason why is that advisors are finding it easier to explore opportunities with new firms while they are working from home. Any advisor recruiter will tell you that calling a wirehouse broker at their branch is an almost impossible task as the office itself works as a gatekeeper. Even if you can get the advisor on the phone, it is taboo for them to speak about moving firms while they are in the office. Thus, the ability to take zoom calls from their comfort of their kitchen has opened the door to more recruiting since advisors are free to explore firms in-depth and with total privacy. Further, the lack of a need for offices has made advisors wonder if they need the infrastructure (and lower payouts) that come with being at a wirehouse.
FINSUM: The landscape for recruiting has changed overnight. No conferences, but no office gatekeepers either! It seems a great time for advisors to consider a move, and firms would be smart to put effort into recruiting right now as this is truly an unprecedented opportunity.
COVID has affected the wealth management business as deeply as any other industry. Disruption has arrived, but opportunity has also come with it. But how will it impact the recruiting environment? By all accounts, it looks like the next six months or so will be an ideal time for advisors to move networks/companies. Firms are loosening purse strings and are jumping head first into recruiting again as periods of upheaval like COVID have usually led to increased movement among advisors. That means advisors are likely to get bigger checks for moving now than they would have earlier this year. The lack of conferences also means they are putting more money into other efforts to reach advisors.
FINSUM: Generally speaking, the COVID environment seems to have been beneficial for advisors. New efficiencies and work/life balance have been found as a result of working from home; deeper bonds with clients have been formed during the crisis; and there are increasing opportunities for recruiting. The speed of the market recovery has also been beneficial.
There is a little known stimulus behind the current trend of advisors breaking away from wirehouses. While many cite freedom of operations and compensation as key reasons for leaving wirehouses, one of the big driving forces is much less appreciated: the requests of clients themselves. According to Shirl Penney, CEO of RIA network Dynasty Financial Partners, “Clients are not simply following their advisors, but sometimes giving them the idea to break free … That’s the dirty little secret that not a lot have been talking about”. High net worth clients increasingly want their advice separated from the manufacturers of the products they buy, which means going independent makes sense for advisors. “So if you’re a million-dollar client of one of our advisors, you now can get independent advice, separate and safe custody and products from around the street the same way that may have been reserved for a billionaire 20 years ago”, according to Penney.
Expectations of higher compensation and more “freedom” usually top the list of articles that discuss why advisors are breaking away from large brokers. However, there is more to it than that. An interesting piece in Financial Planning tells the story of a team breaking away from Merrill Lynch. In reality it is not just comp that is an issue, and it s rarely the sole reason for breaking away. Often times it has to do with institutional limitations, like corporate bureaucracy, a bad branch manager, or small clients getting funneled to call centers. Other times it is because advisors are offering tons of service, like tax planning, cash flow management, loan refinancing etc that they just don’t get paid for.
FINSUM: This is a good piece that goes deeper than usual in exploring the real reasons advisors leave and whether doing so is a good idea.