December so far has seen a flurry of reps and advisers dashing to new firms, with big broker-dealers and registered investment advisers, including LPL Financial, Securities America and Cetera Financial Group, reporting the addition of veteran advisers and teams to their ranks.
And the market for RIA breakaways from the wirehouses is continuing its brisk pace: Mayflower Advisors, which managed $3.75 billion as a hybrid affiliate of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, known as FiNet, became an independent RIA.
It’s no wonder. A long and difficult year is finally coming to a close, and the pent-up demand for financial advisers to jump, finally, to a new business platform is playing out as the days dwindle.
The spate of moves over the past week is the confluence of several events, the most notable of which is COVID-19.
The pandemic required a huge shift in all the business models that comprise the financial advice and wealth management industries, and recruiting slowed down noticeably during and after the pandemic. Advisers’ moves were delayed by the pandemic, and many are completing those transitions in the last couple months of the year.
“With so many advisers putting off transition back in March, April and May, right now is all that activity catching up,” one recruiter said.
Two more points: if advisers move before year end, they avoid paying double annual registration fees with regulators like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. and the states. For large enterprises, those fees can add up. And finally, much of Finra slows down in the last week of the year, making it almost impossible for an investment adviser rep to switch registration to a new firm between Christmas and New Year’s day.
So, if an adviser was going to switch firms in 2020, it really needed to happen this week or maybe next, at the latest.
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As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.