Advisers on the Move

Top advisers with $68B in client assets jumped ship in 2010

Money, mergers fueling the exodus, say industry watchers

Dec 15, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

By Liz Skinner

Hundreds of financial advisers switched firms this year, many looking for opportunities to build equity in themselves and some exiting after mergers. A fair amount of advisers were also lured by big bucks, recruiters and industry experts noted.

At least 206 teams of advisers — managing a total of $68.3 billion in client assets — moved to another company or created a new firm in 2010, according to data collected by Investment News. The data, which are gathered in the InvestmentNews' Advisers on the Move database, does not include all adviser moves for the year and tracks the movement of reps with at least $20 million in client assets.

In the biggest defections of 2010, financial adviser John A. Pickett and two other team members left RBC Wealth Management, where he managed $8.5 billion in assets, to join CapTrust Financial Advisors in June.

This month, Michael C. Brown departed from Bank of America Corp.'s U.S. Trust unit, where he managed $5.9 billion in client assets, to join Dynasty Financial Partners. Mr. Brown's clients had a typical net worth of $50 million, according to Barron's, which ranked him 28th on its most recent list of the top 100 U.S. financial advisers.

(Click here for a look at the largest moves of 2010.)

“Financial advisers leave for two reasons: money and discontent,” said Eric Gershman, president of Consultants Period Ltd. “We're seeing a lot of discontent and a lot of money.”

Typically, the discontent has stemmed from changes at firms following the financial crisis, along with a raft of broker mergers and acquisitions. Advisers remaining “at changed firms” often they feel as if they don't have a say in the company anymore, Mr. Gershman said.

“The people who hired them are no longer there,” he added. “The money is there now because all firms are having such a horrible time recruiting that they have moved their [pay] needles” to pay more to attract advisers.

Wirehouses are not the only firms struggling to attract advisers. Independent advisory firms and regional broker-dealers have seen a slowdown in recruiting advisers, experts said.

But fewer than half of the advisers who leave large brokerage firms join another wirehouse, according to industry recruiter Danny Sarch.

“Big brokerage firms have done an unbelievable job of destroying employee loyalty and client loyalty,” he said.

Why do advisers still join wirehouses?

“The draw is the money,” Mr. Sarch said, adding that other benefits include “big brands and terrific platforms.”

In November, UBS Wealth Management Americas hired a three-adviser team from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Roger Stephens, Dan Rothenberg and Theodore Fisher managed $2.1 billion of client assets while at Morgan Stanley.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Sponsored financial news

RIA Data Center

Use InvestmentNews' RIA Data Center to filter and find key information on over 1,400 fee-only registered investment advisory firms.

Rank RIAs by

B-D Data Center

Use InvestmentNews' B-D Data Center to find exclusive information and intelligence about the independent broker-dealer industry.

Rank Broker-dealers by

Advisers on the Move

Featured video


When can advisers expect an SEC fiduciary rule proposal and other regs this year?

Managing editor Christina Nelson and senior reporter Mark Schoeff Jr. discuss regulations of consequence to financial advisers in 2018, and their likely timing.

Recommended Video

Path to growth

Latest news & opinion

Bond investors have more to worry about than a government shutdown

Inflation worries, international rates pushing Treasuries yields higher.

State measures to prevent elder financial abuse gaining steam

A growing number of states are looking to pass rules preventing exploitation of seniors.

Morgan Stanley reports a loss of advisers after exiting the protocol for broker recruiting

The firm said it lost 47 brokers in the fourth quarter, the most in any quarter of 2017.

Morgan Stanley's wealth management fees climb to all-time high

Improvement reflect firm's shift of more clients into fee-based accounts priced on asset levels, which boosts results as markets rise.

Legislation would make it harder for investors to sue mutual funds over high fees

A plaintiff would have to state in their initial complaint why fiduciary duty was breached, and then prove the violation with 'clear and convincing evidence.'


Hi! Glad you're here and we hope you like all the great work we do here at InvestmentNews. But what we do is expensive and is funded in part by our sponsors. So won't you show our sponsors a little love by whitelisting It'll help us continue to serve you.

Yes, show me how to whitelist

Ad blocker detected. Please whitelist us or give premium a try.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print