Adviser recruitment on track for record-breaking year

More than 4,000 advisers and brokers switched firms during the first quarter, up 11% from the first quarter of 2020. RIAs and IDBs continue to set the pace.

More than 4,000 advisers and brokers switched firms in the first quarter of the year, putting 2021 on pace for record industry recruitment activity.

Moves of experienced advisers between firms were up 11% compared with the first quarter of 2020 and were higher than any other quarter going back to 2018.

The data, which come from the InvestmentNews Advisers on the Move database, exclude transitions between affiliated firms and those that result from a merger or acquisition.

Registered investment advisers and independent broker-dealers continued to set the pace, with net adviser gains of 517 and 504, respectively. That’s nearly double their net gains in the comparable quarter last year, when RIAs recruited 304 more advisers than they lost and independent broker-dealers gained 283.

The year-over-year growth in recruiting activity is significant. Although adviser moves ultimately slowed in 2020 amid social distancing and remote work, the decline began in the second quarter. Industry growth, competition and advisers’ taste for independence had kept recruitment activity on a yearslong climb before lockdowns interrupted.

Now, after three straight quarters of year-over-year declines, industry recruitment is returning to its pre-pandemic pace and then some. Compared with 2019, adviser moves are set to rise 27% at their current rate.

Q1 Top Net Gains   Advisers Gained 
LPL FinanciaL 422
Raymond James Financial Services Inc. 93
J.P. Morgan Securities 74
Fidelity Brokerage Services 62
Ameriprise Financial Services 51
Robinhood Financial 37
Fisher Investments 36
Rockefeller Financial 36
Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments 34
Cambridge Investment Research Inc. 23

Q1 Top Net Losses Advisers Lost
Wells Fargo Clearing Services 236
Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc. 219
BMO Harris Financial Advisors Inc. 215
TD Ameritrade Inc. 125
Edward Jones 118
TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services 89
Equitable Advisors 76
Avantax Investment Services Inc. 56
Northwestern Mutual Investment Services 44
Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network 36

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Robinhood shows up on recruiting radar

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