More turnover at the top of Waddell & Reed

The latest shake-up includes the departure of a senior vice president

May 31, 2018 @ 2:15 pm

By Bruce Kelly

A further shake-up in senior management has occurred at Waddell & Reed, with a senior vice president leaving the firm and two national market heads stepping down to become financial advisers.

The changes come just weeks after the firm, which has been losing financial advisers at a rapid pace, saw a flurry of departures of senior executives. In April, the company said that its general counsel, its head of distribution and two senior portfolio manager all had left.

The company outlined the latest round of changes in a memo to its advisers late last Friday. Karen Lare, the senior vice president of administration, has left the firm and will be replaced by Phill Fournier, the senior vice president of advisor experience, according to the memo, which was signed by Shawn Mihal, the president of Waddell & Reed.

Meanwhile, John Oestreich and Joel Ockey are stepping down as national market heads — sales management roles — and will be replaced by three new regional vice presidents: Frank Anzalone for the east region; Nick Miskov for the central region; and Kevin Farrell in the west region.

The decision by Mr. Oestreich and Mr. Ockey "was not an easy one," but "both have always maintained a passion for financial planning and a dedication to working with clients," according to the memo.

"These are unrelated to other moves on other parts of the business announced in April," company spokesman Roger Hoadley wrote in an email.

Ms. Lare was instrumental in creating a new brokerage platform through Pershing for Waddell & Reed's advisers when she arrived at the firm in 2010, according to one adviser who asked not to be named.

Waddell & Reed's business model relies primarily on its brokers and advisers selling the parent company's proprietary, actively managed mutual funds. The broker-dealer is a subsidiary of a publicly traded holding company, Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.

The broker-dealer has seen a significant drop in the number of its brokers and advisers over the past year, with head count decreasing 29.6%. At the end of the first quarter this year, the firm had 1,170 advisers, down 492 from the same time a year earlier.

Waddell & Reed this year increased the minimum production requirements for its advisers, which is one of the factors that has led to a reduction in the number of its advisers.

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