Digital recruiting platform aims to help advisers identify job opportunities

FA Match allows advisers to search for new positions without revealing identities

Jan 29, 2019 @ 3:02 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

A new digital platform is seeking to give financial advisers more control over finding jobs and making career transitions than offered through traditional adviser recruitment, a business that is plagued by bad actors and secret alliances, according to the platform's founder.

Ryan Shanks, founder of recruiting firm Finetooth Consulting, said his new venture FA Match provides each adviser with a unique profile that includes information such as location, employee benefits and service offerings. Using the company's "Mutual Match" technology, advisers can search for banks, wirehouses, independent broker-dealers or registered investment advisers that are looking to hire someone like them.

Firms also can search for compatible advisers using filters for revenue, assets under management, years of service, professional licensing and breakaway status.

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FA Match also has controls to protect the privacy of job-seeking advisers. Many firms, especially wirehouses, authorize the use of popular resources like LinkedIn and would know if an adviser is in contact with a recruiter, Mr. Shanks said. FA Match only discloses identifying information about the advisers once there is mutual interest by both adviser and firm.

"[FA Match is] discreet, it's smart and most of all, it allows advisers to navigate quality career opportunities on their own terms with no strings attached," Mr. Shanks said in a statement.

Compensation is a major factor in an adviser moving, but FA Match goes deeper, Mr. Shanks said. For example, an adviser may be looking to leave a firm because he or she disagrees with decisions by the firm's executives. FA Match hopes to capture that sentiment and connect an adviser to a more compatible firm, he said.

FA Match is free for advisers and firms to use. The company will collect a fee from firms following successful adviser recruitment.

FA Match launched a beta version in October and has since secured $500,000 in seed capital funding led by Mass Mutual.

There already are 14 firms on the platform that have between $50 million and $25 billion in AUM. One is Atria Wealth Solutions, an acquirer of midsize broker-dealers. Mr. Shanks declined to name other firms.

"We wanted it to be diverse intentionally," Mr. Shanks told InvestmentNews.

Robert Sandrew, head of adviser recruiting at Integrated Financial Partners, said he saw a demonstration of FA Match and plans to "take it for a test drive."

Mr. Shanks isn't the first person to attempt a digital recruiting platform for advisers, according to Mr. Sandrew. But where other firms lacked substance or depth, FA Match feels different.

(More: 8 developments to watch in the IBD industry in 2019)

"They offer firms critical detail around the adviser's practice, compliance record and reasons for a potential move, prior to making a connection, which enables us to maintain our stringent vetting standards," Mr. Sandrew said. "Conversely, the adviser can maintain anonymity to determine if the firm is the proper fit from his/her perspective."

Mr. Shanks doesn't see FA Match as a disruptor to the traditional recruiting industry, but rather as a platform to help recruiters grow their businesses. His hope is recruiters will use the platform to improve the number and quality of connections they make to grow their own firms. FA Match will share 65% of the fee it collects with a recruiter who brings an adviser to the platform.

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