Cetera Financial Group adds 1,000 advisers, $19 billion in assets so far in 2019

The broker-dealer network is adding both new and experienced advisers

Aug 14, 2019 @ 4:52 pm

By Bruce Kelly

Cetera Financial Group is having a banner year in attracting new advisers to its platform, with recruits ranging in experience and production from sophisticated wealth managers to those relatively new to the financial advice industry.

Cetera, a network of six broker-dealers, said on Wednesday it has added over 1,000 registered representatives year-to-date and reached a record $19.1 billion in newly recruited assets under administration.

A good portion of those advisers, more than 400, come from Cetera's acquisition earlier this year of certain assets of Foresters Financial's U.S. broker-dealer and advisory business.

And another chunk is made up of CPA, bank or financial institution reps or apprentice-type wealth managers — groups of advisers who don't carry revenue with them to a new firm, said Adam Antoniades, president of Cetera Financial Group, in an interview. Cetera CEO Robert Moore, stepped down at the end of March due to health reasons. So far, a replacement has not been announced.

He added that Cetera had recruited about 275 traditional, wealth management advisers through July, or advisers who add revenue and ramp up production quickly.

InvestmentNews data, which can lag the market, has so far counted 190 advisers moving to Cetera broker-dealers this year. Mr. Antoniades said that data was not up to date.

"We're having a record year, and it's not just the Foresters acquisition," Mr. Antoniades said.

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The significant majority, about 75%, of experienced advisers moving to Cetera are from other independent broker-dealers, but some are coming from wirehouses, Mr. Antoniades noted.

"The scale of the network ... is becoming much more real in the marketplace," he said. "You get a price advantage with scale, and increasingly recruits are recognizing the fragmented environment for small broker-dealers. It's tough for them as costs go up and returns on client assets go down."

In February, Cetera said that the wealth management group of North Ridge Securities Corp. would work under Cetera Advisor Networks, the network's broker-dealer that works with large offices. North Ridge Wealth Planning has over $2.5 billion in client assets and 85 affiliated advisers.

Another catalyst for Cetera right now when it comes to recruiting is the offerings by some of its large branch offices, particularly Carson Wealth, which is led by Ron Carson, a high-profile financial adviser, said Jon Henschen, president of Henschen & Associates, a recruiting firm.

"His name does draw people's attention," Mr. Henschen said.

Carson Wealth is a hybrid wealth manager and uses Cetera for its broker-dealer business.

"Advisers are coming from other hybrids, RIAs and the wirehouses," Mr. Carson said in an interview. Carson Wealth this year has had advisers with $2 billion in advisory assets move to the firm.

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