Articles Published November 2010

The Morgia Group breakaway to HighTower Advisors and Fidelity proceeded despite the big snow in Watertown, N.Y.

HighTower veteran helps Morgan Stanley Smith Barney team break away upstate New York style
A breakaway story from the perspective of the facilitator

Tuesday 11.30.10
Michael Henkel: He is passionate about moving independent advisors into the retirement plan market, but says that for now, advisors lack the tools to succeed there.

Yesterday's proposed DOL regs underscore why default investments are the 401(k) market's giant untapped opportunity
Regulators' so-far soft approach on target date funds leaves door open for advisors to compete

Tuesday 11.30.10
Les Abromovitz: Working on an elected official or candidate’s campaign may also fall within the definition of “contribution” found in the pay-to-play rule.

SEC's new pay-to-play rules call for you to investigate your employees' political giving
Surprisingly broad regs kick in next quarter, covering RIAs that do business with the government

Tuesday 11.30.10
Ron Fiske: Bachelorhood is overrated.

(Updated) Ron Fiske comes aboard at Envestnet as company unveils its grander technology vision
The former high-level advisory exec at Fidelity will sit at the right hand of Bill Crager and court RIA custodians

Monday 11.29.10
Dan Goldie [on left]:I knew I would get Gordon Murray [on right] hooked.

'Dying banker's last instructions' article in New York Times sends book sales soaring for two DFA advisors/authors
When Gordon Murray was given six months to live, he and Dan Goldie set to work

Monday 11.29.10
Americans take the retail system for granted but it's supported by a complex infrastructure, one that has yet to be replicated in financial services.

DC Current: What RIAs could learn from the Black Friday sales at Target, Wal-Mart and the rest of the retail sector
Should the RIA business ever hold a sale? Why not.

Friday 11.26.10
It's always darkest before it goes pitch black

What Target, Apple and Whole Foods tell us about Black Friday and our economy
Stores are opening in the wee hours and slashing prices but will it boost the economy?

Friday 11.26.10
SRI in the Rockies, despite its name was held in San Antonio, Texas. Next year's conference is planned for New Orleans.

(Updated) Eavesdropping on SRI in the Rockies: SRI's surprising growth, changes in the sector, and the question: How do you handle BP in a portfolio?
Assets in the sector are up 13% since 2007

Friday 11.26.10
Marie Swift: There has never been a time in recent history when so many prospects are looking for a new advisor.

Eavesdropping on the MoneyShow: The great debate between MPT and technical analysis
Plus, three marketing ideas that actually work and the academic case for alternative assets

Wednesday 11.24.10
Nick Georgis:  We do not support a SRO for the RIA industry. Schwab has had conversations with SEC staff to share this point of view.

Custodians defend their records in having RIA backs in battles for the fiduciary standard and against FINRA takeover
TD Ameritrade has publicly made some regulatory efforts for advisors and other say they mostly do it behind the scenes

Tuesday 11.23.10
David Massey, NASAA president, is arguing that the SEC has the bandwidth to continue regulating advisors.

Is FINRA oversight a fait accompli? It's starting to feel that way.
IAA's Tittsworth says advisors still have the chance to play up small-business angle to submarine legislation

Tuesday 11.23.10
David Selig: I felt like I had more meaningful conversations with industry luminaries and other well-connected people than at any event in recent memory.

Advisors in the airport shuttle make suggestions for taking the MarketCounsel Member Summit to the next level
RIABiz stumbles on a final moveable breakout session where unedited opinions flew fast and hard

Tuesday 11.23.10
Bill Crager: Not having technology integrated is like leaving the windows open in New York in winter.

Envestnet's Crager and Fidelity's Durbin both say soon-to-be-realized scale advantages will bring more wirehouse assets into play
Their executive speeches at MarketCounsel Member Summit admit current shortcomings

Monday 11.22.10
Mark Tibergien: We will need an additional 9,000 advisors over the next five years just to keep up with the demand and growth.

Eavesdropping on the Moss Adams workshop: How big and broadly owned your firm should be
A study shows some myth-busting common denominators among successful firms

Monday 11.22.10
Ron Rhoades: I have seen in my 25 years of practice ... a large number of individual Americans withdraw from the stock and bond markets after discovering the inadequacy of the conflict-ridden investment advice they received.

One-Man Think Tank: What would Adam Smith say about the fiduciary standard?
As the SEC ruminates, the invisible hand lurks and Rhoades finds support for a strong standard in unlikely places

Monday 11.22.10
Mike Golaszewski, now business technology officer at Pershing LLC

A key Schwab web manager jumps cross country to Pershing
Mike Golaszewski will likely join in NetX360-related efforts

Friday 11.19.10
David Tittsworth: I feel alone out there a lot of the time.

Testy words pass between advisors and regulatory panelists at MarketCounsel conference
RIAs are shocked by how bad things have gotten in Washington

Friday 11.19.10
Bob Reynolds: Once you tune out the hysteria and hyperbole ... it’s very clear that Social Security reform does not require draconian measures, just some very uncommon political courage.

DC Current: Bob Reynolds spoke on retirement reform, but what he left unsaid was more interesting than the speech
Retirement reform hovers just outside the spotlight. Will it step inside next year?

Friday 11.19.10
Joe Duran: There will be a lot of folks wiped out and [big competitors] will charge 30-40-50 basis points and that’s the pricing we’ll all have to live with. (Photo by Catherine Taylor)

The MarketCounsel Member Summit hums in the Nevada desert
Joe Duran floats a controversial thesis about the threat faced by investment managers

Thursday 11.18.10
Lee Hennessee: “My ignorance was that I didn’t think somebody would lie to you in writing”

An RIA that paid the price for falling for the Bayou scam speaks out
Who should be accountable for finding fraud? Two who have been through the ordeal say responsibility should rest with those best-positioned to discover it, like the clearing firms

Thursday 11.18.10
Andrew Fotopulos: Advisers seem a lot more anxious to obtain coverage at this time.

Why RIA demand for E&O insurance is booming and premium prices are [thankfully] plummeting
A plethora of new carriers is a big boon at a time when regulators 'circle like sharks'

Wednesday 11.17.10
Pat Huddleston: Every credible scam produces an impressive PPM, and no PPM discloses the risk of fraud.

RIAs need to become students of financial fraud so scam artists can't rent their credibility
Advisors see startling drops in AUM when they get fooled by third-party managers and their clients get burned

Wednesday 11.17.10
Dan Seivert: Several factors that may pave the way for LPL to turn public.

10 reasons why LPL Financial could pull off a hot IPO in a cold market
The big IBD touts its big size, big growth and big recruiting opportunity in SEC filing

Wednesday 11.17.10
Pat Mendenhall expects to fill a big vacancy in this 1330 Post Oak Boulevard building.

A HighTower-like consolidator rises from Texas ground
A UBS star is raising capital and recruiting up a storm

Tuesday 11.16.10
Mike Byrnes: The key to many negotiating success stories is when two parties look beyond their own needs.

In their own words: Five top advisors' secrets for creating stronger alliances to gain more referrals
From office space to joint events to good old-fashioned favors, how to form crucial bonds

Tuesday 11.16.10
Tim Noonan of Russell Investments: What Starbucks does right is they are always trying to build a bridge of trust with the clients. They never assume it’s there.

One size doesn't fit all, or how advisors ought to adapt their strategies for their clients' behaviors
Russell Investments' Tim Noonan tells RIAs what they can learn from Starbucks

Tuesday 11.16.10
Andrew Lewis: The culture of Wells Fargo has been a very nice change.

A UBS broker lands at Finet, which helps him win a nasty tug-of-war over clients
Attorneys: Wirehouses may be reawakening to the independent threat

Monday 11.15.10
Suresh Kumar and Trent Witthoeft are the faces of the NetX360 roadshow at a stop-off in Mill Valley.

What I learned from a duo of Jersey guys who visited RIABiz in Sausalito
Brian Hamburger and Suresh Kumar made the long flight fueled by a shared passion for the evolving advisory business

Monday 11.15.10
Gerri Leder: You have the access and platform to weigh in judiciously, frame arguments around breaking news, bring a fresh viewpoint to a topic of mutual interest – there is an unlimited appetite for perspective.

Many advisors still opt for the social media sidelines, but watch out: Early adopter status is slipping away
Which of six excuses applies to you?

Monday 11.15.10
Stephen J. Cucchiaro spoke with Chuck Schwab and Walt Bettinger before deciding to sell his company to theirs.

A look inside Schwab's big deal with a small asset manager
Windward sold for a big premium but Schwab may be the bigger winner

Friday 11.12.10
Who is to windward?

Schwab closes the Windward Investment Management deal but relinquishes the brand
A small advisory firm also had a claim on the ETF manager's name

Friday 11.12.10
Suresh Kumar: If you have a single office or 10,000, we can handle them.

Pershing believes its case for NetX360 as the Apple equivalent for advisors is solid
Fidelity and Schwab make counter-arguments based on their own technological visions

Thursday 11.11.10
Nevin Freeman: I got the sense this time around that Kumar and his team really are doing what they can to push the envelope.

Nevin looks under the NetX360 hood after it gets 100,000 new users and some overhauling
The ambitious software effort shows signs of 13,000 user comments

Thursday 11.11.10
Lou Harvey: “The demand for lower fees by 72 million participants and their families and 483,000 employers can awaken a sleeping giant that places similar demand on virtually every investment and financial product.

How advisors can position themselves for the coming 401(k) boom
Tips on becoming the educator of choice; and a framework for thinking about plan restructuring

Wednesday 11.10.10
David DeVoe: The consolidation model is still  resonating with RIAs but some have made the strategic decision to move to the sidelines.

RIA M&A activity sizzles toward a record number of deals in 2010
Last year's pent-up demand got unleashed and conditions are improving, according to Schwab data

Wednesday 11.10.10
Paul Auslander: As an umbrella for members with many business models, the FPA is in a strong position in an environment in which the different models are merging. “The targeted groups are the ones at peril, not us.”

As state regulatory, tax battles loom, FPA is establishing statewide organizations to counter threat
New president-elect sees a big change among broker-dealers on fiduciary issue: 'Sometimes I walk out thinking I've been in a Kumbaya situation'

Wednesday 11.10.10
Boston Convention Center: Advisors were swarming exhibitor booths for much of IMPACT 2010

Eight software vendors give insider accounts of their IMPACT 2010 booth experiences
Non-stop booth traffic -- including visits from giant RIAs -- suggests advisors came to Boston in a code-buying mood

Tuesday 11.9.10
Peter Ricchiuti: When you look at debt as a percent of GDP, while staggering nominal numbers, they are still far below the WW II era.

Looking in on IMCA's Advanced Wealth Management conference: Sold-out event shows how IMCA is growing, broadening membership
Custodians gather in target-rich environment: advisors that are well-equipped for independence

Tuesday 11.9.10
Matt Abar: It’s extremely crowded in the [software-as-a-service] area right now.

FinFolio and Black Diamond are hiring top sales talent
Both companies see plenty of ready buyers for next-gen portfolio management systems

Monday 11.8.10
Rob Isbitts' monthly review of financial market performance and trends,  as told through mutual fund category performance (data supplied by Morningstar)

Market Fund-A-Mentals: After an in-your-face rally, which fund categories rise to the top?
Funds incorporating hedging strategies see a tough year so far; a group of gold-inspired funds are acting like stocks

Monday 11.8.10
Charles Roame:  I think that the point is to make a partial public offering, frankly a minority one, create a public capital value and allow the firm to use additional stock to make acquisitions.

What to make of LPL nearing a successful -- but scaled back -- IPO
It made concessions on price but gaining a public valuation may be mission accomplished for now

Friday 11.5.10
In an interview with Elizabeth MacBride, above, Charles Ferguson says that because Obama blew it, reforming Wall Street will likely take decades.

DC Current: A damning view of financial services from Inside Job's director, Charles Ferguson
Film connects the dots leading to the crisis and lays blame at the doors of some unlikely candidates

Friday 11.5.10
John Carnevale: This makes us an 800-pound gorilla for what we do.

Geller Group finds its white knight within the Focus Financial family
The DOL investigation goes on but -- undeterred -- a Massachusetts company takes the TPA under its wing

Thursday 11.4.10
Network founder Sheryl Garrett hosted this special anniversary retreat in her hometown, knowing that some fall-off might occur due to the lack of a major airport. One person who made the trip: psychologist Ed Jacobson.

Eavesdropping on the Garrett retreat: A white-knuckle drive; why independents aren't winning assets as fast as they should be; and six steps to building client trust
In the Ozarks, a small and informal conference draws big names

Thursday 11.4.10
The RIABiz team is about to give the thriving RIABiz directory a boost -- we're incorporating more companies, and building out the information we have about each one.

Secrets of the RIABiz directory -- if you haven't looked lately, you'll be surprised at how the data stash is growing
It’s time to update and expand the RIABiz Directory, which already lists 250 service providers

Thursday 11.4.10
Skip Schweiss: We think it’s time to ramp it up.

TD Ameritrade and Pershing are making moves to win RIA 401(k) assets
Little-known Matrix is strong with 401(k) business for advisors and Fidelity's new 401(k) RIA solution is well-received

Wednesday 11.3.10
Ron Rhoades: It appears that relatively few investment strategies, as to the design of portfolios for individual clients, withstand academic scrutiny.

One-Man Think Tank: Would your investment strategy stand up in court?
Advisors should apply due diligence not only to products and suitability, but to their overall approach, says the new ADV form.

Wednesday 11.3.10
Catie Tobin: I think size is an advantage to us.

A top RBC Wealth Management executive gets drafted to head the company's young RIA unit
Catie Tobin is expected to make the big financial muscle of the Royal Bank of Canada work for independent advisors

Tuesday 11.2.10
Bill Gross’ thought leadership may contribute to advisors' feelings of confidence and security.

Why PIMCO's brand is most sterling and Powershares, Vanguard and ProShares are fast-gaining
Emotions of investors need to be addressed in three areas

Tuesday 11.2.10
Les Abromovitz: Aside from the issue of whether a designation or certification is misleading, all financial services firms should be concerned about investment advisers who claim to have credentials they did not earn.

Why you should pay attention to proliferating advisor credentials
Les Abromovitz heads to Nebraska to figure out which letters are worthwhile -- and which take little more than a check and a pulse to earn

Tuesday 11.2.10
Marion Asnes: I want to be in a world that’s growing, and Envestnet is in a market that’s spectacularly growing.

(Updated) Envestnet hires Marion Asnes to tackle its marketing challenge
Financial Planning's editor-in-chief seeks to make the outsourcer's 'subtle' attributes 'explicit'

Monday 11.1.10
“We’ve always enjoyed the culture of the Smith Barney enterprise,” said Tim Oden, wryly.

Five things I learned about the subterranean breakaway movement at IMPACT 2010, including that Tim Oden's been promoted at Schwab
Big custodian grows sales staff to handle rising tide of defection-minded IBD reps, heightened demands of wirehouse breakaways

Monday 11.1.10


THE Industry Sourcebook for RIAs