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Articles Published April 2010


Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein denied that his firm had an obligation to sell securities they thought would be good investments, or to disclose the company’s short position on such securities.

Regulatory Wire: Goldman Sachs opens door for the fiduciary standard; Senators pile on to the cause
Jail time for those who violate the standard? There's a new tone in Washington, D.C.

Friday 4.30.10
Jonathan Kempner: The mantra is: Know what you have.

Tiger 21 members have shifted priorities in choosing who manages their investments
Tiger, a forum for the ultra-affluent, has members who see the beauty of working with squeaky-clean advisors

Friday 4.30.10
Tony Ferreira: They’re a victim of the recession.

Some experts question Cogent Research study's finding of big dip in 401(k) plan ownership
The bad economy deterred participation in employer retirement plans but their growth may stay suppressed longer term, researchers say

Thursday 4.29.10
Paul Zettl: We target around 100 advisors because we want to keep it intimate and allow advisors to ask questions and network.

TD Ameritrade is pulling out the stops for 100 advisors in Laguna Beach
Smaller custodian is starting to make a habit of 'going big'

Thursday 4.29.10
Bill Whitney: Everybody at a wirehouse has reached a gag threshold and is looking for an exit with few exceptions.

UBS brokers break away Mississippi style and a bass-fishing ex-Merrill broker comes out of retirement
Leaving the wirehouse was made easier by a truism of the folksy state: clients would be offended not to be asked to follow

Wednesday 4.28.10
Les Abromovitz: The SEC examiner in your office may be a bit more skeptical about your firm’s conduct than was previously the case during a routine examination.

The SEC's unannounced compliance exams are growing more common. That means the ‘I’ll-get-to-it’ strategy is an even worse idea than before.
How to test your firm’s readiness

Wednesday 4.28.10
Scott Pritchard: Many advisors [selling 401(k) plans] recognize the merits of a move to fee-only, but like a drug addict who knows they need to quit, they just can not 'kick the habit.'

RIAs are starting to create their own 401(k) companies as alternatives to John Hancock and The Principal
Capital Directions is building a TAMP for advisors that want to get into the 401(k) business

Tuesday 4.27.10
Ron Rhoades: When will Congress stand up to Wall Street?

One-Man Think Tank: When Wall Street has investors' 'best interests' at heart, watch out
As Senate is poised to take up reform, Ron Rhoades contends the movement to create a "new" fiduciary standard is a campaign of disinformation

Tuesday 4.27.10
Barron's Top 100 advisors paid for their own Ritz-Carlton rooms but didn't seem to mind

Enthusiasm simmers in the wake of the by-invite-only Barron's Top 100 conference
The purity of the all-independent crowd was palpable, powerful for attendees

Monday 4.26.10
Michael Wilson: We are trying to cut down on the number of systems an advisor needs to use.

Review: Morningstar Office's web-based platform combines research, advisor tools
No-frills interface offers easy access to reports, benchmarking

Monday 4.26.10
Tom Boczar: It's not how much you earn; it's how much you keep.

Structuring to optimize tax-efficiency
Recent developments and innovations in single stock concentration risk management

Monday 4.26.10
Andy Gill: Clients understand what they're going to get with purchases of new issues of municipal bonds.

Schwab gives investors seat at the table for new-issue municipal bonds with J.P. Morgan deal (updated)
San Francisco broker answers call of RIAs seeking to better serve retirement-minded Baby Boomers

Friday 4.23.10
Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein has said the investment bank is not a fiduciary. What is at issue, then, is what the suitability standard really is.

Regulatory Wire: How Goldman Sachs' fraud case will redirect the regulatory debate
Two Senators to offer amendment; plus, how many arbitration cases are filed because of breach of fiduciary duty? It's a lot.

Friday 4.23.10
Bernie Clark: Our competitors are still treating this [custody of alternative assets] as an accommodation.

After a wait, Schwab has a program for alternative assets
The giant custodian will hold many of the assets itself

Thursday 4.22.10
Elliot Weissbluth: The Dean Witter and Morgan Stanley cultures never integrated so you have two cultures taking in a third culture – Smith Barney.

HighTower doubles recruiting staff and seeks green pastures of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney brokers
Unforeseen interest in potential breakaways accelerates plans of big aggregator

Thursday 4.22.10
John Peluso: The success all of us have had in the independent channel has raised the profile.

Wells Fargo's Finet deepens recruiting team, adds regions
Record year, marketing study led to investment in more staff

Thursday 4.22.10
Bob Kleiber: Our fees are up front, on the statement every month. Brokers and insurance agents fees are hidden. Sometimes we have to explain that to clients, again.

Fidelity brings its 401(k) muscle to RIAs with new product
The 401(k) giant seeks to do for RIAs what it's done for brokers all along

Wednesday 4.21.10
Rob Isbitts: Investing is shades of gray, not black and white.

10 investment ideas that STILL don’t work
Among the worst ideas reappearing: leveraged ETFs and the hypothetical track record

Wednesday 4.21.10
Red Goldstein: All we have ever known in the financial business is folks leaving one wirehouse to go to another wirehouse.

This Merrill Lynch team leader broke away for fear of what might happen under Bank of America
Red Goldstein loved Merrill Lynch but he deemed any chance of increased restrictions too risky to his business model

Tuesday 4.20.10
Where do the wealthy live? Imagine a layer around three sides of the country, then add Ann Arbor.

Which metro areas are the most fertile ground for advisors?
Geography becomes a greater concern as the Boomers become snow birds

Tuesday 4.20.10
Tim Keating: The endowments succumbed to the fallacy that as long-term investors they had no need for short-term liquidity.

The Yale endowment model 
of investing is not dead
Ivy League money managers made questionable decisions and asset allocation, modern portfolio theory got blame

Tuesday 4.20.10
Adam Honoré: Nearly 70% of financial advisors see online brokers as being no threat to their business.

Online brokers may be bigger threat to financial advisors than they realize, study says
E*Trade, Schwab and Fidelity win assets from advisors and relinquish them grudgingly, according to Aite Group report

Monday 4.19.10
Fred Tomczyk told Reuters: E*Trade 'is on a better footing today than they were a year or two ago, no question.

Analysts issue opinions on Merrill Lynch and TD Ameritrade based on new information
Merrill Lynch or another wirehouse, not a discount broker, should acquire E*Trade, researcher says

Monday 4.19.10
A movement deserves a website

RIABiz introduces a section dedicated to breakaway brokers
The breakaway broker movement is as fragmented as the RIA business itself

Monday 4.19.10
Joel Bruckenstein: Now this may come as a shock to readers, but I think it was rather reckless of Mr. Gluck to make such an outrageous statement.

A war of words flares up between Andy Gluck and Joel Bruckenstein
On Financial Planning magazine's website, Bruckenstein questions Gluck's impartiality

Friday 4.16.10
House and Senate financial reform bills would shift 4,000 RIAs to state oversight, but the SEC still has questions about states' resources.

Regulatory Wire: Two Senators may take on fiduciary fight, but how hard will the Obama administration push for the standard?
Plus, Doubts about state regulators' resources; a possible reprieve for California RIAs; and Schumer's under pressure on SEC funding

Friday 4.16.10
John Peluso: He leads a network that offers a middle way when it comes to independence.

Wells Fargo emerges as independent channel competitor
Third-largest wirehouse had a banner year in 2009, in space inhabited by LPL, Raymond James

Thursday 4.15.10
Wendy Barasch was responsible for hiring and developing teams of financial advisors at Alliance Bernstein.

Evercore adds an Alliance Bernstein veteran to build out its advisory team
New York aggregator's warp speed growth continues with hire from big legacy firm

Thursday 4.15.10
Matthew McGinness: It would not be surprising to see the toll go up.

TD Ameritrade's raised its NTF fee to mutual funds and analysts believe rivals may hike theirs, too
Schwab and Fidelity have ample leverage with mutual funds to raise their toll, analysts say

Wednesday 4.14.10
Ric Lager: Advisors can no longer outsource their market risk-management decision making to a computer program or third party asset manager.

Advisors: Reclaim management of your clients' funds
Contrary to conventional wisdom, RIAs can't just be content to manage relationships and recruit new clients

Wednesday 4.14.10
Scott Dell'Orfano: The average is well up from what we saw at this time last year

Breakaway broker signings get off to hot start in 2010 for Fidelity, TD and Schwab
RIA custodians report big increases in both size and number of recruits from wirehouses

Tuesday 4.13.10
Frank Pizzichillo: I met reps down the street at Starbucks, in living rooms of their homes while their dogs shed all over my freshly dry-cleaned suit, at the food court of a local mall.

The Leading Indicator: Trends and tales from the breakaway broker movement
Frank Pizzichillo takes on a regular column for RIABiz that includes fascinating, inspiring, and heart-wrenching stories

Tuesday 4.13.10
Brian Stimpfl: It was the hardest decision of my career.

[Updated] Why Brian Stimpfl left TD Ameritrade and where he is headed
A right-hand man to Tom Bradley takes a mid-career leap

Monday 4.12.10
Jeff Roper keeps a part-time legal practice in St. Louis but also owns RIAs in Harrisburg, Pa. Seattle and Fresno

Why and how a lawyer in St. Louis is running RIA franchises in Fresno, Seattle
A close-up look at how one investor uses The Mutual Fund Store as a way to tap the RIA opportunity

Monday 4.12.10
Mike Watson: A lot of advisors went into hibernation the last couple of years.

M&A market for RIAs sprints to record start in 2010
Deals are mostly smaller thus far but activity behind the scenes is intense

Friday 4.9.10
Legislators haven't been under this much pressure to reform financial services since after the Great Depression.

Regulatory Wire: Everything an RIA needs to know about the reform agenda in Washington
If major change doesn't occur, it won't be for lack of effort

Friday 4.9.10
Jeff Maurer: U.S. Trust was our launching pad, but our business plan does not rely on shopping at U.S. Trust.

Evercore is looking to its future after lifting out a huge team of U.S. Trust financial advisors
Former U.S. Trust CEO Jeff Maurer has brought his old magic to the new RIA

Thursday 4.8.10
The Apple iPad: a fancy toy, or an efficiency game-changer?

Bill Winterberg outlines the potential benefits and shortcomings of the Apple iPad for advisors
Most software companies and publications serving the market have yet to develop apps

Thursday 4.8.10
John Edwards: Obviously, it's a benefit if my clients follow me.

Evermay Wealth Management adds another ex-banker to its RIA
John Edwards was looking for a place that utilizes alternative investments

Wednesday 4.7.10
Readership on RIABiz has been surprisingly international

What do RIAs care about?
A breadcrumb path through RIABiz into the mind of financial services entrepreneurs

Wednesday 4.7.10
Les Abromovitz: Solo practitioners need to have a succession plan, too.

The SEC wants you to consider the catastrophes
How an RIA should prepare for the worst

Wednesday 4.7.10
George Ball: (That amount) will put us in the upper echelon of the operating companies making acquisitions.

Sanders Morris Harris Group, serious competitor to the big roll-ups, launches bid from Texas
Led by former head of Prudential-Bache Securities, company has at least $15 million to spend on big RIAs and breakaways

Monday 4.5.10
Ron Rhoades: The more you make brokers and advisers look the same, the more likely it is that FINRA will end up regulating them all.

What financial advisors can expect from Washington this spring: 8 predictions
Financial reform will move forward, but regulation will move backward

Monday 4.5.10
James Surowiecki: Paradoxically, ignoring these people has turned out to be a great way of getting lots of customers.

James Surowiecki has lessons for RIAs about marketing's mushy middle
New Yorker writer warns against the amorphous marketing blob that GM and Dell succumbed to

Friday 4.2.10
John Choudhary and Anne-Day McCabe found Wells Fargo's fixed income and bond selections particularly strong.

A young advisory pair escaped wirehouse cost cuts to land at Wells Fargo
Moving from one tarnished brand, UBS, to one of the strongest in the business

Thursday 4.1.10
Nevin Freeman and his laptop -- where the RIABiz web site was born

RIABiz's gentle redesign marks the beginning of Q2
An inside look for regular readers

Thursday 4.1.10



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