Articles Published August 2010

Mike Durbin: WealthCentral eliminates a major difficulty in breaking away

Fidelity wins converts to WealthCentral, but most of its advisors have yet to make the switch
The giant technology project is behind Fidelity's schedule but ahead of one analyst's expectations

Tuesday 8.31.10
Summer's last gasp: Advocates for advisors and broker-dealers were putting in long days to prepare comments on the fiduciary standard to send to the SEC's Mary Schapiro and the other commissioners.

Old foes in the fiduciary debate join new battle to sway SEC's six-month study
Advocates were working down to the wire to submit comments by the end of yesterday

Tuesday 8.31.10
Craig Morningstar: If you’re considering a change, seek solutions that deliver better profits, not just payout.

Contrasting two breakaways: one a success story, one a cautionary tale
One broker lost 30% of his book. What can you do to avoid that fate?

Monday 8.30.10
Look for RIABiz coverage of a major study on the industry Wednesday. Also to come: an in-depth look at a big custodian's technology investment.

What articles are brewing at RIABiz
A sweeping RIA study and big RIA technology are in our spotlights

Monday 8.30.10
Fred St. Laurent: One way to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to recruiters is to ask about the Broker Protocol.

How financial advisors should manage the record deluge of recruiter phone calls
Plus, how RIA firms can tell if they're retaining the right person to find candidates

Friday 8.27.10
Bernie Clark: Complicated markets make clear the need for 'prudent, objective, and personalized' guidance from RIAs.

The nine things Schwab's new study shows about how big RIAs are managing client assets
Inflation fears have evaporated and advisor attitudes toward cash investments are bipolar

Thursday 8.26.10
Joe Burris: Banks that create products oriented at RIAs report that this is the fastest-growing segment of their structured products business in the United States.

Two years after taking blame for Wall Street's crisis, structured products are finding a place in RIA portfolios
A column that makes the case for a much-maligned investment vehicle

Thursday 8.26.10
Denise Voigt Crawford: Advisors who haven't had an SEC audit recently -- or ever -- should expect an examiner's knock on the door soon after they switch to state oversight.

What advisors should know about the next sweeping change: the switch from SEC oversight to state regulation
It could impose most on advisors spread out across multiple states

Wednesday 8.25.10
Ben Bernanke's popularity with advisors stays steady in turbulent markets

9 things worth knowing from Schwab's newest advisor study
Social media is not catching on with big advisors but alternative investments are

Wednesday 8.25.10
Having been through the integration of U.S. Trust into Bank of America and then watching the beginning of Merrill Lynch’s acquisition, Stacey Reinhart predicts continuing instability, which she says is bound to hurt clients.

U.S. Trust advisor joins an RIA after surviving the firm's sale to Bank of America
Stacey Reinhart joins Emerson Investment Management to get back to basics

Tuesday 8.24.10
Jennifer Nealson: I believe this was a differentiator for us.

How two big RIAs convinced two service providers to shift course on technology
Trust Company of America and Adhesion Wealth both listened to advisors with special requests

Tuesday 8.24.10
Kevin Crowe: We think it's a real game changer

SEI turns a big corner but Genworth is still the big asset gatherer
The top TAMP finally shows positive inflows after attracting double last year's new advisors

Monday 8.23.10
The RIABiz partners are very rarely in the same place at the same time; in fact, this is our first real team photo!

Notes from the RIABiz one-year anniversary party
The spirit of the RIA Business was strong at this backyard event

Monday 8.23.10
Tim Killgoar: The conversations I’ve had [with FAs] – they like the fact we’re going to help them out.

Raymond James seeks to raise client experience without raising advisor hackles
The job of Tim Killgoar is to have the corporation have its own positive relationship to end clients -- without infringing on its financial advisors

Friday 8.20.10
Barnaby Grist: He will bolster the already-impressive resources that we offer to help our advisors develop and strengthen their client relationships.

Cetera finds talent again at Schwab to fill national sales director position
Barnaby Grist taps former colleague Mark Palmer for big job

Friday 8.20.10
What if the free markets, the SEC and the Department of Labor all drive in different directions?

Advisor vs. Advisor: Two RIAs and two brokers advocate [a total of] four different ways of earning fees and caring for clients
Comment boards: Advisors argue separately for principles-based care, non-principles-based care, 12(b)-1 fees and their eradication

Thursday 8.19.10
Ron Rhoades: Our firm never recommends any fund which possesses a non-waived sales load, 12b-1 fees, or which pays soft dollar compensation.

One-Man Think Tank: A method for analyzing and comparing the costs and fees for mutual funds and ETFs
Fees weigh down the performance of a fund. Why don't more advisors pay attention?

Thursday 8.19.10
Broker protocol: Just as it is a recruiting tool for smaller firms to use against the big wirehouses, competitors within the independent space may eventually begin using it against each other.

Signaling steady pace of breakaway broker movement, 20 new companies join the Broker Protocol
Among them: Cambridge Wealth Management, The ETF Store, Nationwide Planning Associates, NPA Financial Services

Thursday 8.19.10
Michael Russo: Once a practice gets too big, not all the assets can be funneled to top-notch boutique managers.

[Updated] Former wealth manager for Montgomery Securities and Presidio Financial is remaking his [big] practice in wine country as an RIA
Michael Russo is signing clients and making hires from digs in Napa

Wednesday 8.18.10
Jeff Handy: As I was interviewing I got that heavy sense of foreboding.

Former head of private client unit at Thomas Weisel Partners joins an RIA
Jeff Handy becomes part of Argos Wealth Advisors and reunites with old Montgomery Securities rainmaker

Wednesday 8.18.10
Mike Byrnes: Listening in on the Financial Advisor's Summit for wisdom on sales and marketing strategies, he picks up tips like this one: Don't tell clients, "We offer peace of mind." It's a cliché.

Fast take on growth: Five tips on marketing and sales strategies that work amid fears of a double-dip
Financial Advisor's Summit speakers urge focus, authenticity -- and avoiding clichés. Don't say: We offer peace of mind.

Tuesday 8.17.10
Meredith Rice: RIAs leaned toward PacificLife, Prudential and Fidelity.

Study: Variable annuity providers show some gains in tackling RIA market
Cogent Research shows that RIAs gave VAs a chance in 2008 but the romance may be short-lived

Tuesday 8.17.10
James Surowiecki: The very rich have been pulling away from the pretty rich and the very, very rich have been pulling away from the very rich.

Why some people are so rich that they can sustain a tax increase and maintain their lifestyle
The merely rich really are not rich enough to pay more taxes but very, very rich people are, according to a New Yorker article

Tuesday 8.17.10
Jud Bergman: "There will be opportunities that we want to take advantage of to accelerate that growth."

How Envestnet may use its IPO to speed growth
The IPO cash positions it for capital-intensive deals and acqusitions, but the big TAMP may not be rushing in to anything

Monday 8.16.10
Vern Sumnicht: We took our knocks. We had no profit for four or five years ... even salaries were smaller.

Advisor spotlight: Vern Sumnicht was determined to diversify -- but it cost him
Investments in talent are beginning to bear fruit with a new firm that licenses model ETF portfolios

Monday 8.16.10
Steve Sanduski is overseeing an effort to quadruple the PEAK clientele by creating an affordable web-based product

The top LPL producer has a second RIA-related company that could eclipse the stature of the first one
Ron Carson started PEAK in 2001 and it's already grown to an impressive size

Friday 8.13.10
Andy Rachleff: It’s laughable for the mutual fund lobbyists to suggest that an informed consumer equates to a confused customer.

A cap on 12b(1) fees is going to have one predictable result. Think carnival games.
What consumers need is not a cap, but some sunshine to disinfect mutual funds

Friday 8.13.10
Keith McKenzie: We really don’t want to take a day off. We’re having so much fun with the business.

RIAs take short, BlackBerry-intensive vacations in the summer of 2010
Taking a break from the grind for advisors is more like business-lite as markets roil

Thursday 8.12.10
Charles Goldman: Off advisors' minds.

What do advisors care about? The new SEC that emerged in July, for one thing.
Plus, what a Smith Barney breakaway team is finding out about financial plans

Thursday 8.12.10
Rob Isbitts: You can be a hero. This is a time you should be defining for clients and prospects the major difference between just buying funds as a do-it-yourselfer and constructing portfolios.

The 10 most likely contributors to the next market panic
Certain technical indicators point to a market bottom in seasonally weak September-October

Wednesday 8.11.10
The recent hires of Nikol Tennant and Priyadarshini Radhakrishnan are helping Robert Levitt to make his worldly business model work

Robert Levitt is building a big RIA practice in Florida from France and Indonesia
Customers may pay a little more but get a very different investing approach

Wednesday 8.11.10
California: What does the state's dilemma tell us about the municipal bonds?

Advisor: Muni's no longer seem the deal they once did, but some deserve a look (even in California)
One company's strategy for navigating a market that's grown more demanding

Wednesday 8.11.10
Andy Rachleff: KaChing is setting itself up as an alternative to mutual funds for smaller investors, and may benefit advisors in the process.

Can Silicon Valley rewire the RIA business? eBay investors think KaChing is the answer
VC-backed start-up leverages the web to offer complete transparency; firm also has a back-end platform it's offering RIAs for portfolio management

Tuesday 8.10.10
Les Abromovitz: You need to be extremely careful when conducting free lunch seminars, since regulators are keeping a watchful eye on them.

Four active marketing strategies that can lead to compliance trouble
How far can RIAs go with advertisements? Part deux

Tuesday 8.10.10
Jack Swope has no regrets about breaking away after a 23-year career at Smith Barney

Why Smith Barney is now the most target-rich environment for recruiters of breakaways
The biggest wirehouse's changes in branches, compliance and culture have opened the vault door

Monday 8.9.10
Mindy Diamond: Morgan Stanley has a supreme name and a swagger.

Counterpoint: Intra-Wall Street recruiting by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney has picked up in the past 60 days
Results of reinvigorated efforts may show up on Labor Day

Monday 8.9.10
Ron Rhoades: If you read to the end of this column, you may conclude that due diligence is not easy. But whoever said being an RIA should be?

One-Man Think Tank: Inside the due diligence that uncovered serious questions about a REIT
Ron's firm convinced an investor to sell his shares after an analysis that looked at the share redemption program

Monday 8.9.10
Zachary Gronich predicts a huge bottleneck in the annual registration process “as every RIA in the country will now have to rewrite the document that is at the heart of their business."

New regulatory world dawns with oppressive ADV Part 2 form
Advisors were expecting it -- but that doesn't make it any more pleasant

Friday 8.6.10
Mike Byrnes: Rather than beat their heads on the wall to get their product message heard, wholesalers are taking another approach.

10 fund wholesalers and executives offer views about how they seek to add value for RIAs
To get advisors' respect and attention, these salesmen are morphing into consultants

Friday 8.6.10
Ben Welch: iRebal’s client base, currently at 67 firms, has doubled in the last two year. It has also experienced a five-fold increase in developers to five full-timers

Tech Review: iRebal thrives after TD Ameritrade acquisition
The trailblazing rebalancer is tweaking its business model but staying focused on big RIAs

Thursday 8.5.10
Four partners: RIABiz began with Founder Brooke Southall's vision. He's upper left. Clockwise: Editor Elizabeth MacBride, Chief Technology Officer Nevin Freeman and Sales Director Frank Noto.

Happy [First] Birthday RIABiz
After a year of formation, it's full speed ahead

Thursday 8.5.10
Craig Gordon is making sure that the Royal Bank of Canada gives RIAs all benefits of scale enjoyed by the company's staff brokers.

8 ways that the RIA business is achieving scale at breakneck speed
IPOs, venture capitalists, RIAs and big corporations are all spending heavily to make it easier for RIAs to become big business

Wednesday 8.4.10
Where the wealthy are: A new study shows that Boston and San Jose have fallen in the rankings.

The population of high net worth individuals is growing again, at fastest rate in four years
New York remains king, but Houston is a fast-rising up-and-comer

Wednesday 8.4.10
Andrew Morse: I have yet to work for an investment bank that hasn’t gone out of business or was brought back from the brink.

HighTower wins big UBS team and clinches 'critical mass'
The Chicago-based aggregator is breaking even and signing leases for more office space in three cities

Tuesday 8.3.10
Nancy Ma-Apfel: The buzz in the industry and from clients helped convince her to jump from Schwab to Black Diamond.

Black Diamond nabs a Schwab veteran as it gears up for new service approach
Fast-growing software provider is creating separate service team to transfer RIA performance history

Tuesday 8.3.10
Gerri Leder: In the tradition of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign disclosure, I’d like to confess that I experimented with profanity a time or two, but I didn’t email ...

No eff-ing way: Goldman professionals can’t email profanely?
This is not a joke.

Monday 8.2.10
George Kinder: The business opportunities are just popping, and they’re too significant to ignore.

With England playing catch-up in becoming more RIA-like, George Kinder moves his family to Europe
Demand for knowledge of how to act like an RIA is 'popping' across the pond and so the Buddhist consultant is meeting it

Monday 8.2.10


THE Industry Sourcebook for RIAs