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Articles Published January 2011


The number of companies joining the Broker Protocol dropped by nearly a third in 2010 compared with 2009.

Fewer companies join Protocol as downsides emerge
Recruitment not a one-way street; a longer list means poaching within the RIA world becomes more likely

Monday 1.31.11
Bob Margolis

Goodbye to Bob Margolis, true friend of independent advisors
A regular contributor to RIABiz, Bob died in New York City earlier this month

Monday 1.31.11
Brian Hamburger: The SEC is lining up the facts so that later the conclusion becomes obvious (it can’t regulate advisors with current resources). ... It’s genius, what they’re looking to do, but it’s incredibly transparent.

The RIABiz list of winners and losers in the wake of the SEC's fiduciary study
The race is on as laggards adapt to new vision of the future

Friday 1.28.11
Brian Stimpfl: There's an attraction and a curiosity to a different way of doing business.

Brian Stimpfl resurfaces in an entrepreneurial mode
The TD Ameritrade fixture teams up with Spenser Segal at Actifi; he took a few yoga classes

Friday 1.28.11
Scott Dell'Orfano: The average is well up from what we saw at this time last year

Big advisors drive solid year for breakaway wins at Schwab, Fidelity, Pershing and TD
Aggregators drive momentum in 2011

Thursday 1.27.11
Fred St Laurent says that when Krawcheck is in charge, his job gets harder.

Sallie Krawcheck, A Recruiter’s Nightmare
Criticized and often at the center of a business storm, she has emerged as Wall Street's problem-solver -- and she's doing it again at Merrill Lynch

Thursday 1.27.11
Matthias Paul Kuhlmey: We’re in the beautiful position to buy best of class (products and services) nevertheless you need an in-house function to hold it together.

HighTower makes an executive out of a partner to fine-tune advisor access to investments
Former UBS advisor will simplify the bewildering investment-related choices afforded by open architecture

Wednesday 1.26.11
Rob Isbitts: Convertibles, Long-Short, High Yield Bond had strong gains relative to risk.

Winter winds hitting bond investors, China takes a pass, alternatives posted strong gains: Morningstar data
But fund categories that bond investors tend to favor when 'reaching for yield' were up nicely in December

Wednesday 1.26.11
Andy Rachleff: Getting a minute-by-minute view into what your money managers are doing doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t a long-term investor.

Investing in the Digital Age: Why real-time data is a must-have for RIAs and long-term investors
The investment industry has created a classist system of haves and have-nots when it comes to information

Wednesday 1.26.11
Shirl Penney: We are very satisfied with the terms of the agreement.

Dynasty Financial Partners ends legal squabble with Bank of America, clearing deck for growth
The high-profile startup may have passed up chance to win its case, an attorney says

Tuesday 1.25.11
Sharon Daniels: With the various branches at Banyan, this will give us immediate opportunities to meet personally with more of our clients.

In a triple merger, fast-growing Florida RIA scoops up an LPL advisor and a fellow asset manager to double firm size
More deals involving IBD advisors on the horizon as shift to fees makes combinations possible

Tuesday 1.25.11
Joe Stallings: Many offices around the metro area struggled to continue with business as usual.

How a big Atlanta RIA kept sledding with technology after snow paralyzed the city
Where snow shovels left off, laptops, iPads, iPhones, NetX360 and some forethought took over

Tuesday 1.25.11
Chuck Bean: When I was a little fish, I relied heavily on the broker-dealer.

IBD reps are new wave of breakaways to the RIA channel, say some recruiters and custodians
Schwab has a 45% jump in IBD teams in 2010; others see a similar trend

Monday 1.24.11
Bill Crager of Envestnet: "There was a lot of momentum toward the fiduciary standard. Now the implications find their way throughout the industry."

(Updated) Groundbreaking SEC study would smash old regulatory system, creating fiduciary brokers and more regulated advisors
Controversy and conflict emerge as SIFMA, Schwab and others begin to react

Monday 1.24.11
Ron Rhoades: The SEC will require the support of many professional groups and consumer groups, as well as that of the media and general public, to overcome the ferocious attacks which are certain to follow.

One-Man Think Tank: SEC courage likely to be tested in coming months
Study on fiduciary standard may be the most significant advance for investor protection in a half-century, but real progress will be made rule by rule

Monday 1.24.11
Alex Potts, CEO of Loring Ward: "To throw more bureaucracy at a system that has been working well ... it almost makes you cringe."

Six things to know about this week's big DC news
RIAs have the winning business model, but also more competition

Friday 1.21.11
Greg Vigrass: We have some pretty rabid fans.

Folio Institutional finds its winning formula for RIA custody in specialized trading technology
Ability to allow advisors purchases of partial shares has applications in 401(k), model portfolios and investments in Berkshire Hathaway

Friday 1.21.11
Mary Schapiro:A fiduciary owes its customers and clients more than mere honesty and good faith alone.

How 10 top groups define 'fiduciary'
Obama administration, SEC, FINRA, FPA, fi360, U.S. Supreme Court and SIFMA raise fiduciary bar to different heights

Friday 1.21.11
Bernie Clark: Advisors are back.

With a rebound in net flows from its biggest advisors, Schwab finishes 2010 with a flourish
Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services records a $100 billion asset jump

Thursday 1.20.11
SEC Report: Imposing user fees would avoid the difficult scope of authority, membership, governance, and funding issues raised by an SRO.

(Updated) SEC presses case for user fees in much-anticipated report to Congress
While giving downsides for the idea of an SRO to govern advisors, the SEC opens the door for Congress to consider all options

Thursday 1.20.11
Les Abromovitz: Glowing remarks by clients may count as testimonials.

Considering hosting a radio show? The SEC may tune in.
Radio programs and commercials pose compliance complications. Disclosure helps.

Thursday 1.20.11
Chuck Moran, of the CFB Board of Standards board of directors: “We were looking for a more definitive recognition of financial planning."

GAO study puts insurance agents up for scrutiny as it rejects idea of sweeping RIAs, b-ds, planners into one regulatory pool
A disappointment to those advocating for a financial planning profession, the study details the hodgepodge of regulation without recommending major changes

Wednesday 1.19.11
Gordon Murray used his final months of life to advocate on behalf of investors -- and got huge global attention.

After two years of defying the odds, Gordon Murray, co-author of The Investment Answer, dies of cancer
The DFA acoloyte helped take his book from idea to publishing phenomenon in six months

Wednesday 1.19.11
Ric Edelman: One of the biggest hirers in the business looks for 10 years of experience and the ability to assist clients to implement their financial plans.

RIAs are hiring like crazy in 2011 but sticker shock, picked-over talent pool may await laggards
The recession was so deep this time around that advisors may find good talent in the bread lines

Tuesday 1.18.11
Jim Alfred is joining Asset Dedication after stints at Advent Software and Black Diamond

Asset Dedication, Mariner Holdings, California Investment Trust and BondDesk make key hires
Hiring moves by advisory business firms show labor market is picking up

Tuesday 1.18.11
Scott Leonard: This trip was the motivation to make some decisions about hiring good employees and paying them well, even when it’s sometimes been difficult to do that.

Advisor spotlight: How one advisor is building his practice to sustain a three-year sailing sabbatical
Having built two businesses and a $450 million book with a partner, Scott Leonard has made himself intentionally irrelevant now

Tuesday 1.18.11
The Top 10 on RIABiz last month included a story about Charles Goldman.

What advisors care about: technology, hiring, Schwab's lawsuit against a broker hit top RIABiz stories this month
A new platform for alternative assets, plus the regulatory moves expected this year also make the list

Monday 1.17.11
Gary Gastineau: ETFs are a great improvement over mutual funds, but you can’t deliver their full value to your clients unless you trade them economically.

The basic ETF trading practices that can save your clients money
How NAV-based trading will change the market

Monday 1.17.11
Nick Georgis: Schwab has had conversations with SEC staff.

Schwab takes high-profile stand opposing self-regulatory organization for advisors
Largest custodian opposes FINRA on heavily lobbied issue

Friday 1.14.11
Skip Schweiss: "I had in mind that some organization that is familiar with the fiduciary standard practiced by RIAs would set the standards, then perhaps an organization like FINRA could lend its examination expertise/process/infrastructure."

Advisory factions steel for end game as SEC's verdict on FINRA SRO comes down
As action moves to Congress, a flurry of meetings and Schwab's appearance

Friday 1.14.11
David Canter: It’s not just business development.

Fidelity teams with Manpower to bolster RIA efforts to staff up
Custodians see advisory firms in hiring mode

Friday 1.14.11
Darlene DeRemer: The bank wasn’t looking to sell per se, but they were open to looking at ideas.

United Capital scoops up a $1.6 billion wealth manager from M&T
Quick, efficient deal, aided by top investment banker, may be the blueprint for growth-by-chunks for California aggregator

Thursday 1.13.11
Alan Foxman: Is arbitration the greatest thing since sliced bread, or is it the proverbial kangaroo court?

In the duel of FINRA vs. state courts, one comes out on top for most advisors
Rarely seen stats shed light on whether you are more likely to win in arbitration

Thursday 1.13.11
Rudy Adolf: We have plenty of capital and a $40 billion business has a very good cash flow.

After one-year hiatus, Focus Financial buys a large RIA and hits a milestone
The deal brings it to $40 billion as the company makes a big Midwest push

Wednesday 1.12.11
Norm Boone:  "(The settlement) seems like a pretty small amount. I’d guess this isn’t going to do more than cover attorneys’ fees.”

YieldPlus fallout darkens advisors' view of Schwab as asset manager
Loyal custodial clients are skeptical after settlement and fraud charges

Wednesday 1.12.11
Kristian Colvin: I’m not sure why they made such a stink of me leaving.

How Schwab failed to block one broker's breakaway and what the legal battle may mean for the future
Industry insiders say they're stunned by a recent courthouse loss

Tuesday 1.11.11
Rich Saperstein's practice has doubled its high net worth assets under management since joining HighTower.

Rich Saperstein helps establish new strategy for HighTower Advisors as he transforms his own $10 billion practice
New York practice executes first 'tuck-in' with addition of Steve Bogner

Tuesday 1.11.11
David Wisehaupt: It's "the greatest utility that I have owned in my business life."

Advisor Tested: iPad proves ideal for advisors on-the-go; the surprise is the effect on clients
The rock star of the mobile world evolves into a tool for reassurance and retention

Monday 1.10.11
Mike Byrnes: Advisors that cannot easily be found online, and advisors that make a bad first impression online, are losing leads

Top marketing trends for 2011, and checklists for handling each
In the new year, sharpen your planning for staff turnover, prospecting, client communication

Monday 1.10.11
Philip Palaveev: If I had to name our biggest competition – it will be firms like Commonwealth and Cambridge.

Former Moss Adams star begins to taste success in the 'real' world
Philip Palaveev's Fusion Network finds revenue momentum and wins proselytizing advisors

Friday 1.7.11
Tea Partiers such as Michele Bachmann may change the enforcement landscape for investment advisors by putting some agencies on starvation budgets.

The 7 government actions that could reshape the advisory business in 2011
Funding may derail some grand plans, but regulations roll on (and so do tax threats)

Friday 1.7.11
Rex Macey shows how to find the value in converting a traditional IRA into two “antithetical” Roth IRAs.

One killer Roth conversion strategy in seeking a single-digit tax return
Underlying the approach: The government has provided an option to “unconvert” converted Roths

Friday 1.7.11
Eric Clarke: It's definitely a unique approach

Orion Advisor Services goes mobile with advisor-branded apps for the iPhone and Android
App relies heavily on HTML5, in line with the trend for portfolio management mobile applications

Thursday 1.6.11
Aaron Grey: People working with us don’t have to sacrifice anything in terms of life’s little conveniences.

How Orion Advisor Services became a mobile device pioneer and how competitors plan to react
The first-mover edge may hold for a while for Black Diamond and Orion

Thursday 1.6.11
Pat Allen: My favorite content from the year broke new ground, introduced new ideas, deepened my understanding or changed my mind.

How 25 pieces of web content from 2010 should guide an advisor's digital approach for 2011
Top research, analysis and marketing that help humanize the financial services business are among Pat Allen's choices

Thursday 1.6.11
Mont Levy: We see the DFA advisors looking at this opportunity very closely.

Buckingham expedites turnkey 401(k) strategy by buying a fellow DFA TAMP
Competitors for advisors' business (like that little company, Fidelity) aren't sitting still as demand surges

Wednesday 1.5.11
Mike Henkel: There’s a recognition of the breakaway movement.

Envestnet deepens relationship with PIMCO, BlackRock and other big guns of investment management
Wirehouse broker demand and the TAMP's critical mass help usher in the changes

Wednesday 1.5.11
Marty Bicknell: It’s definitely about growth geographically, and we’ve struggled with it.

Big Midwestern RIA buys itself a national presence in deal with CBIZ
Mariner Holdings passes $8 billion of AUM; still eyeing $50 billion

Tuesday 1.4.11
David Hubbard: I don’t admire the financial services industry in general. It’s way too easy to get into the business and stay in.  Nobody does scorekeeping as far as how we’re helping our clients get to their goals.

Advisor spotlight: A Chicagoland RIA shows how to weave a business out of revenue-sharing deals
David Hubbard thinks of himself as Johnny Appleseed, devising business plans to help fellow advisors grow

Tuesday 1.4.11
(Pictured in the center) Thong Nguyen: We’ve barely scratched the surface. (Also pictured) Dick Silverman, left, vice chairman, U.S. Trust, and Keith Banks, president, U.S. Trust and co-head, Private Wealth Management, Bank of America

U.S. Trust seeks to add hundreds of wealth managers with West Coast-facing poaching campaign
The challenges are obvious, but with Thong Nguyen directing the effort, the Old Money bank stands a chance in the land of nouveau riche, analysts say

Monday 1.3.11
One way U.S. Trust is attracting talent from competitors is by selling them on managing dream assets -- vineyards included

U.S. Trust’s latest hires and what’s expected of them
The venerable institution is promising a better life but no wirehouse-style bonuses

Monday 1.3.11
The phone calls flowing into our offices from web sites looking to partner with us signify that more people are becoming aware of the slow revolution in financial services.

RIABiz stories find a second home on one of the Internet's biggest news sites
Why that's good news for advisors, too

Monday 1.3.11

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