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Articles Published March 2011


Yanni Bousnakis is a prize catch for First Allied.

First Allied pushes the advisory envelope with hire of LPL executive
Yanni Bousnakis will help Matt McGinness fashion a way for advisors to manage on a discretionary basis at the IBD

Thursday 3.31.11
Tom Lydon: It shows we’ve got our heads in the game.

How ETF Trends' Tom Lydon went from blog writer to hirer of veteran Dow Jones talent
Looks to double content, reach traders and build on 17,000 subscribers

Wednesday 3.30.11
Chatham Wealth Management's Dan Moskowitz: When I started to hear that the TD program was getting a lot better, I said “Let’s see if there’s a way we can make this work.”

Advisor spotlight: TD Ameritrade referrals help turn quiet advisory into a fast-growth operation
Chatham Wealth Management doubles assets in two years

Wednesday 3.30.11
Les Abromovitz suggests that advisors file their ADV forms even if they're not happy with the content: 'You are at least making a good faith effort to be compliant.'

How suitable are your investment strategies? The SEC cares, a lot.
New ADV form heightens attention to the issue

Wednesday 3.30.11
Bernie Clark: Why would you claim the middle ground of being a quasi-employee (at an IBD) with a lesser brand name?

Virtually all big IBD reps covet the independent RIA life, Schwab study says
Schwab's Bernie Clark and TD's Tom Nally see IBD reps undergoing a palpable mood switch, but Fidelity's Mike Durbin and Pershing's Mark Tibergien are unconvinced

Tuesday 3.29.11
Jim McTague: We're going to have to get used to volatility, like we have to get used to the fact there may be radiation in our water from Japan.

Wake-up call: ETFs feel the heat of NASSA's exotics panel
Beloved for their stellar qualities by RIAs, they are nonetheless the casino chip du jour for many traders

Tuesday 3.29.11
Lori Hardwick: RIAs require a much longer sales cycle.

Envestnet to zero in on RIAs and family offices
Two new hires from Fidelity's National Financial and Fortgent LLC reflect the outsourcer's strategic direction

Monday 3.28.11
Bob Veres: My own view of the future is that  there won't be very many sales to lending institutions or roll-ups.

Bob Veres' level-headed response to Mark Hurley on valuation
Conflicts of interest are culprits in the extreme positions being taken in the debate, he says

Monday 3.28.11
Ric Edelman: It hasn’t proven to be a problem for Charles Schwab.

Radio-star RIAs drive giant growth at national chains one $400,000 investor at a time
Edelman and Mutual Fund Store each surpass $6 billion of assets and, post-recession, they're throwing up stores with abandon

Friday 3.25.11
Dave Emma: Athletes get taken advantage of and that happened to me.

A hockey star went from being a Merrill Lynch client to a Merrill Lynch advisor to the latest Merrill Lynch breakaway
Despite misgivings for 20 years, Dave Emma stayed largely for the culture and then Bank of America came along

Friday 3.25.11
Rob Isbitts: There's not much of an effort to get this valuable information into the hands of investors.

How capture ratios can help you prepare for the next downturn
A tool little noticed by investors can help you determine which investment style works in which market

Friday 3.25.11
Todd Thomson: All the best products, the best thinking, the best money managers, used to be on Wall Street. Today, none of that is on Wall Street.

In a Q&A, Todd Thomson explains why Wall Street's glitter faded beside Dynasty opportunity
The former Smith Barney chief is mentoring his young colleagues and raising capital from Wall Street veterans

Thursday 3.24.11
Shirl Penney: We all believe this is a unique time for a mature industry.

RIABiz goes to New York in search of RIA life in the land of investment banking giants
The ambitions of Dynasty Financial's Shirl Penney and Focus Financial's Rudy Adolf match the city's scale

Thursday 3.24.11
Gregory T. Friedman: We weren't looking like market leaders.

Junxure moving to the cloud amid market pressures
In an unusual move, CRM Software's Greg Friedman pre-announces the product release by nearly a year

Wednesday 3.23.11
Mark Hurley: Wealth management firm operating margins are under assault from accelerating non-owner compensation, the single largest cost in the wealth manager economic model.

Mark Hurley takes on Bob Veres in round two of the valuation debate
Veres 'fanned the flames' but didn't account for certain key points, like the rising cost of labor and the expense of winning new clients, says Hurley

Wednesday 3.23.11
WealthCentral Mobile is available for download in the Android Market

Fidelity slips in ahead of Pershing on Google phones with WealthCentral for Android
Functionality is just like the iPhone version, with no mobile trading yet

Tuesday 3.22.11
Gary Davis: Our goal is to educate and drive the industry towards approaching compliance as a key part of the overall operations of the firm, not something to be addressed in a silo.

MarketCounsel buys Beneficial Concepts Group with an eye toward calming smaller RIAs' compliance fears
Brian Hamburger believes new regulatory challenges require new approach

Tuesday 3.22.11
Robert Arnott: The typical approach for managing taxable portfolios, acting as if the taxes cannot be reduced or deferred, remains the industry standard.

Is your alpha big enough 
to cover its taxes? A classic journal article, revisited
Still true, nearly 20 years later: The lack of tax-savvy among advisors hurts clients

Tuesday 3.22.11
Dan Silver: The goal is to form one of the top firms in the country

E*TRADE unwinds its RIA roll-up, and a giant RIA rises in the Boston burbs
Mark Hurley chips in the cash and Liz Nesvold sells Kobren for a second time

Monday 3.21.11
Monument Wealth Management designed its office around its 200-square-foot Planning Room, where partners use custom-made glass panels to offer clients a free, detailed look at their finances.

Advisor Spotlight: Monument Wealth Management shows that A-plus office space isn't just for ad agencies and law firms
The former Merrill brokers moved to a bedroom community but kept the urban chic

Monday 3.21.11
Barnaby Grist: "We’re big enough where we can spend a lot of money. We’re ready to show the world. We want them to come look at us."

Cetera's big fee move with a game-changing twist
Barnaby Grist has been laying the groundwork for the incentives change for a year

Friday 3.18.11
Ron Rhoades:  In essence, the “theory” of FIAs often fails in its execution, due to poor product design and abusive sales practices.

The ABCs of doing due diligence on fixed income annuities
State regulators are stepping up as the SEC, reigned in by Dodd Frank, retreats on regulation of fixed income annuities

Friday 3.18.11
Merion's Richard Hughes: HIs job will be to integrate advisors who want to offload back-office operations and remain active equity partners, the company said.

Merion Wealth Partners, Cambridge Investment Research and Mariner Holdings make hires with big-league experience
New employees come from Envestnet, Janus and JPMorgan

Friday 3.18.11
Presidio's Paul Boscacci: Advent has just been a little arrogant in their approach, but they’re changing that.

Black Diamond wins a $4-billion RIA right in Advent's backyard
Presidio execs said they appreciated Peter Hess's involvement, but passed on fellow San Francisco firm

Thursday 3.17.11
Sue Thompson: We look at the glass as 92% empty; there’s a whole lot of running left to do.

How BlackRock plans to grow iShares using advisors as one key
The New York powerhouse will focus on helping RIAs that are heavy users to succeed

Wednesday 3.16.11
Matthew Robinson: Even many advisors are bewildered when it comes to choosing among 800 different ETFs.

Would the intern buy an ETF?
After an investigation into ETFs, Matt Robinson, RIABiz's intern from the fall, says he wants the low-stress approach to investing

Wednesday 3.16.11
One advisor uses a personal assistant app, Siri, to find things when he's on the road, such as the nearest gas station or a Chinese restaurant.

Advisor Tested: Top iPad apps for RIAs
Dragon Dictation, Time Tracker and, surprisingly, iTunes are among those cited by advisors

Wednesday 3.16.11
Bob Veres: Hurley overlooks a key ingredient: growth.

Bob Veres adds his bottom line to valuation debate started by Mark Hurley
If you build it, what will they buy it for?

Tuesday 3.15.11
Mike Golaszewski: One of the things that brought me 3,000 miles across the country (from Schwab) was that Pershing actually does a really good job of knowing where the puck’s going.

Pershing keeps ahead in the mobile space with an Android app and mobile trading
The adoption rate by advisors is still very small but the big clearing is undeterred

Tuesday 3.15.11
Wayne Bloom knows first-hand that his advisors are being courted by other firms.  “I even had an RIA try to recruit me."

Commonwealth raises payouts for big advisors and slashes trading commissions
The IBD is competing with LPL, holding ground against RIAs and flexing its muscles, analysts say

Monday 3.14.11
Andy Rachleff: The value of information is undeniable, but it is not truly useful until it can be conveniently accessed, easily integrated into business processes, and professionally supported and verified.

Investing In the Digital Age: How RIAs could start a free-data revolution and why it won't bankrupt the vendors
Data suppliers and software vendors in the investment space are the biggest laggards

Monday 3.14.11
Brooke Southall on a calmer day in Sausalito: It was as if the tide was coming in about 300 times faster than normal.

Tsunami hits RIABiz and hits home
The wave struck my houseboat but its potency lay in the psychic effect

Saturday 3.12.11
Ron Ferguson: The SEC said, You need a third party to act as custodian to provide statement accounting.

Once-sleepy National Advisors Trust has a sparkling year for net new assets
The RIA-owned firm is getting a boost from the SEC's Madoff-inspired custody rule, a new CEO and its own critical mass

Friday 3.11.11
Troy Paredes: The SEC commissioner also spoke, advocating for a regulatory regime that's easier on small firms ‘We should reject a one-size-fits all regulatory regime,” he said.

Eavesdropping on the IAA: JP Morgan exec challenges advisors on FINRA
SRO remains overarching concern; many advisors haven't finished their ADVs; anxiety rises about 'the switch'

Friday 3.11.11
Gurinder Ahluwalia : We’re Trader Joe’s and they’re WalMart.

TAMP assets came easily to Genworth, Envestnet and Loring Ward in 2010 and the fourth quarter sizzled
Giant SEI had a big turnaround but ended on a down quarter

Thursday 3.10.11
Mercer Bullard: "If the CFP Board, the Financial Planning Association or the Investment Adviser Association finally get their act together, they might want to get involved."

Mississippi lawyer Mercer Bullard volunteers to form an RIA SRO and nobody's laughing it off
IAA won't join forces; annual cost to run an SRO could top $150 million

Thursday 3.10.11
Rob Klapprodt: "We really pride ourselves on not limiting how our clients do business."

Giant of the broker-dealer tech world takes aim at Advent
Vestmark tailors its platform for RIAs to take advantage of breakaway trends

Wednesday 3.9.11
Greg Plechner: The news was so low ... that everyone was just so quiet. And anyone we did talk to was so irrational.

Hellish memories: Advisors recall rock bottom, March 9, 2009
On the day a zero-market seemed possible, sleep-deprived advisors tried to stop their clients from bailing out. Sometimes they failed.

Wednesday 3.9.11
Phyllis Borzi: It’s quite common for an entity to be subject to multiple legal regimes.  ... It’s just the way things are.

A Q&A with Phyllis Borzi, the DoL powerbroker aiming to remake the retirement market
Borzi says she is pushing through Bush administration initiatives; her expansion of the fiduciary standard is drawing ire

Tuesday 3.8.11
Jeff Geygan: We have clients that are professional golfers, state senators, movie actors ... a leading scientist in his field.

Milwaukee Wealth Management was born when Jeff Geygan's investing strategy hit the UBS wall
A value devotee, his picks at times conflicted with the wirehouse's research department

Tuesday 3.8.11
Les Abromovitz: The fact that another adviser is engaging in the same conduct does not make it compliant. For example, you won’t help your cause by showing examiners other RIA websites that are just as noncompliant as yours is.

What not to do during a state or SEC audit
The four tempting -- but ultimately counterproductive -- tacts advisors sometimes take

Tuesday 3.8.11
Eric Schwartz: The SEC and FINRA obviously didn’t ask the right questions when they were in Madoff’s office. So, there’s a much higher burden (now) and they don’t go by the same cook book.

Cambridge, Commonwealth see reverse breakaways due to compliance fears
Some IBDs are morphing into Super RIAs that make money by charging for oversight of fee-based assets

Monday 3.7.11
Zachary Gronich: "For the state registered people, I’m not really seeing any outrageous new costs beyond that new ADV 2a/2b.”

New Fidelity survey shows advisors are running scared about compliance costs
RIAs, compliance experts and a research group diverge wildly on future costs but a baseline increase in the single-digit thousands seems inevitable

Monday 3.7.11
Timothy Welsh: The latest mobile financial planning applications from Finance Logix and innovative email marketing tools from Boulevard R were among the coolest developments at the conference.

Eavesdropping on the FPA Business Solutions conference: Mobile apps, web-based marketing -- and how you can make the most of the connected world
At the conference-within-a-conference, advisors explored a tech ecosystem

Monday 3.7.11
David Canter: This lets advisors in a really targeted way identify high net worth individuals that they wish to pursue as prospects.

Fidelity launches gigantic referral database to give advisors a shortcut to wealthy prospects
Advisors gain from referrals, but hate asking for them

Friday 3.4.11
Bruce Meyer expects to double assets in first year as a Beacon Pointe employee

Beacon Pointe launches advisor-aggregating effort with first deal in Arizona
TD Ameritrade is 'in the foxhole' in this venture and will send many referrals to these advisors

Thursday 3.3.11
Allison Couch: At Cetera, we’re not trying to retrofit an advisor into our structure.

West Coast talent grab: Cetera hires an LPL exec and Presidio Financial makes a big hire from NY-based Offit
Allison Couch and Paul Boscacci get recruited; their new employers have well-publicized growth plans

Thursday 3.3.11
In February, Walt Bettinger sketched out two major retail and retirement strategy shifts for Schwab.

Walt Bettinger's big moves drew RIABiz readers in February
TD Ameritrade's sunny conference also made the top 10 in February, along with a retirement-world story that seems a harbinger of a changing market

Thursday 3.3.11
Ben Marks: It would defeat the purpose of the hybrid model if we were to custody with other brokers.

How LPL lured advisors from Raymond James, UBS and Ameriprise to its hybrid RIA platform
The big IBD is rapidly growing an RIA custody unit with advisors who want to do fee business in a brokerage environment

Wednesday 3.2.11
Larry Goldbrum: (DOL's proposed rules) will have a significant chilling and negative effect on the retirement plan community.

DOL's proposal puts the screws to legacy 401(k) providers
As SPARK, SIFMA, others cry foul at yesterday's hearing, RIAs may be sitting pretty with the right fiduciary framework in place

Wednesday 3.2.11
Dan Inveen: Making this shift will assure the IBD stays relevant and competitive in relation to independent RIAs.

Pershing study: Why the IBD talent market is headed for trouble and what might reverse the trend
As broker-dealers lose reps, they all have the same strategy for replacement: poaching each other

Tuesday 3.1.11
Adam Sherman: What 50 year-old is going to take a device form a 23 year-old?

How MetLife Securities may use one new Philly rep to boost talent retention and development
Firstrust Financial has cracked the code of collaborating with a community bank

Tuesday 3.1.11
Ron Rhoades: “Sh***y products” – such as the many poor asset-backed securities manufactured in the 2002 to 2008 time frame – would likely not have been manufactured in such great numbers had financial intermediaries been fiduciaries.

One-Man Think Tank: Four red flags in the SEC's fiduciary report
The standard may help right an economy overweighted by finance, but there's a strong chance Wall Street will block it

Tuesday 3.1.11

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