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Articles Published October 2012


Mark Casady: This is the first time we've ever lost a large client.

LPL loses a mega-client -- but not to a competitor
The big IBD also confirmed long-whispered rumors that it's begun to offshore some operations

Wednesday 10.31.12
Todd Thomson lives on an evacuated island but decided to stay with neighbors and depend on generators.

How RIA business players in New York are roughing it through Hurricane Sandy
Principals at Dynasty, Envestnet and AppCrown are engaging in guerrilla tactics to brave near-impossible business conditions

Wednesday 10.31.12
Neesha Hathi: This is where the attorneys go to the side and the project managers take over.

Schwab and Advent Software forge historic agreement -- mostly for the good of Black Diamond users for now
Aided perhaps by the ex-Schwab employees moving to Jacksonville, the two giant RIA forces, both San Francisco-based, are looking happily engaged

Wednesday 10.31.12
Valerie Newell is young, ambitious and happy to hand off some headaches to Marty Bicknell. She says: We want to continue to do what we've done.

With as much finesse as cash, Marty Bicknell wins a $1.3 billion RIA in an auction-style contest
Mariner Wealth Advisors brushed aside a host of competitive bids to absorb Cincinnati-based RiverPoint -- a rare jewel for its size, quality and availability

Tuesday 10.30.12
Even San Francisco isn't the same when New York is under the weather.

What we know about Sandy at RIABiz
The quiet is deafening

Tuesday 10.30.12
Ric Edelman: We need to serve the 99% that hate us, not just rich people.

Ric Edelman is looking to add a $1-billion RIA elephant even as he unveils an online consumer strategy aimed at the chipmunks
Already Barron's No. 1 with predominantly a mass-affluent game, the radio dynamo is ready to invest private equity to add a quick $1 billion of AUM

Monday 10.29.12
Les Abromovitz: An RIA should have ready access to current contact information for clients, employees, regulators, custodians, and service providers.

RIAs must prepare for post-disaster recovery or regulators will lower the boom
Tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, sure, but death, disability and bad succession plans can also be disastrous for clients

Monday 10.29.12
Rich Behrendt:Taking advantage of this unique gifting opportunity before the end of the year could save a tremendous amount in your clients' future estate taxes.

What you need to know about gifting as the Bush tax cuts near their sell-by date
If an Obama reelection triggers the dreaded Taxmageddon, there will be real fallout for those trying to pass on their wealth

Monday 10.29.12
Tom Nally: If we just have a small piece of their business, we won't show up on the radar of senior management and internal operations staff will just look at you with resistance as yet another form to fill out or process to re-engineer.

Tom Nally answers 10 questions that show one seminal shift: TD Ameritrade no longer seeks a few assets and extended probation
The RIA custodian built by taking token accounts from Schwab malcontents then scrambling for the rest is now leaving the peashooter at home

Friday 10.26.12
Schwab says that its RIAs have signaled, finally, a trust in the solidity of the cloud.

Schwab's plan to quickly get 1,750 RIAs off the desktop gets pricing and a pilot
Schwab PortfolioCenter will finally have a cloud option that doesn't take away an advisory firm's control of its data

Friday 10.26.12
Brian Shenson: It's getting more looks (from legacy RIAs) as we add value.

Schwab adds element to plug-and-play technology with eye toward existing RIAs, not just fresh wirehouse recruits
NetDocuments will put electronic files right into the CRM window for RIAs using Schwab OpenView Integrated Office

Friday 10.26.12

What a wave of 401(k) lawsuits tell us about what RIAs really need to worry about
Plaintiff's attorneys have found the soft underbelly of advisors and plan sponsors, but the pitfalls are clear and avoidable

Thursday 10.25.12
Tom Nally: RIAs have seen a 45% asset growth from high net worth investors since 2005, while the wirehouses have only grown 6%.

TD Ameritrade plants its flag in sunny SoCal, playing host to $100 billion worth of RIAs
The Institutional Fall Regional urged innovations as RIAs become the iPhone to the wirehouse's BlackBerry

Thursday 10.25.12
Ross Gerber: We are cultivating a new generation of financial advisors.

19-advisor firm in Santa Monica jumps to LPL with social media-fueled strategy for the underserved under-40 set
Gerber Kawasaki's selection of the big broker down the SoCal road started with a LinkedIn message to Esther Stearns

Thursday 10.25.12
Douglas Hodge: We privatized profit and socialized losses.

New York conference: SIFMA wants members to be like RIAs -- minus the same rules of accountability
Alan Greenspan jumped in on the mea-culpa-fest that included bracingly frank comments from a top Pimco official

Wednesday 10.24.12
Philip Palaveev: All of the examples in the book are real clients I worked with, and some were happening literally as I was writing the chapter.

Finally, an RIA business-of-the-business book with a journalistic soul
Philip Palaveev shows his command of practice management and literary artifice in "The Ensemble Practice"

Wednesday 10.24.12
Dorann Cafaro: We should be worried.

Big chill: Worried RIAs and other 401(k) leaders gather in Chicago in hopes of saving the goose
It's no sacred cow like Social Security and the industry image is laboring because saving rates, returns, hidden fees and enrollment levels are none too great

Tuesday 10.23.12
David DeVoe: Literally hundred of firms need to be sold over the next several years -– just to solve for succession.

The RIA M&A market continues to be a no-show, though 2012 pace is ahead of 2011
Only the roll-ups seem to have the focus, knowledge, capital and deadly intent to get results in this market

Tuesday 10.23.12
Fred Reish: The object isn’t to punish people who really wanted to do the right thing.

Erring 401(k) plan advisors seek do-overs from DOL to ward off potentially crippling fines
A proposal from leading ERISA attorneys would let RIAs say mea culpa on misinterpretations and technical fouls in the wake of new fee disclosure rules

Monday 10.22.12
Rob Isbitts: Three years is the Goldilocks of investment evaluation horizons.

5 ways for incumbent advisors to get -- and keep -- their clients' vote of confidence
Obama and Romney are asking for four years to deliver results -- ask your clients for three

Monday 10.22.12
Mike Durbin: We've stabilized this foundation.

Fidelity to play midwife to RIAs-in-the-making now that WealthCentral is firmly on its feet
Fidelity RIA execs envision a post-WealthCentral landscape that incudes marketing consultations, strategic planning sessions and M&A facilitation

Friday 10.19.12
Sources say that Maria Elena Lagomasino made a last-ditch effort to buy GenSpring.

How being a $19-billion family office roll-up owned by a bank finally caught up with GenSpring
A fizzled management buyout of the Palm Beach RIA by Maria ("Mel") Elena Lagomasino and other managers preceded the executive exodus, sources say

Thursday 10.18.12
Hoofing it from the San Fran Ritz to the Tiburon Ferry, the unlikely and distinguished foursome of Jon Jones, Mike Durbin, Tif Joyce and Skip Schweiss.

How RIAs looked the winner at the Ritz Carlton in San Fran this week
The Tiburon CEO Summit had its usual charge of energy as Walter Bettinger, Ric Edelman, Mike Durbin and Bernie Clark appeared at every turn

Thursday 10.18.12
Bernie Clark says Windhaven's phenomenal growth has already justified the investment  in it and that ThomasPartners will follow a similar course of success.

A look inside Schwab's second big deal with a small asset manager
Using its RIA custody unit as a talent pool, the San Francisco giant is bringing ThomasPartners into primetime.

Wednesday 10.17.12
Steve Sansone: Advisors can differentiate themselves to decision makers and consequently be in a great position to take over a 401(k) plan.

How IRS rule changes may bring an obscure retirement plan into prominence
The number of cash balance plans, a boon to high-earners, are growing 20% annually versus three percent for 401(k) plans

Tuesday 10.16.12
Brooke Southall: Roll-ups can look as different as Great Danes and lhasa apsos, but we can all agree that these two breeds are both very much dogs.

Why the term 'roll-up' should stay in the RIA vocabulary
It's a short term packed with tall meaning

Tuesday 10.16.12
Jack Waymire: It is always easier for compliance departments to say No. They have to do work to say Yes.

Six tips for avoiding a disastrous broker-dealer decision
Without the right due diligence many advisors leave the wirehouse frying pan and jump into the IBD fire

Monday 10.15.12
Sean Hanlon: Wall Street has become the tech business whose product is money management.

Could engineers be the answer to the RIA talent shortage?
More advisors come from outside the industry, with a premium on high tech capabilities and connections.

Monday 10.15.12
Rudy Adolf: This is going to be a platform for smaller RIAs to join and also for brokers in the Chicago market.

Focus Financial gets its first beachhead in HighTower's backyard -- buying an exhibit-A organic-growth RIA with a hankering to go inorganic
Vestor Capital was born in the 1980s as an accounting firm with a dream, and now Brian Baker wants more

Friday 10.12.12
Will Clemens started his career as a Morgan Stanley analyst covering Advent Software and he veered toward RIA technology.

Zephyr gets sold again, this time to a subsidiary of a Swiss giant
Leading the way is Will Clemens, an ex-Advent Software executive, who will continue to run the unit from the shores of Lake Tahoe

Friday 10.12.12
Brooke Southall: There are words and phrases used by RIAs that can subtract as much as they add in conversation.

We're better than this: The 10 words and expressions that should be expunged from the RIA business
The RIA business separates itself by putting people first so let's cut the corporate-speak

Thursday 10.11.12
Dean Stange: I think if anyone came to us having been pitched a blind trust, we'd talk them out of it.

What Mitt Romney might not know about blind trusts
Views on these black boxes for big chunks of cash are hardly unanimous

Thursday 10.11.12
James Minnick sees the promise of taking a trust company with a planning approach and giving it a national footprint.

Lovell Minnick jumps into the roll-up game with the purchase of $2-billion wealth manager -- and a plan
Starting with Kanaly Trust, the Philly area private-equity firm plans to pick off sleepy, undersized trust companies and unleash their potential

Wednesday 10.10.12
Chris Crawshaw: This is a great opportunity for us to show the commitment to Japan, which is extremely important to Japanese residents.

A new office in Japan? It's the latest bold move by a $9-billion RIA in Chicago that was acquired by Piper Jaffray
Low-profile Advisory Research Inc., sold for more than $200 million, has long served high-net-worth clients but it's asset management business is also strong

Wednesday 10.10.12
Philip Palaveev: Wirehouses would be wise to explore the opportunity to brand the teams alongside the national brand and to create compensation structures that give team captains control over the hiring and compensation of their team members.

The 10 things Morgan, Merrill, UBS and Wells Fargo could do if they really, really wanted to stem the RIA tide
Advisors are happy to hand over the blueprint to wirehouses because they're certain the firms are too fainthearted to execute it

Tuesday 10.9.12
Suresh Kumar's name was synonymous with NetX360 and now he's watching from a loftier BNY perch.

Suresh Kumar moves on to BNY Mellon and Pershing and NetX360 adjust to life without the maestro
The Jersey City-based clearing and custody company is filling the big shoes of its former chief information officer with two of his former underlings

Tuesday 10.9.12
John Wolff says LPL might be tempted to offer Fortigent research to its retail brokers, diluting the value of a product that his firm "spends a lot of money on," and making it "less of a distinguishing factor."

What Fortigent advisors said in Santa Barbara, and what execs say may be next for the LPL-owned outsourcer
With Andy Putterman, Scott Welch and a big cadre of Fortigent's biggest customers living well together, a picture emerged

Monday 10.8.12
Sheldon Geller: Plan fiduciaries were deemed to have violated their duty of prudence by selecting mutual funds whose fees were based on the retail share class rather than the institutional share class.

What RIAs must know about hidden, and excessive, fees in serving as fiduciaries to a 401(k) plan
With lawsuits and enforcement actions mounting, and new rules in place, what DOL wants is not all that abstract or theoretical anymore

Monday 10.8.12
Rob Bartenstein: Washington Wealth is not abandoning what we've stood for since our inception.

Seeing a clear path to $3 billion, Washington Wealth hitches its venture to LPL but quietly adds Schwab
The Middleburg, Va., roll-up-like hybrid RIA is switching some horses after its CEO and founder exited and some funding sources dried up

Friday 10.5.12
Mitchell Reiner: It's advisors that created this, [it's] not a 1-800 number.

How a $1 billion Atlanta RIA is getting fellow RIAs to funnel it their small-ticket clients
Wela nabbed $40 million right off the bat from its parent, Capital Investment Advisors LLC, and has Schwab veteran Paul Scudellari to ensure that assets are soon measured in billions

Thursday 10.4.12
Abby Salameh: There is an inherent gene that advisors must have in order to take that leap of faith and become independent.

How nature and nurture combine to encourage advisors to independence
You can lead a broker to an entrepreneurial opportunity, but the desire to take the plunge needs to come from deep within and maybe family experience

Thursday 10.4.12
Walter Bettinger: The line of people who have expressed interest is long.

Technical challenges may push Schwab's ETF-only 401(k) plan schedule into 2014 -- deferring an intriguing financial clinical trial
The bad news for Bettinger: a few million more lines of code; The good news: Fidelity won't seek to capitalize on the extended deadline

Wednesday 10.3.12
The FPA packed them in

The FPA throws its annual gathering in a spirit of renewal after years of membership decline
The Financial Planning Association aims to rally around the CFP designation, bring in fresh blood and build membership back up

Wednesday 10.3.12
Tyler Cloherty: Without organic growth, they'll continue to lose on both hands.

The prognosis for Morgan, Merrill, UBS and Wells is even grimmer than the negative hype, Cerulli report shows
The wirehouses have stopped training, are ruthlessly chopping lower producers. and many advisors they'd like to keep march out the door

Tuesday 10.2.12
Dale Walters: If you're really worried, you should go somewhere like New Zealand or Australia.

A Phoenix RIA has a $100-million client relationship riding on Romney
A Keats Connelly investor made good on his threat to move north when Obama won in '08, now the firm has fingers crossed for a Romney win

Tuesday 10.2.12
Rich Steinberg: We're essentially hiring ourselves.

A big Schwab RIA in Florida launches a mass-market venture with Placemark and Schwab as the key pieces
Rich Steinberg is using, in effect, his own RIA as the manager to clients of a startup RIA, outsourcing the technology and counting on Schwab referrals

Monday 10.1.12
Mitt Romney (l.) and Mark Matson (r.) share a moment in front of Mitt's campaign jet.

A $3.4-billion DFA RIA sends his social media presence sky high with a 'Yep, I Built That' strategy
'Street cred' may attract like-minded clients but Mark Matson is also taking a calculated risk with his staunch political stance

Monday 10.1.12

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