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Articles Published March 2012


Peter Dorsey already knows the ropes at TD Ameritrade and knows plenty about Fidelity's ropes, too.

In his first big move in his new job as TD's RIA chief, Tom Nally picks the replacement for his old one
Peter Dorsey is ex-Fidelity and ex-Bear Stearns but also a real veteran of the TD sales staff

Friday 3.30.12
Larry Steinberg: The simple fact is that there is no way to even break even on a $200 per month (contribution) RIA account.

Two advisors debate the financial viability of serving as a fiduciary to small accounts amid DOL's new rules
Larry Steinberg expresses big doubts but Jeff McClure sees advisors wedging in like Ace Hardware amid Home Depot and Lowe's

Friday 3.30.12
David Lo: Firms struggling with the key best practices identified in the study are also paying the highest retention and signing bonuses.

J.D. Power and Associates hints strongly at wirehouse deficiencies as it puts Commonwealth Financial and Raymond James on a pedestal
The two firms ranked one and two for independent advisor satisfaction among financial investment firms; Schwab is third in the employee-advisor category

Thursday 3.29.12
Anthony Ferreira: The second- and third-tier firms might have problems.

Is Hartford Financial's market exit a death knell for the annuity crowd or just more Hartford haplessness?
SunAmerica, John Hancock and Hartford are all in retreat mode but trade groups say aggregated industry sales are still solid

Thursday 3.29.12
Tony Sirianni: Everything's been faster, bigger, more.

How Washington Wealth is using a million-dollar carrot to lure centers of massive wirehouse influence
The Virginia-based firm is surpassing its growth targets by going way up the ladder for recruits

Wednesday 3.28.12
Gus Fleites: I was always left with an uneasy feeling.

Gus Fleites joins an Oregon venture with a plan to revolutionize the 401(k) business
The former president of State Street Global Advisors' fund business is joining Darwin Abrahamson at Invest n Retire to accelerate ETF proliferation in DC accounts

Wednesday 3.28.12
Fred St. Laurent: Sometimes it's complicated to move the other team at the same time.

Breaking away from Merrill with $1 billion of assets, a HighTower RIA returns to scoop up $200 million more
The advisors were on separate teams so Pagnato-Karp Group tested the waters then gave the all-clear signal to Charles Holt

Tuesday 3.27.12
Bill Dwyer gave a high-energy speech predicting 500% asset growth among independents as 401(k)s roll over.

What went down at Barron's Top Independent Advisors Summit in the Arizona desert
Many of the biggest and best RIA stars showed up and put Bernie Clark, Mike Durbin, Tom Nally, Mark Tibergien, Bill Dwyer, Charles Goldman and Barnaby Grist in one room

Monday 3.26.12
Les Abromovitz: The most significant compliance risks arise from structured programs that reward clients for each and every referral.

Where RIAs should draw the line in rewarding clients for referrals
By expressing your gratitude in a tangible form, you run the risk of turning your client into a solicitor

Monday 3.26.12
Michael Karmin only joined a $760 million RIA a few days ago from Northern Trust and he was all ears at the Fidelity educational event.

Fidelity goes deep dish on marketing in Chicago with 25 advisors -- including how to make bios more punchy and casual
A hard-charging 86-year-old advisor and a Twitter-savvy 28-year-old were among the kaleidoscope of characters who showed up

Friday 3.23.12
CEO Asheesh Advani aspires to partner Covestor with broker-dealers and institutional investors, and to expand the firm's content.

Unfazed by declining assets, VC-backed Covestor has another go with a new CEO and some concessions to the old-fashioned machinery of investment advice
The good news is that it has 400 clients -- up from 150 a year ago -- but can the company still be seen as primarily web-based?

Friday 3.23.12
Susan John: It appears we may be on the same page for once. This is just one of those odd circumstances.

As DOL contemplates stiff fiduciary-related penalties on advisors, NAPFA and FPA find rare concord with FSI
The more RIA-focused groups agree with the IBD trade group that holders of smaller IRA accounts will not be able to pay for advice under new rules

Thursday 3.22.12
Matt Lynch: Tiburon's challenge is to find the right people to respond to the volume of inquiries that come in.

Tiburon Strategic Advisors signs on ex-IBD CEO and ex-Moss Adams consultant as it strives to meet rising demand
Matt Lynch is coming aboard with Chip Roame as a principal after heading up Capital Analysts for the past five years

Thursday 3.22.12
John Copeland: We've been having a number of terrific conversations articulating our growth proposition to independent advisory firms.

AMG makes a dramatic entry into wealth management arena, buying majority stake in $10B Veritable
Veritable LP is the first in a series of very big RIAs the giant asset management firm has its eye on

Wednesday 3.21.12
Michael Kitces: Now, I actually have a solution we can deliver.

Michael Kitces becomes partner at Pinnacle, ambassador for its new TAMP-like service
Pinnacle Advisor Solutions will provide outsourcing options as an arm of the wealth management firm

Wednesday 3.21.12
Scott D'Alessandro is known to be a driven competitor and only sat out a few months after leaving Fidelity -- probably with decent severance pay.

Former Fidelity rainmaker lands at Schwab after both big custodians reshuffle their East Coast staffing
Scott D'Alessandro could boost Schwab's efforts to gain better traction with aggregators like United Capital and HighTower

Tuesday 3.20.12
John Straus: They'd say 'what we'd really like is to pick your brain.'

Former Morgan Stanley and UBS wealth management chief flirts with roll-up model then pivots to management consulting
John Straus knew there was a market for his expertise, but a funny thing happened on the way to becoming an aggregator

Tuesday 3.20.12
Diane Russell:  It's just not been at the top of advisors' lists for running their businesses.

Why RIAs are shunning mobile apps and why Black Diamond, Orion, Fidelity and others are still placing their chips on an iPad future
Many providers are stuck at 10% mobile adoption rate, but Fidelity has hit 40% and Orion 30% with their RIA clients

Monday 3.19.12
Jason Lahita: Would [The New York Times] have published [the op-ed] four years ago? I doubt it.

Opinion: How Goldman Sachs exposed its jaw to a massive PR blow from The New York Times' op-ed page
The investment banking giant showed reporters little respect for years, and bringing on a new communications chief came a little too late

Monday 3.19.12
Gordon Andrew: No publicity has the right to exist without a specific business application.

Why RIAs should avoid the carnival barker approach to publicity
More PR is not necessarily better -- especially if you're a small or midsize firm

Friday 3.16.12
John Beirne: This isn't a business where an age barrier prevents you from performing.

A 69-year-old, $2 billion Merrill Lynch breakaway looks to his elder to help expand his firm
John Beirne plucks Phil Sloan, former Merrill Lynch colleague and PaineWebber exec, off the golf course as he escalates his ambitious plans for growth

Friday 3.16.12
Danny Sarch: It was a ballsy thing to do.

RIAs line up behind Greg Smith as Goldman Sachs reels from exec's New York Times op-ed grenade
The advisory community indulges in a bit of schadenfreude as a departing executive director slams the wirehouse culture

Thursday 3.15.12
Josh Brown: It's not that I'm so great, but I've seen a lot of ugliness.

'Reformed Broker' and blogger 'Downtown' Josh Brown joins BrightScope's advisory board
On the same day he posts a scathing blog entry about the infamous Goldman Sachs op-ed, financial advisor/web celeb announces his association with the controversial data tracker

Thursday 3.15.12
Sean Gultig: It's not often in business that you get to do a mulligan.

Ex-Fiserv executives bid to create a new force in RIA custody by taking the Equity Trust bull by the horns
The year-old Denver-based firm touts technology cost savings via its Orion-driven platform

Wednesday 3.14.12
Jeffrey Carney has no shortage of admirers who think he'll make Schwab's branches much more effective.

Without much ado, Schwab is set to put ex-Fidelity star in charge of its branch system
Jeffrey Carney will get back to his retail roots and could give a needed charge to the San Francisco broker's direct-sale efforts

Wednesday 3.14.12
Shirl Penney and Todd Thomson: The reason to [go independent] is that you want to build equity in something that's yours."

The top 10 people to watch in the RIA business in 2012, Part 2
Keeping an eye on those gaining the most ground in the fleet-footed RIA industry

Tuesday 3.13.12
James Poer: That's why we're partnering with Fidelity -- because of what they bring to the table.

Fidelity follows Schwab's lead on hybrid advisors -- and four other items of RIA interest
Both big custodians like NFP as a partner; in other news, Morningstar warms to alternatives, EP makes a hire, JHS gets bigger by 75

Tuesday 3.13.12
Ron Carson: It came to me that there was a better way to approach the industry.

The top 10 people to watch in the RIA business in 2012, Part 1
Forces changing the trajectory of the RIA movement

Monday 3.12.12
James Carney: The cost of [paying] us versus what they get [in revenues] is a rounding error.

ByAllAccounts doubled advisory assets aggregated to $400 billion in 2011
New partners like Redtail Technology, Envestnet and AssetBook helped pave the way

Monday 3.12.12
John Coyne: It wasn't that we had a problem with performance. The industry had a problem with performance.

With formerly hot TAMP category hitting a cold patch, Envestnet stays on a roll
Genworth had great annual results but hit an asset-gathering wall this summer; Brinker, a dark horse, makes solid showing

Friday 3.9.12
Abby Salameh: An advisor we worked with hired a "marketing person" who then proceeded to outsource all of the marketing creation.

Nine pitfalls for advisors to avoid when taking on new employees
Pulling the trigger on a hire is difficult, but can become easier with the right protocols

Friday 3.9.12
Jon Sundt: More than 70 new alternative mutual funds were launched in 2011.

A more liquid alternative to alternative investments catches on
Using hedge fund strategies in a mutual fund can offer risk-adjusted returns and a way to bail out to cash

Thursday 3.8.12
The FPA put on a humble but eye-opening event in Burlingame, Calif., this week.

A reporter empties his notebook after attending FPA's Business Solutions event
Marty Kurtz lets crowd in on peer review plan, big custodians square off on tech and Eric Clarke yields interesting thoughts in a one-on-one interview

Thursday 3.8.12
Ann Bergin: We'll see a rush to the front door in coming days and weeks.

Schwab wins long-awaited green light from the SEC on alternative-assets distribution
The no-action letter on a DTCC standard may pave the way for custodians to create supermarkets of hedge funds

Wednesday 3.7.12
Laura Lutton: We've seen fees come down pretty dramatically.

RIAs overwhelmingly back 529 college plans despite high fees and vanilla investment options
Even if advisors don't buy them, they are steering their clients to college savings plans in spite of their drawbacks

Wednesday 3.7.12
Jordan Waxman: Our clients are so supportive of my athletic pursuits.

After swimming the English Channel, a $1.4 billion Merrill team member crosses over to HighTower
A New York firm with ultrarich family clients charted the tides for over a year before spanning the waters to independence

Tuesday 3.6.12
Philip Palaveev: 'Super-ensembles' are the most dangerous competitors to independent firms today.

How a swath of billion-dollar-plus RIAs are posing a threat to indie advisors
Forget the aggregators -- a specific segment of RIAs is gunning for mom-and-pop shops and wirehouses alike

Monday 3.5.12
Joan Khoury: We have flexibility of delivering advice to a broader range of investors.

LPL lures top execs away from Merrill Lynch, MSSB
Such defections from the wirehouse world to the IBD arena would not have happened even 10 years ago, recruiters say

Monday 3.5.12
William Hamm: We have an enticing story.

Amping up recruiting efforts, giant LPL firm grew its revenue by 300% in 2011
Independent Financial Partners has gotten so big that it's taking a bite out of LPL's business -- and LPL doesn't seem to mind

Friday 3.2.12
Anthony Sperling: Once RMB saw that our company is the best of both worlds, they decided to stay with us.

Advent keeps a $2 billion one-foot-out-the-door RIA thanks to Black Diamond buy
RMB Capital Management had been with Advent since it opened its doors in 2005 but was feeling the need for a change

Friday 3.2.12
Tim McAfee:There should be a better way to allow independent reps to have access to great technology.

Advisor Tested: Market76 is trying to be a better, cheaper platform for advisors -- free, in fact
A former advisor is trying to find the happy medium between jerry-built in-house systems and platforms with too many moving parts

Thursday 3.1.12
Ken Fisher: On the high-net-worth side funding levels are tough.

Ken Fisher keeps expanding his $42 billion RIA empire despite UHNW head winds
The big West Coast money manager discusses his growing institutional arm, his biggest competition and his unorthodox management style

Thursday 3.1.12

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