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Articles Published May 2012


Michael Nathanson promised deals -- and quickly delivered.

Mintz Levin sells its $1.2 billion RIA, and Focus Financial nabs the assets through a partner firm
In an all-Boston deal, The Colony Group becomes a $2.5 billion behemoth only months after hooking up with the big New York consolidator

Thursday 5.31.12
Angela Canterbury: Several members of Bernard Madoff's family held leadership roles at FINRA.

Non-partisan watchdog group writes a scathing letter about FINRA
POGO, which uncovered the Pentagon's famed $7,500 coffee maker, says the would-be SRO is basically rife with conflicts of interest

Thursday 5.31.12
Ron Rhoades: "Suitability" is a failed doctrine. FINRA itself is a colossal failure, by any measure.

An in-depth analysis of FINRA's attempted takeover of RIAs and why the group should be disbanded, Part 2
FINRA's aim is to stamp out small RIAs that compete with its large Wall Street firms. Don't let it happen, pleads NAPFA's new chairman

Thursday 5.31.12
Joe Russo: Everyone in D.C. knows that this Congress is never, ever, going to give the SEC more money.

New FSI chairman isn't sugarcoating FINRA's shortcomings but blasts the SEC on porn and Blackberries in this letter
Joe Russo says that 25% of his group's own membership doesn't favor extending FINRA's dominion to RIAs

Wednesday 5.30.12
Ron Rhoades: FINRA was already an expert at protecting its large Wall Street firms from competition.

Why FINRA's power grab for RIAs needs to be stopped to avert the death of the profession, Part 1
Looking back from the year 2025, the author recounts how FINRA seized regulatory control and crushed the life out the once-thriving RIA channel

Wednesday 5.30.12
Jason Roberts: The broker wants to make sure the advisor isn't taking the clients to lunch.

Why brokers from Nationwide, LPL, Merrill Lynch and others are giving RIAs a cut of their 401(k) action
RIAs and brokers alike are wary of the fox-in-hen-house effect but DOL is creating strange bedfellows

Tuesday 5.29.12
Duane Thompson: It’d be a compromise, even though that doesn’t seem to be a fashionable word right now.

Duane Thompson says Bachus bill will croak in Congress but others see danger aplenty
The FPA veteran who spearheaded the killing of the 'Merrill Lynch Rule' outlines his vision of compromise on the SRO issue

Tuesday 5.29.12
Robert Matthews: We look to most people as much like an RIA as a bank.

Bank founded by ex-Merrill chiefs spurs RIA arm to $3 billion after hiring a former Citi chief as CEO
Fieldpoint took off after hiring Robert Matthews who's attracted advisors from US Trust, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Goldman, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wilmington Trust

Tuesday 5.29.12
Abby Salameh: You want to answer that e-mail immediately, return that phone call ASAP and respond to that text message the minute it comes in on your phone.

The art of breathing: How to handle the overwhelm of being a financial advisor in 2012
First we need to understand the principle of diminishing personal returns -- and then be willing to take counterintuitive steps

Friday 5.25.12
Rudy Adolf has made Focus Financial a giant among buyers, but now it may be looking for its own buyer.

Summit Partners is reportedly shopping around its stake in Focus Financial
Focus has wheeled and dealed this year with acquisitions and big lines of credit -- now this

Thursday 5.24.12
Jack Waymire: Mathematicians are not chief investment officers, analysts or portfolio managers.

Online RIAs will mostly fail -- and here are 10 reasons why
Firms like Personal Capital, Covestor and Betterment are garnering both media attention and big VC bucks -- but backers severely underestimate the tie between investor and advisor

Thursday 5.24.12
John Beirne: We never thought we'd be automatically hired.

Merrill Lynch breakaway wins $550-million account in head-to-head battle with UBS -- despite a higher bid
John Beirne was selling his stellar track record and the city of Bristol, Conn. was buying

Wednesday 5.23.12
Ron Rhoades: You're going to see a much more active NAPFA.

NAPFA's appointment of a new chairman could be a big deal for RIAs
Ron Rhoades spent the last year in obscurity but now he's "ready to take the gloves off"

Wednesday 5.23.12
Jason Lahita: Words like "egregious," "sloppiness," and "stupid" were used ... by Jamie Dimon.

How JPMorgan's PR mojo downgraded a $3-billion PR typhoon to a five-day squall
Availability, self-criticism and starting from a position of credibility all helped short-circuit the relentless media laser

Wednesday 5.23.12
Anne Tuttle:  We’re happy to see more information provided to sponsors.

How giant advice provider Financial Engines can sweep the 401(k) field -- or not
It has $53.7 billion of assets under its managed account platform, but how the new DOL disclosure rules, competition from Morningstar and Schwab's bet on GuidedChoice play out will be very telling

Tuesday 5.22.12
Maria Marsala: In 12 years, maybe 1% of my clients were business owners when they hired me; the majority were captaining a burning ship.

How a change in mindset and business structure can get you off the hamster wheel
Remember the reason you started your business in the first place

Tuesday 5.22.12
Black Diamond founder Reed Colley is relocating to San Francisco to help chart Advent's broader future with his knowledge of mobile, social media and the cloud.

A year after the Advent-Black Diamond deal, the merged company is making some big chess moves
Reed Colley switches coasts as new hire Mike Golaszewski heads the other way to Jacksonville and the Advent-Black Diamond sales teams merge

Monday 5.21.12
Barry Martin: The primary risk of a covered option strategy is opportunity risk.

In search of alternative income solutions in the current low-yield environment
Selling covered calls on a portfolio of equities or on a concentrated position may offer clients incremental gains while reducing direct exposure to interest rate risk

Monday 5.21.12
Andy Hill: For Coach Wooden, one of the best basketball coaches of all time, the great key to learning was asking questions.

A John Wooden disciple makes 13 points to RIAs at NAPFA about how to excel
Andy Hill started with the premise that advisors, like most people, are good, not great, at what they do

Monday 5.21.12
Iconiq's San Francisco offices are little more than a receptionist's desk and a row of trading screens -- but it's more than enough to manage the assets of Facebook's billionaires.

How the Facebook IPO is creating the mother of all RIAs, Iconiq, and what an in-your-face it is for Wall Street
Breakaway out of Morgan Stanley, Divesh Makan, attracts the Mark Zuckerbergs and Sheryl Sandbergs of the world with his pedigree and presence

Friday 5.18.12
Brent Burns: A lot of people were talking about psychology and a lot of advisors are eager for that sort of training.

FPA Retreat 2012 shines spotlight on the emotional and psychological dynamics between advisor and client
The 400 advisors on hand seemed eager discover ways to make the advisor-client process more meaningful

Friday 5.18.12
Susan Forman: We got brokersXpress and we evaluated it.

How Schwab may yet reap value from brokersXpress accounts, advisors, staff and assets
The San Francisco broker may find ways to use its better pieces without the need for the extra broker-dealer

Friday 5.18.12
In the old days, it was all good to call an advisory publication 'Registered Representative'

Registered Rep. is finally changing its name
It'll be WealthManagement.com for online content and the print publication also gets a modified moniker

Thursday 5.17.12
Sallie Larsen: It's critical in shaping our culture.

LPL Financial hires a hiring, retention and culture czar
Sallie Larsen will report directly to Mark Casady in her role as chief human capital officer

Thursday 5.17.12
Neesha Hathi: We take client feedback very seriously and we've been watching (Tamarac) for a long time.

Schwab taps Tamarac as its next integration partner
The allure was Microsoft CRM and a significant overlap in customer bases

Thursday 5.17.12
Christopher Mason is keeping his assets at Fidelity: "They don't have quarterly earnings and they don't do stupid things."

Why one UBS advisor broke away even knowing that his former partner would keep the 401(k) assets
Christopher Mason is establishing Fontis as part of CONCERT but hasn't given up hope of selling his portfolio management skills on UBS' platform

Thursday 5.17.12
Debbie Pritchard: Most of the advisors we're working with are all talking to us about becoming 3(38)s.

How Schwab is gearing up its RIAs to fight for 401(k) assets
The San Francisco custodian's deal with fi360 will help advisors meet increasing demand from employers that their advisors be fiduciaries

Wednesday 5.16.12
Jason Del Col calls the radio show a ''massive opportunity.''

United Capital unveils national mass-affluent strategy keyed to a radio program
With the success of Edelman Financial and The Mutual Fund Store in mind, Joe Duran will take the mike regularly, but Steven Pomeranz will be the regular host

Wednesday 5.16.12
Elliot Weissbluth: A few years ago we had this meeting with just 20 of us in our old headquarters in the basement eating deli sandwiches.

What happened when HighTower assembled its RIAs at Trump Tower
300 aggregated folks dined lavishly and heard Ed Viesturs; and those perks may have a deeper purpose

Tuesday 5.15.12
Mag Black-Scott has plans to open 20 to 30 branches.

Mag Black-Scott partners with Intel and brings aboard serious MSSB talent in quest to "disrupt"
Beverly Hills Wealth Management LLC spent six months and six figures working with Intel on its innovation

Tuesday 5.15.12
Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis: The organization that appears to be pulling numbers out of thin air is FINRA.

FINRA comes up with cost projections for its SRO and the CFP Board blasts them
FINRA is still angry that Boston Consulting Group did not consult them and says they created numbers "out of thin air"

Monday 5.14.12
 Philip Andrews: Prior to this you had to dig and dig.

Review: What the SEC did right and wrong with the redesign of its website
It's less of a bureaucratic maze but the image slideshow is over the top

Monday 5.14.12
Les Abromovitz: The SEC is embracing social media. It remains to be seen if social media users will embrace the SEC.

What the SEC is up to with its website's fancy new look
The redesign is a nod to social media and a recognition that it needs the public

Monday 5.14.12
Zohar Swaine: I think it's the next wave of technologies we will tap.

TD Ameritrade's promise of creating an RIA version of Apple's app store may have found its prototype signing
Bing, bang, boom, HiddenLevers is part of the Veo ecosystem after one developer spent about two weeks writing code

Friday 5.11.12
Tim Kochis: No one should be CEO for life.

Tim Kochis retires, months earlier than scheduled, but also years later than planned
The Aspiriant founder sent an e-mail to fellow employees on April 27th saying he's bolting a little early because of projects he wants to pursue.

Friday 5.11.12
Matthew Hutcheson testified in Congress about 401(k) plans and now the DOL is breathing down his neck.

What to make of a fiduciary flag-bearer's alleged misappropriation of $5 million from clients -- and his denial of the charges
Arrest of Matthew Hutcheson raises questions about the fiduciary movement

Thursday 5.10.12
Les Abromovitz: You are destined to have problems if the PR firm believes that regulations need not get in the way of a great marketing campaign.

PR firms must recognize that RIAs answer to a higher authority
There is such a thing as bad press -- a disclosure that seems 'a bit much' to your public relations firm may be just enough to land you in a compliance hot spot

Thursday 5.10.12
Dave Butler: If there’s a $50 million advisor, they might want to know something from a $500 million advisor.

DFA engages former Moss Adams analyst as it pilots its intel deeper into RIA space
The Austin, Texas-based firm is bringing on Jeff Pierce as part of its initiative to build its own in-house research arm

Wednesday 5.9.12
John Burns: We knew we weren't qualified to get this figured out.

RIAs are merging then making up names like Exencial, Syntal, Aspiriant and Private Ocean but experts question the practice
Creating names solves a multitude of problems but may also create a bigger one in a high touch industry

Wednesday 5.9.12
Douglas Ramsey: Stocks are finally high enough to revive retail buying.

Why buy-high-sell-low-scarred retail investors are poised to catch the market wave
The rally from October 2011 lows has already lifted the S&P 500 to within pennies of a typical bull market high on a valuation basis

Wednesday 5.9.12
Chad Clary (l.) and Dane Crunk channeled their West Texas clientele who run entrepreneurial businesses poised to capture the new oil boom.

Merrill Lynch PBIG team breaks away in tumbleweed country to better pursue next-gen oil fortunes
Chad Clary and Dane Crunk are bringing Dynasty Financial's technology to UHNW folks with dusty boots, deep tans and around $800 million of assets

Tuesday 5.8.12
Alex Potts: It's the biggest investment we've ever taken on.

With help from Envestnet and a former Genworth technology whiz, Loring Ward is revamping its TAMP platform
The San Jose firm is counting on competitors and former talent of competitors to make sure it spends its millions efficiently

Tuesday 5.8.12
John Rogers:  I’m not up for enduring another awkward summer of Occupy Wall Street.

CFA Institute chief minces no words about blaming and shaming bad behavior
Investment industry can blame itself if Occupy Wall Street fires back up this summer, according to John Rogers' remarks

Monday 5.7.12
Leslie Ferrone was impressed with how Merrill overcame its problems with women advisors but was repelled when it couldn't overcome creeping bank culture.

She settled with Merrill Lynch over discrimination, loved Merrill again for years but then bigger problems arose
A lover of the herd, Leslie Ferrone couldn't stomach the bankification of her wirehouse

Monday 5.7.12
'This year’s shareholder meeting was an absolute blast,' says Eric Clarke seen here with the animated alter egos of Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett

10 insights an RIA software CEO gleaned from Warren Buffett at the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' meeting
Orion chief Eric Clarke joined 40,000 of the faithful in the pilgrimage to hear the Oracle of Omaha's pronouncements

Monday 5.7.12
Pig ugly? The offending image on Betterment's blog post

After outcry, Betterment 86's (but not on purpose) a blog post inflaming advisors
BrightScope and Josh Brown lead charge against up-and-coming web-based investment management companies for their bad-itude against advisors

Friday 5.4.12
Abby Salameh: Joe was seriously stressed-out.

5 ways for stressed-out advisors to build a more efficient practice
Delegate, streamline, lean on your CRM, leverage resources, go mobile or tap the untried talents of your receptionist -- all ways to do more of what you love to do

Friday 5.4.12
Michael Araiz: We realized this was more than a meet and greet.

A hungry NYC-based firm takes aim at a bigger future by signing on with Dynasty Financial Partners
Further Lane kept hearing about the vendor of vendors -- then paid a visit, and also put Black Diamond and Callan in its cart

Friday 5.4.12
Gregory Curtis: You have to stick to your knitting even if it costs you business -- which it will.

An $18-billion RIA tacks on a $24-billion U.S. Trust cast-off as the grab for UHNW magnets continues
Harris myCFO continues a shrewd strategy of serving the very, very rich as it puts CTC Consulting into its arsenal

Thursday 5.3.12
Stuart DePina: Right after the deal was announced, we signed a $10 billion RIA who wasn't an Envestnet client.

As it closes its $54-million purchase of Tamarac, Envestnet details plans to deploy $7 million worth of retention incentives
The big outsourcer says it wants Tamarac's execs to stay aboard -- and not just for the a few months

Thursday 5.3.12
David Gaskin: It was time to move on.

A 17-year Vanguard veteran seeking new horizons lands at a Philly RIA with big plans
Wescott Financial brings on David Gaskin as COO with plans to add to it advisors, offices and $1.6 billion of assets

Wednesday 5.2.12
Neil Hokanson: FINRA ... behaves like a background shadow organization from a bygone era.

A big California RIA fires off a letter to Rep. Bachus decrying FINRA as SRO pick
Neil Hokanson offers a boots-on-the-ground perspective about why changes brewing in Washington are bad for consumers and advisors alike

Wednesday 5.2.12
Tweets Krawcheck: "Mind-numbing details [about the difference between RIAs and B-Ds] make it hard to get anyone to stay awake thru it."

What to make of Sallie Krawcheck's emergence as a Twitter-sphere celebrity
The ex-Merrill Lynch exec reveals a self-deprecating bent but the 'crazed UNC basketball fan' still doesn't seem sold on the differences between RIAs and stockbrokers

Wednesday 5.2.12
Philip Palaveev: Advisory firms may not even realize what great employers they are.

Career Arbitrage: How independent advisors are gaining the upper hand over big corporations in the hiring game
Better compensation, a more closely knit culture and the holy grail of personal wealth -- equity --are some driving factors in this counterintuitive trend

Tuesday 5.1.12
Walt Bettinger: There's hundreds of billions in assets that are not under an advisory relationship.

Schwab adds $2 billion of assets from Windhaven, with RIA help, and another $2 billion of assets from 41 new RIAs
Walter Bettinger lauds the 'fairly rapid growth' of the recent acquisition

Tuesday 5.1.12
Jonathan Bergner wasn't discouraged from leaving U.S. Trust by the 45-day garden leave.

After a quick climb to $3.5 billion of AUM, Evercore solidifies service by drawing water -- again -- from US Trust talent well
Jonathan Bergner brings his skills from U.S. Trust, but assets may follow, too

Tuesday 5.1.12

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