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Articles Published June 2012


Dune Thorne: I go to sleep every night knowing that I help families.

A Harvard MBA takes her team from a $3-billion Boston RIA to join a $29-billion RIA based in Baltimore
Dune Thorne walked out the Silver Bridge doors with clients with $500 million of assets to take a partner role at Brown Advisory

Friday 6.29.12
Steve Hirsch: We didn't want to invest in something that wouldn't be used.

Schwab finally hops on the iPhone app bandwagon -- to the iTune of 30,000 potential RIA employees
The big custodian went live on Thursday morning after a pilot with 15 advisors -- and about 18 months after Fidelity

Friday 6.29.12
David Westcott broadcasted to 20,000 advisors and now he's bringing his powers to bear for Dynasty RIAs.

Dynasty Financial Partners launches a branding and marketing subsidiary peopled by ex-Citi execs
The New York-based virtual corner office provider now has wirehouse talent at virtually every level -- from advisors to PR folks to CEO

Thursday 6.28.12
Dan Arnold is the new LPL CFO but he's also the guy charged with charting the future course for his company

What LPL's pick of a new CFO says about how strategic -- and RIA oriented -- the company plans to be
Dan Arnold is not a central-casting pick, but the company is betting he is the guy who can find the judicious RIA-brokerage mix

Thursday 6.28.12
Heather Ettinger: This year was 180 degrees different ... [Bettinger's] chemistry with advisors seemed so much better.

Walt Bettinger's comments on threats facing RIAs clinched success at Schwab's EXPLORE 2012
150 top RIA execs with $150 billion-plus in combined firm AUM gathered in Dana Point, Calif., last week

Wednesday 6.27.12
Charles Shapiro: We're not trying to cannibalize LPL's business ... We're trying to build a great hybrid model.

Three MSSB brokers gravitate to a $4.5 billion LPL hybrid with a hefty RIA platform -- and a sub-channel appears to be nearing critical mass
Ohio-based Stratos offers cozy and profitable setup that stands between the biggest IBD and the advisors who ultimately consume its services

Wednesday 6.27.12
Steve Huxley: The likelihood of default within 10 years remains below 1% for 12 of the 17.

Why the Moody's downgrades of big banks may say more about Moody's than the banks
The risk of default remains fairly negligible; the same can't be said for Moody's brand risk in the wake of its misses in 2008

Wednesday 6.27.12
Leon LaBrecque's firm got nine new clients last week alone by positioning itself to win the wave of automotive pension assets

RIAs are set to capture chunks of the $26 billion that GM is spinning out of its pension plan
Retirees are looking to RIAs to help them make a once-in-a-lifetime decision -- and experience shows advisors get richly rewarded

Tuesday 6.26.12
Steve Onofrio: We needed the new wealth platform to enable a new business model.

SEI makes its play for big RIAs by doing some un-SEI things
The Oaks, Pa. TAMP, long doctrinaire about its closed approach, is taking big steps to open up but it still may not be enough, say some advisors and competitors

Tuesday 6.26.12
Steve Prostano: [SFOs] still don't want to invest in the business.

How WilmerHale is positioning its $3.3B-AUA RIA as outsourcer and owner in a $750-billion market
Silver Bridge, backed by the high-power law firm and headed by a former JPMorgan Chase division president, is exploiting the need of single-family offices to gain scale without merging to become multifamily offices

Monday 6.25.12
J.T. Hatfield Charles: Referring to someone's life partner or spouse equivalent as a 'roommate' or 'special friend' can quickly sour a client relationship.

5 ways financial advisors can serve the growing market of unwed couples
RIAs have much to offer the 7 million unhitched couples in the U.S. - including members of the LGBT community who can't get married and baby boomers who don't want to

Monday 6.25.12
Chris Cordaro: We have 25 different workflows in our system....If we waited for Schwab to develop best business practices for us we'd be five years behind.

Schwab escalates the RIA custody arms race by releasing more plug-in business practices called workflows
TD Ameritrade, Schwab and others have designs on inserting neural pathways into advisor practices but one expert questions the workability of automated workflows

Friday 6.22.12
Rene' Nourse: Creating the brochure, I wanted to make sure there were women and people of color represented.

Seeing her small clients take Morgan Stanley's brunt, a 12-year Smith Barney vet decamps with $100 million after meeting with Schwab
Rene' Nourse joins CONCERT to avoid telling smaller clients that MSSB benefits were being taken away and to create a brand aimed at middle class urbanites

Friday 6.22.12
Frank Troise: There's exceptional demand. We just don't have enough advisors on the platform.

How one firm is supposedly cracking the lead generation code to the tune of 50,000 advisors supplied -- by, for now, not trying to create referrals
Investor Watchdog, FreeRetirementReport and Vestorly are among the firms seeing growth but are grappling with vetting issues -- of both advisors and clients

Thursday 6.21.12
On his D.C. sojourn, Neil Hokanson discovered firsthand how 'rumors are traded like bootleg whiskey on the black market.'

What happened when two advisors traveled to D.C. to be heard
Neal Hokanson and Chris Cannon, separately but with the same mission, felt like they created 'aha' moments for presumed FINRA advocates

Thursday 6.21.12
 Phil Chiricotti: It's a needless requirement that just can't be met.

New DOL rule effectively kills off open-architecture option favored by some big plan participants -- and sets off the 401(k) industry
The wrinkle aimed at self-directed accounts is seen as an unnecessary eleventh hour blindsiding by Fidelity, TD and the CFDD among a broad constituency

Wednesday 6.20.12
Les Abromovitz: Loose lips can lead to information being made available to unintended persons -- which can also lead to insider trading.

Beware: RIA privacy breaches aren’t always high-tech
Bellowing that reaches the waiting room is one example of potential confidentiality-breaching behavior

Wednesday 6.20.12
Brian Shenson: That's a huge pain point for a lot of our clients.

Schwab moves to keep 3,500 desktop-bound RIAs from walking onto somebody else's cloud
Advisors with PortfolioCenter housed on a closet-based server can get on Schwab's titanic servers without giving up years of customization -- and, finally, get data through Schwab from multiple custodians

Tuesday 6.19.12
Steven Stahlberg: I think we have a great stage to build something.

Three RIA items of interest
BHWM hires Morgan Stanley, RW Baird vet; FallLine brings on third partner to focus on tech; preliminary injunction filed against Matthew Hutcheson

Tuesday 6.19.12
Lou Harvey: The rules on the participant side are a joke.

After years of DOL bluster, new 401(k) rules appear to make RIAs' low expenses look higher than those of brokers
It's the same old problem of mutual fund-paid fees arriving by tunnel and therefore getting a pass in disclosures; DOL no-comments the issue

Monday 6.18.12
Tom Nally: There are less hand offs and what used to take five hours now takes five minutes.

Ten questions for Tom Nally as he gets going filling Tom Bradley's shoes
TD's new RIA chief is drawing a target on the IBD back and he challenges the 'rollups' to better define their value

Friday 6.15.12
James Carville lent his big presence and Louisiana accent to a small event with large ambitions.

TD Ameritrade's 2012 Elite Advisor Summit gathers $89 billion of RIA assets under one Laguna Beach umbrella
Fresh off a week of D.C. intensity, the annual event crackled with strong opinions and offensive strategies

Friday 6.15.12
Robert Boslego: The endowments remain exposed to the risk of blowup during future market panics or crashes.

Why the Yale endowment model may still be fundamentally flawed
After the 2008-2009 crash, many concluded that liquidity was the problem -- but what if it's old-fashioned diversification?

Friday 6.15.12
Thomas Smith: There's nothing more exciting than planting the seed and watching it grow.

A giant San Francisco RIA is poaching a Northern Trust talent to create a Chicago duchy
Presidio Group is banking on Tom Smith being able to replicate his business building track record on its behalf -- a lot to live up to

Thursday 6.14.12
Diane Pearson:  If you have $5 million or $10 million, clients feel they won't outlive the money and can donate larger amounts.

RIAs don't get rich clients’ surprising altruism says Fidelity Charitable study -- and it's costing them
Schwab people harbor some doubts about Fidelity's findings but agree that so much more can be done with donor-advised funds

Wednesday 6.13.12
Eduardo Repetto: It will happen some day.

Eduardo Repetto tips Dimensional Fund Advisors' hand on long-term succession -- which likely involves an IPO
DFA's co-CEO says that any IPO talk is purely precautionary but that the board has vetted the possibility thoroughly -- and largely ruled out the possibility of a merger

Wednesday 6.13.12
Cary Carbonaro: We speak the language.

United Capital looks to attract divorcees with new acquisition
The $14-billion RIA aggregator has identified a niche that represents a crying need for advice and a place where money is in motion

Wednesday 6.13.12
Jason Roberts: I’m seeing a lot  of unintended consequences…

Fidelity tries out new DOL-influenced 401(k) fee disclosures on clients -- and gets plenty of response
The retirement king is putting it out there ahead of most competitors, but there is some resentment that Fidelity failed to warn advisors

Tuesday 6.12.12
Jamie Price: I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that because E.F. Hutton was a wirehouse, we're going to build a wirehouse.

Frank Campanale's E.F. Hutton reboot starts to take shape as ex-Hutton executives sign on
The revived brand is very much a work in progress, says its once and future steward Jamie Price

Tuesday 6.12.12
Mike Paulus: Our goal is to be transformative from a technology perspective.

Addepar means to be the only technology platform RIAs will ever need -- and has MIT minds and PayPal money to back it up
The Silicon Valley fast-riser already won over Mark Zuckerberg's advisor and aims to serve the complex, high-end advisory offices

Monday 6.11.12
Consumers on the panel identified most advisors as being suspect communicators.

Loring Ward tells a focus group to let loose on advisors -- and it does
A tony Monterey RIA event becomes blood sport as 15 private investors unleash frustration on professionals

Monday 6.11.12
Mike Golaszewski: You've worked hard to establish trust and rapport with your clients...Don't undo all that.

Why the LinkedIn password theft is a big deal and how advisors can avoid falling victim
The bad news: This was possibly a major breach; The good news: You can fix the problem in a few minutes

Friday 6.8.12
Sheryl Rowling and Cheryll Lurtz sold rebalancing software to 100 RIAs in three years -- next stop, Capri, Italy

How Sheryl Rowling and Cheryll Lurtz turned a blistering walk-a-thon into Total Rebalance Expert
100-degree temps and company of an old friend with a knack for software coding blossomed into a business that has competitors on their toes

Friday 6.8.12
Pat Burns: Maxine Waters (D-CA) said that she was putting together her own legislation that would center around user-fees.

Cheat sheet on Wednesday's Bachus fracas
Not all Republicans were thrilled with the plan that would make FINRA king

Friday 6.8.12
Neesha Hathi: That's a bit of an evolution for us.

Schwab shifts its strategy on its massive Intelligent Integration
Schwab evolves to a platform-of-platforms strategy for technology rather than hand-picking best-of-breed applications

Thursday 6.7.12
RIABiz spent its first marketing dollars cladding bar staff at INSITE, with help from Ryan Shanks. [Photo by Mike Byrnes]

Pershing draws a record crowd to steamy Miami but many hearts are in D.C.
INSITE produced bipartisan cheers for Bill Clinton and a split view on the FINRA battle up North

Thursday 6.7.12
Dale Brown: We have no illusions that FINRA is a perfect regulator.  Some of the criticism it is receiving is valid.

In a pivot, Dale Brown tells Committee that 'SRO' is a 'misnomer'
FINRA is not self-regulating after all because its governing board is mostly made up of non-industry public members

Wednesday 6.6.12
Ken Robinson: It's a thinly veiled hostile takeover of independent fiduciary advisors by those who fear them the most.

RIAs flood Capitol Hill with protests against a SRO-FINRA future on the day of the Bachus Bill hearing
Schwab's Clark and TD's Schweiss lead the charge, arriving in D.C. with impassioned advisor missives predicting an 'avalanche of costly regulation'

Wednesday 6.6.12
Reed Colley: We don't make people pay twice for two programs.

Black Diamond is setting its sights on smaller advisors and other things I learned over breakfast with Reed Colley
Advent Custodial Data and Moxy are now part of the Black Diamond arsenal and pricing may become attainable for small RIAs with moxie

Wednesday 6.6.12
Brian Hamburger: The Bill's supporters are promoting a devious shell game to hinder the growth of an industry that has flourished by doing the right thing for investors.

Brian Hamburger hammers the FINRA SRO proposal in a letter
In his muscular style as a lawyer and insider in the regulatory realm, the MarketCounsel principal pulls no punches

Tuesday 6.5.12
Rick Meigs: These plans are knowledgeable, well-informed and have sufficient leverage to compel change.

What led to Vanguard allowing its 401(k) plan sponsors to shop around for non-Vanguard target-date funds
Despite the new choices available to plan sponsors, Vanguard believes clients won't stray -- but industry observers are not so sure

Tuesday 6.5.12
In the heart of the SF financial district, the FPA uses The Palace to pull of one of the best regional events on the RIA calendar

At FPA's Norcal event, wary advisors are told how to stop worrying and love the cloud
RIABiz' editor storms The Palace at the San Fran conference, listens in on tech chiefs soothing mobile angst and checks out the after-party in an old-time saloon

Tuesday 6.5.12
Barbara Roper: This legislation does even less to achieve that goal of harmonization than it does to solve the resource problem.

Barbara Roper sends stern letter to Rep. Bachus raising new FINRA-as-SRO issues
Consumer Federation of America: Smaller firms would bear the brunt of costs and broker/advisor confusion may only increase under the contemplated bill

Monday 6.4.12
Charles Goldman: We've barely scratched the surface of our networks.

Advizent hits $100-billion asset target in a matter of weeks triggering hires
The RIA grand brand and co-op gains momentum as Charles Goldman goes all-in

Monday 6.4.12
Jeff Spears says wirehouses are running out of ideas for the high-margin products that have produced multimillion-dollar paydays for brokers.

Wall Street's big retention problem: RIA compensation is nearing parity with wirehouse brokers
The ultimate justification of Wall Street-style fees -- that people happily pay them -- may be crumbling

Sunday 6.3.12
Bernie Clark: I'll personally deliver your message to the representatives with whom I'll be meeting.

Bernie Clark and Skip Schweiss head to Washington next week to fight on behalf of RIAs in Bachus bill showdown
With FINRA threat looking real, the Schwab and TD Ameritrade executives are urging letters and Tweets

Friday 6.1.12
Monique Miller knows alternative investments from her days with Caxton Associates.

Dynasty Financial hires an expert to help it build an alternative-investments inventory
Monique Miller brings her Caxton expertise and Dynasty is also poaching Austin Philbin, overseer of 100-plus MSSB advisors,

Friday 6.1.12

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