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Articles Published August 2012


The M Resort is a sufficient RIA magnet -- though it shares characteristics with a suburban metroplex

'Ocean's Eleven'-grade RIA sharpies set to play Vegas at MarketCounsel's 2012 Summit
A remarkably varied lineup of industry A-listers are odds-on to spark lively conversation at the compliance confab

Friday 8.31.12
Les Abromovitz: On many occasions, advisors' websites contain inconsistent statements about partners' experience and how many years they have been in business.

Unlike politicians, advisors can't walk back false claims
It may be flip-flopping season on the campaign trail but RIAs must be careful to stick to one regulatory story

Friday 8.31.12
Nathan Sonnenberg is the first member of the Fortigent executive suite to depart since the firm was bought by LPL five months ago.

Two top Fortigent talents leave in the same week as industry-watchers ask: Was it them or was it LPL?
The LPL-owned investments outsourcer may not replace CIO Nathan Sonnenberg and alternative investments director Robert Mileff

Thursday 8.30.12
Paul Lutz: [LPL's] gotten so large they have a difficult time keeping support staff.

Not everyone has to make rain: Mariner brings over former LPL advisor who'd rather stay indoors and give advice
HSMC Wealth Management and its $40 million in assets is one of Mariner's smaller acquisitions of late as it looks to make smart, strategic buys

Wednesday 8.29.12
Winnie Sun: We have doubled the size of our staff and published iPhone and iPad apps for our clients, and we will be starting to post YouTube videos.

LPL showcases some successful, ambitious advisors as the FOCUS 2012 conference wraps up
'King of the world' James Cameron was on hand to talk about the risk of not taking risks and an ex-IMF economist confirmed that there are plenty to go around

Wednesday 8.29.12
Tom Gonnella: It makes no sense to place the burden on individuals to figure out how much their nest egg is costing them.

Obfuscation Nation: 401(k) fee disclosure laws still don't give the true cost of plans and may well cause more agita for would-be retirees
The new DOL rules are far from ideal but may give fee-based advisors an edge in the small-plan market

Tuesday 8.28.12
David Witz: It could be fireworks for the RIA community or just another compliance fizzle.

A 401(k) plan dethroning deferred: The DOL-mandated disclosures may not set any legacy palaces on fire near-term
The expected RIA field day and B-D comeuppance may come limping out of the gate; Fidelity has put 17 million 401(k) disclosures in the mail with few follks batting an eye -- with high-balance participants as the possible big exception

Tuesday 8.28.12
Ron Rhoades: I’ve put a big target on my back.

Before taking a self-imposed vow of silence, Ron Rhoades sounds off on the RIA industry and tells what's it's like to hit a professional wall
The outspoken NAPFA chairman-who-wasn't covers why the Bachus bill will rise again, the true fix for RIA exams and why the term 'fee-based' is inherently 'fraudulent'

Monday 8.27.12
Launch No. 2: RIABiz correspondent Timothy Welsh and T3's Joel Bruckenstein set sail.

After a year under wraps, Laser App unveils a new "anywhere" product at its sixth annual conference in San Diego
Laser App Anywhere is, from its cloud, fundamentally different from the company's legacy desktop, server-based software products

Monday 8.27.12
Mark Mensack: Bachus has ignored my own whistle-blower allegations against Morgan Stanley, which relate to what 401(k) expert Edward Siedle describes as fraud that 'makes Madoff look like chicken feed.'

Why Bachus' SRO-that-must-not-be-named would prove a tyrant to RIAs
The author says that as a private corporation endowed with governmental powers, FINRA is unsafe at any speed

Friday 8.24.12
Palladiem founders Stephanie Mackara, Joseph Scavetti Jr., David Feldman and CEO Donald Robinson

After bringing in $500 million in first year, breakaway Lockwood execs set sights on bigger growth
Palladiem is now investing in a big sales talent to reap previously unsolicited clients

Friday 8.24.12
Ron Rhoades: I'm looking forward to a full night's sleep tonight.

State of Florida gives low sanction to Ron Rhoades
Mitigating factors are cited by the Division of Securities and the resigning NAPFA chair expresses appreciation

Thursday 8.23.12
Ron Ferguson: We won't lose.

TD, Fidelity and Schwab get green light to custody assets of advisors who use National Advisors Trust
Fido and TD Ameritrade are on board with the RIA-owned custodian and trust company but Schwab is still weighing its options

Thursday 8.23.12
Jordan Szekely brings investment banking acument, wealth management experience and relative youth to Evercore.

Evercore makes a wealth management hire from Goldman Sachs who's fluent in investment banking
The big $3.6-billion NYC RIA is looking to get cooler, smarter and more in touch with the entity that owns a major chunk of it

Thursday 8.23.12
Matt Dillig: Everybody calls the same people but not everyone has the same outcome.

How a young, new HighTower recruit built his business to $1 billion in assets with just 30 clients
Matt Dillig's team is the Chicago aggregator's first 'get' from Credit Suisse, known for its superwealthy clients

Wednesday 8.22.12
Derek Bruton (l.) and his colleagues (Andy Kalbaugh on r.) have implemented home office “Private Briefings” focusing on clients with over $10 million in investable assets.

LPL kicks off FOCUS 2012 talking about service for UHNW investors
The big broker-dealer also talks about big 401(k) plans and offers a couple of details about Fortigent

Wednesday 8.22.12
John Simmers: No one has had these conversations with these people before.

How a clique of industry vets plan to revive the swooning IBD space -- and why industry watchers don't like their chances
Using a newly purchased hybrid IBD-RIA as guinea pig, Innovative Equity Partners aims to make small IBDs a collective force to be reckoned with -- without sacrificing their individual identities

Wednesday 8.22.12
Ron Rhoades: I can assure you that I am doing fine.

Ron Rhoades: Staying on at NAPFA would have given ammunition to RIA industry foes
Shocked industry advocates are conflicted as to whether Rhoades should have stayed the course; in another industry shakeup, FPA's Marvin W. Tuttle announces he will step down

Tuesday 8.21.12
Felipe Luna: We're seeing ... high-net-worth clients ... who want to be more aggressively involved in alternative investments.

How CONCERT is leveraging a full-service alternatives platform to boost its carriage trade clientele
CONCERT sees CAIS catering to the $200 million-plus set while its current alts provider tends to those who may like their hedge funds in mutual-fund wraps

Tuesday 8.21.12
Sean Hanlon: It previously was VC-backed. We have it in our blood. We're owner-operators.

A $3.4-billion, TAMP-owning RIA buys Interactive Advisory Software, removing the VCs and plunking in a CEO
Engineer-by-training Sean Hanlon's unconventional purchase of IAS and its $33 billion of assets administered is worth keeping an eye on

Monday 8.20.12
Brian Hamburger: Things are not as complicated as some would have you believe ... so long as the advertising contains adequate disclosure.

6 ways to advertise your investment performance and not run afoul of regulators' wrath
Brian Hamburger debunks advertising myths that scare RIAs from showing off their tracks record

Monday 8.20.12
Steve Lockshin: We cannot be left to regulate ourselves.

Lockshin: All advisors must deal with the threat of low industry standards -- before investors do it for them
The gains of the last 20 years could be scuttled if advisors don't band together to raise the standards of training and education

Friday 8.17.12
Dan Cronin is BNY Mellon's emissary to the largest, most sophisticated RIAs as it works to find investors for dozens of investment boutiques under its brand.

Dan Cronin jumps from key RIA role at RBC to a new spot at BNY Mellon Investment Management
The longtime Fidelity and Schwab liaison to registered investment advisors has a new mission -- RBC's mission is less obvious as its chief sales guy to RIAs departs

Friday 8.17.12
LLBH is Jim Pratt-Heaney, Bill Loftus, Bill Lomas, Kevin Burns: We were constantly being told 'if we do it for you, we have to do it for 17,000 other advisors.'

How an ex-Merrill team broke free just under the BoA takeover wire and doubled its assets in four post-crash years
Thinking the wirehouse model was broke not wanting to fix it LLBH has parlayed $450 million of assets to nearly $1 billion

Thursday 8.16.12
Rob Francais: I knew they were cut from the same cloth.

Why Deloite Touche talent is such a coveted building block at some esteemed RIAs
The changing challenge of serving the ultra-affluent is demanding skills that look more like Big Four accounting than the four wirehouses

Thursday 8.16.12
DeLynn Zell: We thought about Schwab but we still needed a broker-dealer affiliation.

LPL vacuums up yet another $1-billion cluster of mostly RIA assets Alabama-style
With many parallels to its $2-billion AFG win a couple weeks ago, LPL hoovers Lincoln and Ameriprise reps -- and a HNW RIA -- in one big go

Wednesday 8.15.12
Frank Troise: Once we have ascertained local consumer/baby boomer data, the physical store and staffing requirements are a mere formality.

Gathering assets with long tails: Exactly how RIAs of any size can market with the big boys with 'Google Love'
3 ways to slay your marketing adversaries by using Google ad words with military precision to maximum effect

Wednesday 8.15.12
Ben Welch: This is a big advancement.

TD Ameritrade showcases what API can do with slick Veo-iRebal harmonization
The RIA custodian is creating -- and third parties are applauding -- a time-saving, low-error way to trade and rebalance

Tuesday 8.14.12
Julie Garella: Once you sell your business, that's great, but "you have a whole new set of problems."

An advisor gets a gig leading the burgeoning San Francisco TIGER 21 chapter
The peer group for the ultra-affluent hired Julie Garella, investment banker consultant, to chair (and grow) membership in the sudden-wealth zone of America

Tuesday 8.14.12
Scott Leonard (pictured with his wife Mandi and three sons) is discovering that the race does not always go to those in the fast lane.

The advisor who sailed off grid and found a new business model for his $550-million RIA on the way
The head of a latter-day Swiss Family Robinson has been running his firm from a 50-foot catamaran for more than two years -- with unexpected results

Monday 8.13.12
Michael Brown: When you hit those milestones, it causes you to reflect.

Why making partner at Deloitte Touche helped convince a CPA to join a $2 billion DFA RIA 2,300 miles away
After Michael Brown earned CPA nirvana he realized what he really wanted to do -- become an IA

Friday 8.10.12
Les Abromovitz: Including pictures of  your dog is usually a safe way to go unless your client or prospect is a cat person.

In this election season, cast your vote for president in private -- not in your firm's newsletter
Whether Romney or Obama is your man there's no upside in sharing that information with your clients -- but feel free to share about the bigger picture

Friday 8.10.12
Bryan Chew (l.) with his team: I felt there wasn't anyone I could turn to at LPL.

Commonwealth racks up a $100 million LPL team by using its broker-dealer's greater size against it
The Waltham, Mass.--based IBD believes this is LPL's soft underbelly because small-and -familial is why many advisors joined the old Linsco/Private Ledger from wirehouses in the first place

Thursday 8.9.12
Richard Smith: Callan gave me an ultimatum.

Callan terminates a $1-billion RIA as a client after a 20-year run after the RIA turned its competitive guns on Callan
CapGroup Advisors began to subadvise fellow RIAs and make its own UMA products, and Callan saw it as a conflict; the RIA agreed

Thursday 8.9.12
New York not the center of the RIA world? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Why the slow-evolving metro New York area is still on course to be the capital of the RIA business
The city's sheer wealth and jungle-like powers of regeneration alone mean that it can stomp San Francisco

Wednesday 8.8.12
Scott Smith: It almost seems like collecting the $15 fee would be more labor for UBS then it's worth.

Is UBS channeling its inner IBD in levying $15 charges on its advisors for redundant mobile devices?
The wirehouse's charges seem on target on paper but are they penny rational and pound foolish?

Wednesday 8.8.12
Rep. Spencer Bachus fired off a WSJ Op-Ed pushing for his bill two weeks after he had tabled it -- leaving advisors gobsmacked.

Amazed and confused: Advisors struggle to make sense of Bachus' Wall Street Journal Op-Ed salvo
House panel chief dives back into the oversight fray, but confusion persists over timing, intentions

Tuesday 8.7.12
Brian Hamburger: It’s like saying that private home pools need to have lifeguards on duty at all times because water parks are required to do so.

Brian Hamburger fires back at Rep. Spencer Bachus' Wall Street Journal op-ed
In his response to “Financial Advisers, Police Yourselves” the RIA lawyer derides the confusing message and demands cops, not community watch

Monday 8.6.12
Jonathan Bergman: It creates a beautiful intellectual challenge, and that's what gets me fired up.

A $6-billion multifamily office highlights its home-cooking approach to picking boutique managers with a star hire
TAG Associates, founded to manage big assets of a Warner Communications billionaire in 1983, is growing locomotive style by eschewing most outsourcing

Sunday 8.5.12
Jack Waymire: Your goal should be to dominate Page 1 on Google.

How RIAs can maximize their web marketing with nary a 'friend-ing' or tweet
Only 5% of advisors report significant traffic to their websites, but the reasons why are not mysterious

Sunday 8.5.12
Joe Russo: We needed to get our minds around the changing state of affairs.

What LPL's recruitment of a $2-billion beehive of NPC advisors says about its new sweet spot in the industry
Joe Russo's choice reframes LPL's identity from a conventional IBD to a central bureau that can serve the regional advisor-servicing companies in a growing number of instances

Friday 8.3.12
In its third year, RIABiz moved out of this houseboat and into dog-friendly office space

RIABiz turns three after experiencing big growth and its fair share of growing pains
It was a year of saying 'yes' to esteemed RIA business visitors to Mill Valley and saying 'no' to a world of distracting 'collaborators'

Friday 8.3.12
Skip Schweiss: I feel like democracy worked the way it is supposed to work and that should be encouraging to all advisors.

How RIA forces squashed the Bachus bill by calling the implicit FINRA bluff
Faced with the threat of more SEC exams and higher fees to pay for them, RIA leaders said in effect: Bring it on

Thursday 8.2.12
Rob Isbitts: Clients can even tell an advisor they would like a double-long midcap equity ETF.

5 counterintuitive reasons why the investment vehicle of the the decade is ... stocks
These days there are more varieties and combinations of investments than selections on a Starbucks menu -- but that's not necessarily a good thing

Thursday 8.2.12
Kate Healy: For me it's the culmination of the last 25 years of my career in the industry.

As Paul Zettl follows Tom Bradley to the retail side, Kate Healy becomes marketing chief of TD Ameritrade's RIA business
The former Merrill Lynch product manager will work from Jersey City and face the challenge of selling the not-so-soft landing of becoming an RIA

Wednesday 8.1.12
Phil Chiricotti: The DOL went off the reservation...They backed off and damaged their credibility.

What to make of DOL's backtrack after John Kerry, Fidelity Investments and the rest of the riled 401(k) industry cried foul
The policy reversal on on self-directed accounts is a win for white-collar workers but the agency's mandating-by-bulletin was equally troubling to some observers

Wednesday 8.1.12
Larry Roth's proposed purchase proves that AIG's Advisor Group is finally playing offense after the 2008 meltdown of its parent organization.

Press report: AIG pays in the ballpark of $115 million -- or $82,000 per rep -- for Woodbury
The low price-per-rep may reflect the fact that few of Woodbury's advisors are high-end producers with sophisticated clients, one analyst says

Wednesday 8.1.12

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