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Articles Published February 2013


Leo Kelly: I broached the subject and said I'd really like for us to work together some day.

This RIA recruited the Morgan Stanley manager who almost recruited him ...
... right after he grabbed a Fortigent CIO-type and hotshot Merrill advisor

Thursday 2.28.13
Dennis Gibb: There is a snake in the garden.

What I learned from four failed attempts to find a successor for my $1.5-billion AUA RIA
Dennis Gibb finds that replacing himself after 40 years is no easy task -- and he may not try again

Wednesday 2.27.13
Frank Zecca: We do so much for our athletes. We don't have a lot of time to figure out how to run our business.

How exactly a sports super agency plans to use Dynasty Financial to extend its dominance to the RIA business
Octagon has 800 employees, Michael Phelps and the like as clients but it wealth management arm is not so major league, yet

Tuesday 2.26.13
Michael Goodman: If you are looking for a boondoggle, this isn’t it.

The AICPA gets down with advisors in Vegas -- well, as much as accountants can
Michael Kitces, Roger Gibson, Harold Evensky and David Kelly were among the attendees of the rapidly growing conference -- and key tax changes got a close look

Tuesday 2.26.13
Mike Paulus: If we took all the business we could this quarter, we would fail as a company.

Addepar slashes prices, opens up its architecture and shows RIA custodians some love as it confronts market realities
Though these moves show the dynamo is not impervious to competition, Mike Paulus says that the growth is still nosebleed-threatening

Monday 2.25.13
Lyman Howard: We have been floored by RIAs' willingness to share not only advice, but sometimes even business opportunities.

How and why I'm starting an RIA from scratch and what I'm spending to make it happen
A former institutional bond broker and Navy lieutenant is now eight months into the RIA game. Here's what the view from the starting line looks like in 2013

Friday 2.22.13
Kevin Chisholm: I don't think you can have the conversation about cost without talking about asset allocation and, ultimately, performance.

Schwab garners $4 billion in index-only 401(k) assets fast out of the gate
Critics applaud the San Francisco broker's early success but wonder whether such a cost-focused approach is really enough

Friday 2.22.13
Scott Hanson: We think this is the biggest thing we’ve done.

New RIA with familiar faces gets running start at putting advisors into the 401(k) driver's seat
Two financial entrepreneurs have 50 firms on board; the idea is for Pathway Strategic Advisors to take the fiduciary burden off of advisors who handle 401(k) assets for clients

Thursday 2.21.13
David Miller: They said, If you leave we'll come with you.

Portfolio Pathway and $3-billion RIA-TAMP deepen an alliance that has Pershing at its core
The Illinois-based performance software maker got going from its founder Pershing's roots -- and now an embrace of Folio Dynamix by the clearing company is opening a new chapter

Thursday 2.21.13
Mindy Diamond: You can imagine the size of transition packages that he was offered and turned down.

HighTower grabs sought-after $650 million Merrill Lynch 'life sciences' team and shrugs off recent deal slowdown
In the old money town of Philadelphia, the strategic buyer is 'planting a flag' and going after new wealth created in the biotech realm

Wednesday 2.20.13
 Jack Waymire: How are you supposed to recall the details of a conversation that took place three years ago?

9 ways RIAs can get a leg up by using a pillar of pension plans -- a written contract
Words and a handshake are well and good, but and IPS is forever, and your client will thank you for it

Wednesday 2.20.13
Ted Bloomberg: $7.4 billion is not the finish line.

The Mutual Fund Store makes big moves: storming Manhattan, going big on Tamarac and quadrupling its disc jockey force
With John Bunch in charge and Warburg Pincus capital in the tank, the $7.4 billion RIA is making an honest effort at creating a national mass-affluent firm

Tuesday 2.19.13
Joe Duran says about making millions: I felt no real comfort about my family's financial situation.

Joe Duran hits The New York Times best-seller list with 'The Money Code' and is feeding his big RIA with the leads
The gist of the story: He was rich as hell at 34 years old after selling a company to GE and he realized it didn't solve much

Monday 2.18.13
Jason Lahita: This was scarier than anything I'd ever experienced, and made the 'difficulty' of the decision seem laughable.

How my experiences with RIA pioneers, and the love of my mother, inspired me to a different breakaway story
Jason Lahita had mentoring from Joe Duran, Ron Carson and Mindy Diamond but his mother's early onset dementia gave him the final nudge to take a risk

Monday 2.18.13
Aaron Klein: I'm hoping that our entire industry will rise up and throw the idea of selling IPOs and derivatives to grandmothers under the bus.

Riskalyze debuts website featuring 'worst' wirehouse portfolios to shock and attract clients
Horror stories abound -- like the 82-year-old widow who has 15% of her holdings in Apple stock and 9% in Facebook

Friday 2.15.13
Tim Welsh: If you're not there people say, Why isn't so and so there? It's the missing persons effect.

Postscript: What exactly should we make of the T3 phenomenon?
True, software vendors themselves may be more enthused than advisors, but the conflagration of information-sharing ventures on RIAs' behalf is no footnote

Friday 2.15.13
Fidelity brought to T3 a smart TV using Aviya technology that provides avatars for an online, remote meeting.

T3 goes big in Miami but Fidelity steals the show with avatar advisors and smart coffee tables
Joel Bruckenstein's hype about his event's must-see status ain't hype as virtually every RIA technology vendor -- from behemoth to garage dweller -- put on a show for advisors

Thursday 2.14.13
Sheldon Geller: Fee-only advisors have, by their choice of compensation, eliminated most, if not all, conflicts inherent in the marketplace.

How RIAs can rule the 401(k) realm by becoming advocates for plan sponsors -- and start by eliminating eight marketplace conflicts
Brokers can still claim an edge with their knowledge of DC administrative matters but that's a bowling pin ready for the toppling

Thursday 2.14.13
Mike Durbin: We can't take somebody by the scruff of the neck but we can be much more methodical.

Viewing RIAs in a new light, Fidelity Institutional shifts from a top-down to a bottom-up emphasis to serve them
A couple of counterintuitive findings in a big study are part of Mike Durbin's more methodical approach to practice management

Wednesday 2.13.13
Esther Stearns: We are not really recruiting advisors in the sense LPL does. We're training them to become good advisors.

NestWise is starting to take shape and take flight under LPL's wing -- and from under Schwab's shadow
The San Fran-based venture, headed by a former Schwabie, is pioneering technology, mass-affluent retainers and choice of labor pool, for starters

Wednesday 2.13.13
Lyman Howard: We feel we could have gotten away with cobbling together some freeware ... That option, however, would have left us with zero customer service.

How I picked technology -- from Black Diamond-in-SSG to Dudamobile -- to use in my startup RIA
We're free of legacy systems and just in time for mobile computing, cloud storage, and social media's adoption by the masses

Tuesday 2.12.13
Brian Shenson: We're ... letting everyone read our own review of ourselves.

Schwab bluntly reviews PortfolioCenter to coax thin-skinned software vendors to its Zagat-like forum
Our take on Schwab's self-review: It's disarmingly fair but short on specifics -- and just plain short

Tuesday 2.12.13
John Prendergast: [Current data aggregation is] like buying copper pipe when you want a finished bathroom. Blueleaf is the finished bathroom

How Blueleaf sees itself taming the RIA's two betes noire -- and how it is being challenged on that
The new-ish Cambridge-based company has big deals with Redtail and MoneyGuidePro and hopes, amid skepticism aplenty, to literally change wealth management

Monday 2.11.13
Michael Kress: It could have been a tragedy

ThinkEquity bankruptcy rattles loose an RIA, born ThinkTactical, of proven talent and a padlocked door
The recruitment of Michael Kress and Tony Cantando gives Jeff Spears' venture a new pasture to graze

Monday 2.11.13
Paul Weisbruch questions whether Schwab is providing the same apparent ETF value once trading spreads are figured in.

Schwab makes play for ETF-distribution domination but not without risks
Low margins, a small list of ETFs, plenty of competition and possible trade-spread issues make this OneSource bid no slam-dunk

Friday 2.8.13
Brian Hamburger: Don't think for a moment this is it. FINRA is playing coy.

FINRA's regulatory white flag may be a pause before it plays white knight to SEC's cash-starved damsel
Brian Hamburger, David Tittsworth and Pat Burns see no gain in breathing easy with so many endgame possibilities still in play

Friday 2.8.13
John Hancock is a Boston company that scored in San Diego by recruiting a local legend, Tony Gwynn.

An advertiser's-eye view of TD Ameritrade's cram-packed RIA conference
Throwing a really expensive winter marketing party in San Diego for 3,000 -- or paying your way there -- is a good value

Thursday 2.7.13
John Burns: We have to grow.

With new deal, Exencial edges near to $1 billion and starts to look like an RIA acquisition alpha dog
After a big 2011 merger, the Oklahoma-based firm is back in deal mode targeting the Southwest

Thursday 2.7.13
Rob Isbitts: There is no reason to continue like this.

The 5 biggest errors of intellectual omission by RIAs -- in fact, most advisors
There's a staleness of practice thinking behind a box-checking facade that is none too impressive itself

Thursday 2.7.13
Dan Arnold: I'll reinforce there are no customer-facing roles [that will be cut].

LPL's RIA assets skyrocketed in 2012
Outsourcing is are still on the agenda though the CFO categorically denies advisor-facing jobs will be lost

Wednesday 2.6.13
W. Patrick Clarke and his son Scott were killed when their Cessna 410C went down on Nov. 10.

A terrible loss in the RIA business of the original breakaway broker
A plane crash takes Patrick Clarke, the founding owner of Orion, Gemini and CLS, who leaves behind a family and friends in grief and three booming companies

Wednesday 2.6.13
Gordon J. Bernhardt with keynote speaker Condi Rice

Three RIA citizen journalists file dispatches from the TD Ameritrade conference
Our duly deputized scribes -- two RIA presidents and a social media consultant -- fanned out in San Diego last week and reported back from very different perspectives

Wednesday 2.6.13
Rick Meigs: It seems like a big pot of assets to be walking away from.

Merrill Lynch pulls advisors from a $2.9-billion business -- and leaves the light on for RIAs
The Bank of America subsidiary sees too much peril in the public-pension business and RIAs like John Beirne smell opportunity

Tuesday 2.5.13
Stephen Cucchiaro: Think of all the bad things that could happen in the future.

As Windhaven assets head moonward, Stephen Cucchiaro keeps right on warning of falling skies in New York
At IMCA event, the Schwab investments superstar is selling catastrophe-proofing at Dow 14,000 as well as he was at Dow 7,000

Tuesday 2.5.13
Rick Rodgers: The average taxpayer will spend an estimated 23 hours completing their return this year.

7 mistakes you can help your clients avoid on their 2012 tax return
RIAs aren't accountants but they should be sure clients don't blow the no-brainers

Tuesday 2.5.13
Flash mob dance crew 'The Poreotics' take center stage at the 17th annual industry conference.

TD celebrates its $200 billion tipping point with an exuberant, VIP-rich conference in San Diego
Malcolm Gladwell, Pat Benatar and Condi Rice were on hand as TD served notice it's going after the $28 trillion millennials will soon bring to the table

Monday 2.4.13
Tom Bradley and Tom Nally are still very much at ease sharing a stage.

Tim Welsh grills Tom Nally and Tom Bradley at TD's annual conference
The two Q&As reveal where the president of TD's RIA business is looking for the firm's next $100 billion and that Tom Bradley isn't saying never to rejoining RIAs

Monday 2.4.13
Karl Thunemann: Schwab has an opportunity to put its values into action by radically changing its separation policies.

Why I moved my account from Schwab's RIA and what Chuck could do to improve Schwab Private Client
After the double defection of the assigned branch and portfolio manager, a loyal but disillusioned customer sends an emphatic message to the front office

Friday 2.1.13
Richard Yoken:  I’ve always decided to fly under the radar and now we don’t mind being picked up over the radar.

A $1 billion RIA in the NY burbs got there without marketing now Focus Financial is assigned the makeover
Portfolio Strategy Group sells to the New York-based RIA umbrella and a website is the first order of business

Friday 2.1.13

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