The Wire

December 17, 2012

HighTower Passes up $40 million Capital Raise

After taking a pass on a big new round of financing following one of the biggest deal-making tears in RIA history, HighTower Advisors LLC declared a mini-moratorium on purchases for the latter months of the year — and carried it out.

It’s a relatively radical action taken by a company accustomed to announcing big deals every few weeks.

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December 9, 2012

How RIAs are Becoming as Complacent as Wirehouses

Independent advisors have experienced a great run but they may be running out of time to make the changes needed to be part of tomorrow’s success story.

Since Cerulli Associates started publishing the growth metrics for the space in 2004, RIAs and IBDs have grown at a significantly faster pace relative to the rest of the industry. Perhaps this explains why many independent advisors now act like their wirehouse counterparts — complacent, entitled, and satisfied with their position in the financial advisory world.

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November 16, 2012

Advisors Rocked by Winds of Change in the Windy City

Financial advisors visiting the Windy City found themselves buffeted by the winds of change swirling around the financial markets and the advisory industry itself during the SchwabIMPACT 2012 conference in Chicago this week.

A frenetic stock market and a nail-biting countdown to the impending “fiscal cliff” that was fraught with high political drama served as the backdrop to the popular conference. The advisors’ world was hardly more tranquil. Many were taking calls from nervous clients worried about the fiscal cliff, while at the same time trying to make sense of the rapid evolution of their industry.

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November 15, 2012

Time to Get your Game on, Small Advisory Firms

Small advisory firms will face increasing competition for clients from larger RIA firms that have more resources and more-robust service offerings, according to owners of several large firms who are looking to expand.

The advisers, part of a panel today at Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.'s Impact 2012 conference in Chicago, warned smaller firms that their so-called “lifestyle” practices, which typically have little or no enterprise value, face a future of diminishing profit margins unless they take steps to build economies of scale into their businesses.

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November 12, 2012

Planners Who Don't Plan for Succession Face Unhappy Endings

Just as the cobbler's children go without shoes, two-thirds of independent advisors ignore succession planning. Such advisors could fall into an “annuity trap,” watching the value of their business degrade as they near the exit from their practice.

Avoiding such a trap requires time and effort: “A succession plan that maximizes sale value, could take more than 10 years, from beginning to end,” John Furey, principal of Advisor Growth Strategies, a consulting firm in Phoenix, told Financial Planning.

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November 12, 2012

aRIA Releases Second Whitepaper for Advisors

The Alliance for RIAs (aRIA) today released the second of a four-part whitepaper series for advisors called Creating Value and Certainty Within Your Independent Advisory Firm. The series of papers is based on the combined experience and observations of aRIA members who collectively manage over $20 billion of client assets.

aRIA (ah-ree-uh) group members include Brent Brodeski, CEO of Savant Capital; John Burns, Principal at Exencial Wealth Management; Ron Carson, CEO of Carson Wealth Management Group; Jeff Concepcion, CEO of Stratos Wealth Planning; Matt Cooper, President of Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors; and Neal Simon, CEO of Highline Wealth Management. Each has proven his ability to build and grow highly successful advisory firms by industry standards.

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