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$180M J.P. Morgan Securities team goes independent with Snowden Lane

New York-based RIA Snowden Lane Partners opened its first Midwestern office with the addition of an $180 million team.

The Boyd Richard Group, comprised of Thomas Boyd and James Richard, joined the firm in Chicago from J.P. Morgan Securities at the beginning of the month.

It’s Snowden’s 11th U.S. location, following the recent opening of the Coral Gables, Florida office in June.

A spokeswoman for J.P. Morgan didn’t reply to requests for comment on the departures.

Boyd and Richard have 23 and 24 years of industry experience respectively, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Both advisors worked at Credit Suisse before moving to J.P. Morgan Securities.

The pair are part of an ongoing trend of wirehouse advisors bolting for independence.

Snowden Lane Partners-slideshow size

Since 2014, more than 800 advisors have decamped from Wall Street, aligning themselves with independent broker-dealers or as RIAs, according to hiring announcements and BrokerCheck data analyzed by Financial Planning.

Those advisors managed more than $140 billion in combined client assets, according to career moves confirmed by Financial Planning with advisors and hiring firms.

As for the weighty choice between launching an RIA or joining a pre-existing practice, it comes down to a matter of motive, says Paul Simons, president of private banking, wealth and trust at Boston Private.

Advisors who open their own RIAs are often prompted by a drive for control over their own practice, according to Simons and are willing to accept that it necessitates spending time and money on things such as legal, compliance, technology and marketing.

But as long as advisors can negotiate a fair deal, it is often better to join an established RIA than to start one, according to Mike Sedlak, managing member at Golden Trail Advisers.

“Starting an RIA is not hard, but it is extremely time consuming,” says Sedlak. “Management and compliance tasks take away time that could be spent in front of clients and prospects, adding value.”

Simons says becoming an employee of a pre-established RIA can provide advisors with everything a larger brand can — but without the negative connotations that have dogged Wall Street firms.

Going independent isn’t always the result of an “entrepreneurial itch” on the part of advisors, he says. “It's the knowledge that being affiliated with a wirehouse no longer carries the same benefits it once did.”

The RIA trend will persist, Simons says — at the expense of wirehouses like J.P. Morgan and to the benefit of clients.

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