Fidelity Investments said it has seen an increase in the number of “breakaway” brokerage teams going independent.

The Boston fund giant, which also serves as a custodian in helping brokers establish independent practices, said it helped 95 individuals and teams go independent in the first half of 2010. That included 13 teams with at least $250 million or more in assets. Fidelity said that the average assets per breakaway team on its platform increased 65% over the same time period last year.

The idea of teams going independent could be the beginning of a new long-term trend, according to Fidelity. “While the breakaway phenomenon continues, we are clearly in the early stages of a new phase—one dominated by larger teams that are taking a more deliberate approach to understanding their options for independence,” said Scott Dell’Orfano, executive vice president and head of sales and relationship management of Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, in a press release. “We continue to invest in the resources that brokers need not only to make a seamless transition to independence, but once the transition is complete, to more effectively service their clients and win new business,” he said in the release.

While the idea of going independent has long been viewed as an attractive option for advisors, there is also growing evidence that many wirehouse advisors prefer to stay in the same channel if the move.

In a story in On Wall Street, a growing chorus of advisors and outside observers extol the virtues of the wirehouse way of life. One of the biggest reasons that surfaced during our reporting: All the buzz of going independent has obscured the opinion of a great many advisors who do not want to be an entrepreneur. In fact, they view all the small business necessities as a drag on the time and energy on what they really want to do, which is interacting with clients.



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