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Why 'nimble' advisers will make the best career moves

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If there’s one word to describe many of the advisers who've landed new jobs in the current financial services environment, it’s “nimble.”

Those who are agile enough in their job search are the ones that are finding great success, which is reflected in the number of big moves being reported recently.

No longer is the conversation a choice of between switching wirehouses, chosing independence or finding a firm offering the biggest deal. In fact, the tone has shifted to finding the best fit, based on what I have seen in my consulting work with advisory recruits.

The largest recruits managed more than $17 billion in client assets.
July 11

Advisers want a place where it is easy to do business, the payouts are attractive and compliance challenges are handled. Advisers also want firms with solid reputations, which clients trust will accommodate their needs. And advisers are finding these qualities, not just on the employee side of the business, but on the independent side as well.

No one on the employee side of the business will snub their nose at an adviser who decides to go an alternative route from the big brokerage world. In fact, some of the higher-end models in the independent and RIA space have recently garnered praise and scored high marks for the level of support and professionalism they offer, according to advisers and recruiters I have worked with.

It still remains important to assess the specific needs of candidates. The firms that do this best have listened to past recruits and tailored their businesses with advisers in mind.

Firms now offer a variety of platforms so advisers can find the products and services that best meet the needs of their practices and clients. The moves typically turn out to be a win for the firms no matter which platforms candidates choose since they are looking for a right fit, and in many cases find it. Recruiters say they are seeing fewer and fewer square pegs trying to fit inside round holes.

However, there are a few outside influences that may impact adviser moves in the coming months. First, the presidential elections cannot be ignored, no matter what side you’re on. This election cycle stands out from all previous, and advisers can bet there will be some punch to the market in November no matter who wins. It’s hard to predict whether this will be a positive or negative for strategic career moves.

Implementation of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule then follows in 2017, and with impacts at different levels. While some firms like Edward Jones are already braced for the new compliance requirements, others are going the opposite direction, dismissing the impending regulation because they do not believe it will affect them. Some firms are conveying this as confidence in their business when speaking to recruits.

At the same time, there are advisers using the fiduciary rule as an excuse to put off a move until the regulation goes into effect. They may want to reconsider given that there are other job candidates moving swiftly to grab opportunities.

The largest teams to go indie this year managed more than $5 billion in client assets.
July 7

Those opportunities are likely to increase as the year starts to wind down and firms rush to get recruits in the door for interviews. The companies that already met their quota for new advisers will surely make a big recruiting push in January.

So whether it's in the coming months or at the start of the new year, fast-moving advisers may find they have their pick of the best career moves, and those who aren't moving fast enough may find themselves left behind.

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