It's good to be Jon Henschen. The founder and president of Henschen and Associates, a broker/dealer recruiting firm in the independent channel, is having his best year ever--even more so than 2009.
"I've been placing a of lot high-dollar groups looking to make a change with new firms," he says. "With certain broker/dealers completely dissolving and others in regulatory trouble, it shows little sign of slowing."
Little sign of slowing. That's the key phrase. While last year is considered the high-water mark for recruitment at many broker/dealers, the flux is far from over. Initial public offerings; firm dissolutions; legislative and regulatory action; name changes. As one salty Obama administration official put it, "you never let a crisis go to waste." And that includes advisors. Opportunity abounds, and there's an independent broker/dealer out there for every rep personality and selling style. And it will only get better. As Chip Roame, head of Tiburon Strategic Advisors once told us:
"Everyone talks about the mass exodus from the wirehouses. I don't think it's ever happened. People have lost perspective because there are 70,000 brokers at the wirehouses. So if there's some mass defection going on then there must be thousands leaving, right? If it's hundreds leaving, then hundreds divided by 70,000 is not mass defection. It's pathetic. I don't think this happens within a year, but in three to five years I think the broker industry will be independent."
That was in 2008. We're not as far along as Roame predicted, but it's unquestionably headed in that direction. Independent broker/dealers and their advisors are in a prime position to benefit. One more reason to feel good about the rebound.