From the September 2010 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

September 1, 2010

Broker/Dealer Briefing: News and Products

Securities America, the 1,900-representative independent broker/dealer, announced July 26 that it had named Jim Nagengast to succeed Steve McWhorter, who resigned in January as CEO of the Omaha-based firm, a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial. In an interview, Nagengast said that as part of his priorities now, "we'll focus even more on our fee-based platform." Moreover, he said that "if you want to be a leader in fee-based, you have to be a leader in retirement income distribution," as seen in the broker/dealer's NextPhase coaching program.

HighTower, the RIA firm based in Chicago that has been growing as breakaway wirehouse brokers join its ranks, has announced its latest partner, Three Bridge Wealth Advisors, an advisory firm based in Menlo Park, California, a California advisory firm with $740 million in assets that has deep ties to the Silicon Valley community.

AIG found itself in the news on August 6 when it posted a $2.7 billion loss for the second quarter of 2010. On August 8, in perhaps even worse news for the company, AIG was missing in action on the soccer pitch as Manchester United, the world's most valuable sports franchise was victorious in the traditional opening of the English Premier League. AIG had appeared prominently on the front of the Manchester United players' shirts since 2006, with various British newspapers saying AIG paid about $25 million annually to be only the third corporation to appear on the front of the Man U jersey for four years. Instead, Aon (NYSE ticker: AON), the Chicago-based risk management, reinsurance, and HR consulting firm, now appears on the Man U "kit" in another four-year deal; the British papers say Aon is paying about $33 million per year for the privilege of sponsoring the shirts.

Ringing the bell to start the day of trading at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, July 29, Envestnet Inc. formally became a public company under the ticker ENV. In an interview, chairman and CEO Judson Bergman said the company's primary focus moving forward was to continue to "organically grow" its advisor business, noting that over the past few years the firm had grown the number of advisors using its technology and investing platform by 12% (to 19,000 advisors, with Envestnet managing or administering $100 billion in assets), and that those advisors had grown their own businesses at an 18% clip while the overall number of end-user accounts at Envestnet had grown 32%.

Independent Portfolio Consultants (IPC) has transferred 1,400 client accounts worth over $1 billion away from troubled broker-dealer Jesup & Lamont Securities Corp. to the broker-dealer subsidiary of Clearbrook Financial--Managed Account Services. IPC client assets will continue to be custodied with First Clearing.

Stifel Financial said its second quarter net income of $21.1 million, or $0.60 per share, on net revenues of $328 million were affected by expenses of $0.09 per share related to its recent merger with Thomas Weisel Partners Group. The company now has 1,940 financial advisors, up from 1,562 last year. In March, St. Louis-based Stifel reached a deal with UBS to acquire up to 55 branches with their 320 financial advisors.

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