June 7, 2013

Commonwealth Names Hunter President, COO; Adds Affiliation Models

Former president Wheeler now vice chairman of the IBD, which has about 1,450 advisors

Rich HunterCommonwealth Financial Network says it named Rich Hunter as the independent broker-dealer’s new president and chief operating officer on Monday; Hunter (left) has been and will continue to serve as Commonwealth’s chief financial officer.

Peter Wheeler (below, right), who served as president of the privately owned firm since 1992, is now vice chairman. He will retain oversight of legal and compliance operations for the IBD, while focusing on long-term management issues and strategic planning.

“Peter has been a strong force in the growth and success of Commonwealth over the years, and I am extremely grateful that his new role will grant him the ability to continue to touch all areas of the business …,” said Wayne Bloom, CEO of Commonwealth, in a press release. “Peter has been, and will continue to be, an essential component to Commonwealth’s success.”

Founded in 1979 in Waltham, Mass., Commonwealth has about 1,450 advisors. It was the third-ranking IBD as measured by revenue in the Investment Advisor's 2013 Broker-Dealer Reference Guide.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this [new] role than Rich,” Bloom said. “His advisor-centric approach to indispensable service, combined with his deep understanding of the independent advisory marketplace, makes him uniquely qualified for this role [as president, COO and CFO].”

The news of the executive shifts comes on the heels of the IBD’s announcement that it now offers five affiliation models for advisors, including corporate RIA and RIA-only affiliations. Other affiliations are those of a traditional representative, a dual-registered rep and a hybrid-rep model.

“We are pleased to expand our offering and allow financial advisors who choose to affiliate with Commonwealth even more freedom to run their business,” said Bloom, in a separate release.

In 2012, it had sales of $712 million. The average level of yearly fees and commissions (or production) per rep was $401,000—giving it the top spot for average production per advisor in Investment Advisor’s 2013 rankings. It also ranked third in terms of its friendliness to RIAs and seventh for home-office support.

“This is an exciting extension in our service offering, and we are thrilled to see how these new affiliation models translate to a more flexible way of growing a business,” said Andrew Daniels, managing principal of business development at Commonwealth, in a statement.

In May, Commonwealth also added the position of senior vice president to its ranks, promoting seven individuals to this position within their respective departments.

“This realignment is another step toward a stronger core and more successful future for our firm," Bloom said, "and these changes will provide the structure to better position ourselves as a premier independent broker-dealer–RIA to financial advisors.”

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Read 5 IBDs That Changed the Game on AdvisorOne.

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