Ex-LPL, Schwab Recruiter Opens Office to Help Advisors Go Indie

The complexity of available business models requires a new type of service, according to Al McIntee

Veteran recruiter Al McIntee is relying on his 13 years of experience with LPL Financial (LPLA), Charles Schwab (SCHW) and Cetera Advisor Networks to start a new business for advisors who want to go independent or change their business model.

The number of options for advisors has gone way up over the past decade or so, and reps need someone to help them with “the exhaustive discovery work,” says McIntee, 46, who worked as an advisor for Merrill Lynch (BAC) when he started in the field.

For instance, there are the numerous regulatory and financial considerations that go along with understanding whether or not it’s worthwhile to form your own RIA, he explains. “Many financial advisors think the hybrid-RIA model may be right for them, and I can help demystify what independence is,” said McIntee in a phone interview with ThinkAdvisor.  

The average third-party industry recruiter aims to put advisors in touch with five broker-dealers. “They do a high-volume business and need to place advisors where they can collect the highest fees. It can be very impersonal, and a lot of the work is done online.”

Rather than helping advisors simply switch firms, McIntee says he tailors his services. “I can look at their books of business and discuss the merits of forming their own RIA or working with a corporate RIA and of staying with a hybrid model vs. going RIA only,” he shared.

In addition, issues like software programs for portfolio management and client relationships, back-office integration and licensing have to be carefully discussed.

“Advisors want some flexibility. They need to understand what model is right for their book of business,” explained McIntee, whose office is located in the Greater San Diego area. “A generic recruiter typically tries to get an advisor in touch with four or five broker-dealers and hope that one sticks.”

Current Operations

McIntee, who is meeting with several potential clients in New York this week, says his sweet spot is working with wirehouse advisors who want to go independent or IBD reps "looking to find better mousetraps." This includes working with reps who may have a good percentage of their business in separately managed accounts, for instance, and with clients who need collateralized lending.

“I want to do the legwork for the advisor,” he explained. “Also, reps can get paralysis analysis when they are poring over spreadsheets. I can look at their mix of business and goals and narrow the search down to two or three of the top firms after doing lots of due diligence.” The work is “platform agnostic,” he adds.

His target reps and teams have about $400,000-$500,000 in yearly fees and commissions or more and at least $50 million in assets under management.

In general, recruiters receive about 5%-7% of an advisor’s trailing 12-month production after a recruiting deal is signed — about 3% or 4% up front. The recruiting broker-dealer pays these fees, not the advisor, according to McIntee. Custodial firms typically pay recruiters 5-6 basis points for assets under management that are moved to them.

Working with a recruiter means an advisor’s confidentiality can be protected during the process, so an existing broker-dealer won’t find out a rep is looking around and getting ready to move.

“There are recruiters that will tell advisors just what they want to hear,” McIntee cautioned. “I can decipher the white noise, since I know what drives profitability. I can get advisors the top transitional assistance, as I know how margins and technology work."

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