Attempting to cement its foothold in the fast growing dually registered advisor market, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services (IWS) and its correspondent broker/dealer business, National Financial, launched in early June HybridOne, a platform designed to offer hybrid advisors and broker/dealers a holistic array of servicing–including a wide swath of products, integrated technology, and streamlined client support. Ron Fiske was named executive VP of product development and management for IWS in early June, and is charged with overseeing HybridOne. Prior to joining Fidelity, Fiske spent eight years at Pershing, with the last four as managing director of the company’s product management and development group. With HybridOne, Fidelity appears to be moving at an opportune time. A recent report by Boston-based Cerulli Associates found that between 2004 and 2007, dually registered advisors (which Cerulli defines as those who maintain a B/D affiliation, but also have their own RIA–separate from the B/D–for purposes of providing fee-based advice) grew at an annualized rate of 22%, a “stark contrast,” Cerulli says, to other channels’ growth. For instance, the bank and RIA channels had only a 2% growth rate over the same three-year period, Cerulli found. Also, 30% of assets managed by RIAs, Cerulli notes, are managed by dually registered advisors. Washington Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell spoke with Fiske in late July about HybridOne.
What’s your goal in your new role?
To help maintain and enhance the overall value proposition of IWS’s entire product and service offering, both technology and asset gathering products.
Have you been instrumental in developing HybridOne, since you were brought on so recently?
There were a lot of folks both at IWS and National Financial who participated in the start and launch of HybridOne. I was asked to take over the [HybridOne] initiative that was in flight due to the fact that I had a background in both the advisor and broker/dealer fields.
What does HybridOne offer advisors?
HybridOne offers an ability to have a consolidated face of the market that would offer advisors a whole range of choices of how they want to operate. I think for us, investment professionals who decide to leave any broker/dealer and start out on their own and become an advisor should be offered as many choices as possible in how they want to operate. There are a lot of good reasons why people might want to retain their brokerage licenses and operate within a broker/dealer; other advisors may want to become 100% fee-based. We want to be able to say that we offer as broad a capability as possible and go out to the market in a truly consultative way both with IWS and National Financial salespeople representing both organizations and offering advisors a choice.
We are also going to make enhancements to our infrastructure here, some of which will be delivered this year and some in 2009, which will help advisors inter-operate between a broker/dealer platform and a registered investment advisor platform. They will be able to work within both worlds as easily as possible.
Any other custodians offering a platform similar to HybridOne?
I think [other] organizations are capable of offering it. We’re one of the first ones to try and stake that claim the way that we have.
It was developed because of advisor demand for these services?