The advisor I met in Denver on March 18 was an experienced hand, a longtime NAPFA member to boot, but he told me that not only was he seriously considering using annuities–horrors!–for his clients’ retirement income needs, but he confided he was rethinking everything, everything he thought he knew about investing.
Tom Naughton, who has been managing money in Asia for 15 years, told me on March 17 that “investing money now is more difficult than ever.” Charles Goldman, the ex-Schwab Institutional chief who now runs Fidelity’s RIA custody unit, National Financial clearing arm, and family office business, in an interview on March 19 said that “nothing feels like” the current macroeconomic environment. Unlike previous financial and market crises Goldman’s been through “it’s so much more systemic” now, he says. David Edstrom, the veteran advisor and chief marketing officer of the Chicago-based advisor outsourcing firm BridgePortfolio, admitted to me in February that “this is the first time I’ve had trouble sleeping.” Then he voiced a sentiment that I’ve noticed among many advisors I’ve spoken with over the past month or so: “Now that the shock is over, it’s time to get new clients.”
That’s the motivation behind LPL’s new referral program, and behind the dating services that Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and Pershing Advisor Solutions are all running for captive brokers looking for new homes and which can benefit existing RIA firms that are looking to grow by adding a new partner with a nice book of business, or even provide a successor longer term. The big independent broker/dealers have similar programs for similar reasons, though some cannot quite publicize them if they are part of a bigger organization.