What’s your view on the recruiting market in 2010 vs. 2009?
The wirehouse shuffle, as I call it, is now back to normal vs. the third quarter of 2009, when things really dropped off for various reasons.
Changing deals and changing dynamics at the four major firms in the early part of 2009 represented a period of mayhem. It was like the ship was sinking.
Now, it’s more of an even flow. The first part of 2009 was really good, and the second half was not so good.
But in 2010, if all things remain the same, there should be a steady flow of wirehouse brokers changing firms throughout the year.
What makes 2010 different?
Unlike in the past 15 or 17 years, Washington now plays a major role with proposed bank taxes, compensation rules and TARP. There is an overall desire to reign in Wall Street, and that could have an impact on the movement of brokers this year.
On the other hand, the consistency of deals could be a more important factor in influencing things —and advantageous to the wirehouses.
What happened in 2009 — when Bank of America took control of Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo took control of Wachovia and Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley came together —the recruiting deals and packages were changing all the time. This meant that many people didn’t want to move, when they found that their paperwork would be changing from one day to the next.
I’ve been told that this year, deals will be consistent at the majority of the firms. And that should help with recruiting.
Another factor is earnings, and recently positive earnings like those announced by Morgan Stanley, could also impact recruiting. And if earnings are down, or below estimates, like at BofA Merrill, that could influence things. Advisors are very weary of such developments these days.
What’s your view on today’s recruiting packages?
They are pretty good these days, and brokers are really paying attention. The upfront packages are going from about 85 to 145 percent of yearly production. This is decent, and near where we were last year —though the upfront bonus went as high as 160 percent in 2009.
There are a lot of bogies in the back, meaning packages that total 165 percent to 330 percent.