When advisors consider transferring to a new broker-dealer, they are often so focused on remedying a contentious or otherwise difficult situation that they can be nearsighted to a host of important factors that will affect their overall happiness at a new firm. The universe of broker-dealers is large and diverse. Advisors looking to make a move are remiss not to investigate the following most overlooked, differentiating factors.
Financial Stability. The industry shake up of 2008 put many firms out of business, and left compliance issues and legal troubles on the table for many others. When shopping for a new broker-dealer, make sure the firm you choose can weather a storm should it be faced with arbitration or a prolonged down market. Safeguard yourself by asking for the BD’s excess net capital information–the difference between the minimum capital a firm is required to maintain to cover expenses and the amount it actually holds–and ensuring they have enough in reserves to cover any pending or current arbitration.
Regulatory Issues. In addition to checking a broker-dealer’s financial security, you’ll need to check for any pending arbitration against the firm on FINRA’s website. Compare pending and potential arbitration costs to the amount the broker-dealer has in excess net capital. A broker-dealer that has more on the line in pending arbitration costs than it does in excess net capital may be faced with trouble down the line.