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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Roth Replaces RCAP’s Brown as Schorsch Defends Move

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Nicholas Schorsch and RCS Capital Corp. (RCAP) have reshuffled the leadership of the group’s advice platform and its roughly 9,000 independent reps.

CEO Valerie Brown of Cetera Financial is leaving the company, RCAP says. In an interview with ThinkAdvisor, Schorsch, chairman of RCAP, said worries about the burgeoning IBD giant turning into a boys’ club were misplaced.

Larry Roth, who moved to RCS from the AIG-owned Advisor Group less than a year ago, will now be CEO of its independent broker-dealer operations, RCAP said early Tuesday. The IBD business includes First Allied Securities and the four Cetera Financial Group broker-dealers, which have already been bought, in addition to Investors Capital, Summit Brokerage Services and J.P. Turner & Co., which are in the process of being acquired by RCAP.

“Over the years, Cetera has grown into the thriving business it is today, and Ms. Brown has expressed to me that she feels privileged to have played a role in its development,” said RCAP President Michael Weill, in a press release. “With Cetera operating as a unit of RCAP, Ms. Brown believes now is the right time for her to transition from her role as CEO of Cetera into a consulting role with Cetera and on to other pursuits.”

Check out Nicholas Schorsch’s IA 25 profile.

At least one industry veteran, recruiter Jon Henschen, says he “is kind of sad” to see Brown depart. “She is very well regarded and known for her analytical skills,” Henschen said in an interview. “When I was placing female reps [at Cetera], I could say ‘Here’s a selling point.’”

While Roth is CEO of the RCS-owned IBDs, Adam Antoniades — CEO of First Allied Holdings — will now serve as president of Cetera Financial. Last week, First Allied Securities tapped Kevin Keefe as its president; Keefe previously was head of wealth management for the AIG-owned Advisor Group.

Roth, a 30-year industry veteran, was the CEO of the predecessor company to Cetera Financial, ING’s U.S. Retail Group. 

“My concern is that these changes [at RCS Capital] could this reflect a move toward ‘good ole boy management,’ which can make it a struggle for women in upper management to gain ground,” Henschen said.

Schorsch, RCAP’s executive chairman, says this concern is misplaced. “We have some of the major women in the industry working for us,” he explained in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

“They play a critical role in our organization, and we pride ourselves on the involvement of women, including five board members … 30% of the W-2 employees of RCS … and 147 women in our senior ranks,” he added.

RCAP and sister-company American Realty Capital include several female leaders: Catherine Bonneau is president and CEO of Cetera Financial Institutions, and Lisa McAlister is senior vice president and chief accounting officer of American Realty Capital Properties.

RCAP says Roth will make “a number of additional appointments to senior leadership positions … in the coming weeks, at which point the complete managment team for the retail platform will have been assembled.”

“When we hired Mr. Roth last summer, we knew he could contribute significantly to our future success across the breadth of our enterprise,” said Schorsch in a statement. “Our announcement today represents the tremendous confidence we have placed in both his leadership abilities and his strategic vision.”

Advisors, Henschen says, may not be jumping up and down about more changes. “They want consistency,” he said. “Sweeping changes of the next few months would not bode well. It raises questions and can breed insecurity.”

Rather than any big shifts, Schorsch says, the company is focused on elevating managers. “We are making more opportunities for high-quality individuals, so [Roth and the organization] can incubate them and help them grow, along with their great ideas,” he explained.

The personnel moves “show the stability and the strength of the company,” Schorsch adds, noting that many of the promotions announced Tuesday affect people who already worked for Cetera.

“It’s a shame that Brown couldn’t stay with us,” he stressed. “She would have been in good company.”

Check out Nicholas Schorsch, the Mission of a Man: The 2014 IA 25 Profile on ThinkAdvisor.


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