RCS Capital (RCAP), which owns Cetera Financial Group and includes 10 independent broker-dealers and firms, said early Tuesday that it would rebrand its advisor-focused operations, expand its support services and continue to work with Pershing, which custodies assets managed by many of its 9,400 independent and other advisors.
“We are naming the retail-advice division Cetera Financial Group,” said Larry Roth, CEO of the business, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “We are not changing the brands of the independent broker-dealers.”
As for the custodial arrangements of its advisors, “Pershing has been an important partner and should be part of our strategy going forward,” Roth said. “We have no plans to disrupt the partnership.”
The news comes less than a week after RCS Capital said it was buying VSR Group, which has some $12.3 billion in client assets and 264 affiliated advisors. It also comes just less than a year since Roth left his leadership role at the AIG Advisor Group to join RCAP, which has Nicholas Schorsch as its executive chairman.
“This is a hugely important announcement. We had already announced the purchase of First Allied before I came on board,” Roth explained, “and we were very lucky to have attracted Cetera [in January]. This enabled us to do what we are announcing today. Cetera has built a very robust technology platform.”
Cetera’s operations include Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Specialists, Cetera Investment Services (marketed as Cetera Financial Institutions), First Allied Securities, Investors Capital, J.P. Turner and Co., the Legend Group, Summit Brokerage Services and VSR Financial.
All advisors affiliated with these brands will have access to Connect2Clients, a marketing portal and advice service for FAs developed by Cetera; Pentameter, First Allied’s practice management and business consulting platform; and best practices in service and support from Summit Brokerage Services and Investors Capital, for instance.
“We look at the best of what the independent broker-dealers have to offer and are taking these tools across our firms by year-end,” Roth said.
While acquisitions of more IBDs are likely to happen “opportunistically,” retaining advisors and improving fees and commissions (“same-store sales”) are the top priorities, the executive notes.
“We will work to be the best in the independent space when it comes to services for our advisors,” he said. We have eight consultants working with them [via one program] and will add people or identify others in the organization, so we can go to all advisors and help them grow their business.”
Roth isn’t inclined to share exactly how Cetera will catch up with larger rival LPL Financial (LPLA), of course, which has 13,840 affiliated independent reps.
For advisors who use Pershing or Fidelity as their clearing firm, for example, “We are going to continue to be a very attractive alternative if they want to move their business,” he explained.