Embattled real-estate mogul Nicholas Schorsch and his colleagues at RCS Capital (RCAP) and American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP) aren’t the only ones who need talk to lawyers and accountants these days.
Financial advisors at Cetera Financial Group, part of RCAP, need access to these professionals — but for all the right reasons, according the firm, which includes over 9,000 affiliated reps.
To address this need, Cetera launched its Advanced Planning Group for some of its top-producing advisors on Thursday, says Steve Dunlap, executive vice president of wealth management for Cetera. The full rollout should be wrapped up within about 12 months. (Some 10% of FAs are getting immediate access to the consultants.)
“There are often more complex issues involving legal matters, taxation, accounting and other issues that advisor face — like how to handle a charitable-remainder trust, an estate-planning issue or employee stock options. And these are [topics] that experts in legal issues, accounting and insurance can be there for them as knowledge resources,” Dunlap explained in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.
Best of all, advisors can tap these resources without worrying about the overhead.
“They know they can trust [the consultant], and the hourly meter is not running,” the executive explained. “This helps advisors deliver the best decision-making for investors. It’s internal consulting — or the advisor’s advisor.”
Cetera can offer this service to advisors thanks to its scale, he adds. “This is part of what our business model is all about. If an independent advisor wants to hire a lawyer, it doesn’t make sense to bring on as a staff member. We can do that for when [advisors have complicated situations],” Dunlap said.
The Advanced Planning Group is based in the Los Angeles area and includes eight professionals. This number is likely to increase as demand picks up, according to Cetera.
“Bit by bit, we will add resources as needed,” stated the executive, who adds that he started out in the business as an advisor with Legg Mason in the early ‘90s but is no longer a producing rep.
“I spoke with one advisor who called in and got back 17 pages of laws and codes to consider,” Dunlap explained. “He was blown away and said, ‘It’s such a great resource.’ He got all that he needed and more.”