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Cetera Rolls Out First Allied’s Pentameter to Entire Network

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Cetera Financial Group announced Thursday that it is rolling out a practice management platform that was created by First Allied Securities, one of its member broker-dealers, over a year ago.

According to a statement from Cetera, the new platform, Pentameter, offers advisors a centralized reporting dashboard that will help them determine the strengths and weaknesses of their firms based on five measures of success: business development, operational efficiency, human capital, business management and succession planning.

“We are very excited to make the industry-leading, innovative Pentameter platform available to all of Cetera’s affiliated advisors,” Adam Antoniades, president of Cetera Financial Group, said in a statement. “By giving our advisors a sophisticated level of visibility into their own businesses and linking each of them directly to resources that can most effectively help them capitalize on the opportunities available to them, Pentameter puts the power of the Cetera network behind each of our advisors.”

Antoniades added that “assisting our outstanding Business Consulting professionals in understanding how they can effectively help to build an advisor’s practice, we expect Pentameter will enable a higher level of engagement between our advisors and the professionals who are positioned to help them achieve their long-term strategic goals.”

Pentameter was first launched at First Allied in June. Since then, 40% of advisors affiliated with the firm have used the platform, including more than half with over $1 million in annual revenue.

The platform has been updated with enhanced analytics and expanded access to third-party content. Future improvements include a basic valuation tool to give advisors an idea of how their day-to-day operations are moving them toward their goals.

In an interview with ThinkAdvisor on Friday, Antoniades said that driving advisor growth is a “go-to message” for independent broker-dealers, but that Cetera has made a “significant investment” throughout the enterprise. To that end, the firm recently appointed Brett Harrison, head of Cetera Advisors, the executive vice president of advisor growth.

Regarding Pentameter, “To drive advisor growth, you have to help advisors improve and become better business people,” Antoniades said on Friday. “There’s no better way to do that than to help them properly assess where in the evolution of their business lifecycle they are and what their competencies [are].”

Pentameter facilitates that assessment, Antoniades said, and provides a path to help advisors implement a plan that addresses any weaknesses. Pentameter is important to Cetera because it addresses key issues that all scale players have to deal with, he added. “How do you create a customized offering for your advisor? How do you not homogenize the offering in such a way where you’re not clear as to whether an individual advisor has benefited from your offering?”

Advisors’ firms are all very different, he said, which makes it difficult for a broker-dealer to address the specific issues those firms are facing. Pentameter allows the advisors to measure their own competencies.

“Rather than us come up with an initiative and then blanket the entire network of advisors with the same initiative whether they like it or not, whether they need it or not, whether they want it or not, this way we give the advisor the ability to tell us what they want to focus on,” Antoniades said.

Through Pentameter, Cetera can identify which issues a group of advisors needs help with and develop a strategy to help them address it. “What I’m not doing is going to all advisors all the time with every possible initiative which generally results in fractured mindshare and frustration because they may not want it.”

Cetera launched in January a marketing platform for its advisors that gives them access to preapproved and personalized content.

“As we previously demonstrated with the Connect2Clients platform, Cetera is committed to delivering effective, innovative tools from across our network to each advisor we serve,” Antoniades said. “With Pentameter, we are providing our advisors with the tools they need to realize an even greater level of control over their businesses and their future.”

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