There’s a lot of change taking place in the advisory business: Cetera Financial Group recently said it would sell a major stake to Genstar Capital; shares of Focus Financial (which counts KKR and Stone Point Capital as large stakeholders) began trading on Nasdaq; and about 10 months after it sold a substantial interest to Thomas Lee Partners, HighTower Advisors CEO Elliot Weissbluth announced the firm is seeking a new chief executive, though he will stay on as chairman.
These developments have kept our news team busy. They’ve also been food for thought for the leaders of independent broker-dealers, four of whom explain their views on a variety of industry topics in this month’s cover story.
We are, of course, pleased to share these insights from the four winners of the Broker-Dealer of the Year Awards. We also are very grateful that — despite their crazy schedules — these executives gave generously of their time to debate a series of topics that affect financial advisors and their clients.
For my colleague Ginger Szala and I, listening to the discussion between Amy Webber, Lon Dolber, Ryan Diachok and David Springer was like watching a tennis match. We asked them about consolidation, fee compression, regulation and technology, and they just went back and forth with their different thoughts.
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Speaking of technology, Industry Insights contributor Tim Welsh gives us the inside scoop of what went on at the recent TD Ameritrade Institutional Tech Summit in Dallas. As tech expert Joel Bruckenstein commented about the gathering’s focus on integration and tools like application programming interfaces: “These improvements are desperately needed in light of how other newer players, such as robo advisors, can seamlessly open accounts.”