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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > FINRA

Ron Carson Tells Why He's Dropping His FINRA License

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Ron Carson is dropping his FINRA license because Carson Group has come up with a better structure to handle commissions — which is good news for his affiliates, he tells ThinkAdvisor.

It also means that the executive doesn’t need to keep up with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s costs and continuing education requirements. “As that goes away, it frees up my time,” he said, to focus more on Carson Group, of which he is founder and CEO, and its clients.

The new arrangement won’t affect affiliated advisors’ investor clients, Carson adds: “The [new] entity will report through and into our technology; the client won’t see any difference and will have the same experience with brokerage as with advisory accounts.”

Reworking the Business

According to Carson Group COO Teri Shepherd, Carson Group is setting up a limited-use broker-dealer for commissions tied to assets that it will offer to buy from partners who want to end this side of their business and “go RIA only” (as Carson himself is doing).

“We are finalizing it now with FINRA,” she said in an interview, “and its purpose is to protect us [from liability], so that assets flow through a corporation and not person.”

These new commissions, like existing Carson Group affiliates’ commissions, will be serviced by Cetera. (Cetera, with which Carson Group partners are affiliated, maintains a broker-dealer registration with FINRA.)

“There’s a lot of interest from partner firms,” Shepherd said. “We anticipate it having high demand and are hiring an extra couple of people to make sure we are prepared.”

Stock Drop ‘Makes Me Excited’

As stocks continue to drop, creating anxiety for some investors and financial professionals, Carson isn’t worried. “It absolutely, 100% makes me excited,” he said, adding that “volatility is very good for the growth” of Carson Group.

Today, some investors “are fed up not getting value from the fees they pay, … as [their] advisors take on too much risk,” he explained.

When there’s volatility, Carson says, the wheat gets separated from the chaff: “Those [advisors] that add value are separated from those who do not.”

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