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Industry Spotlight > Broker Dealers

Not in Kansas Anymore: Waddell & Reed Plans HQ Move

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Waddell & Reed is looking to move its headquarters to Missouri from Overland Park, Kansas, and expects to share an update on these plans by year-end.

“Over the past two years we have taken very deliberate and necessary steps to strengthen the foundation of our business,” according to CEO and Chief Investment Officer Phil Sanders.

If the financial firm — which includes a broker-dealer — chooses moves to St. Louis, it would join several large rivals now based there, like Wells Fargo Advisors, Edward Jones and Stifel.

“With the progress we have made over the last two years, we are now in a position to look at the next phase of our business transformation focused both on organic and inorganic growth,” Sanders explained. “As we look to the future, we must have a workplace environment that meets the needs of the workforce of tomorrow, enabling us to attract and retain top talent.”

Waddell & Reed’s earnings fell 31% in the first quarter from the year-ago period to $32.1 million, while revenues dropped 13% to $259.4 million. For the full year 2018, profits grew 30% to $183.6 million; sales were flat at $1.16 billion.

In terms of its BD, Waddell & Reed has about $57 billion in assets under advisement.

Its affiliated independent advisors and associates number 1,367 as of March 31, when it did not give a specific figure for its FA headcount. The firm says advisors had yearly fees and commissions of about $400,000 on average as of Q1’19, up 40% from a year ago and likely due to the departure of FAs with lower production.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, the firm said it had 1,060 advisors and 343 associates, for a total of 1,403 advisors and associates. A year earlier, the BD had 1,367 reps and 265 associates, or 1,632 in total.


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