Vacation request

One of Cetera Financial Group’s broker-dealer firms is dropping its BD registration. Summit Brokerage, which has about 450 affiliated financial advisors with some $17.5 billion in assets, should soon become part of Cetera Advisor Networks.

According to Cetera, Summit’s move to no longer register with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and instead operate as an independent advisor group relieves it of certain “operational and regulatory burdens.”

“Summit’s decision … is a win-win for Cetera, creating operational simplification that enables a more enhanced advisor experience,” said Cetera President Adam Antoniades, in a statement.

Summit President Marshall Leeds will stay on as its president, as will other members of the group’s management team, who are based in Boca Raton, Florida. 

“Removing the operational and regulatory challenges of operating a broker-dealer will allow the Summit region to be fully focused on enhancing the advisor experience, elevating our award-winning service model and recruiting new advisors,” said Leeds. “We anticipate a seamless transition, and the initial sentiment with advisors and employees is high.” 

Cetera works with a total of 41 independent advisor groups (which it refers to as “regions”) with a total of nearly 3,500 advisors.

Earlier this year, a large group that joined it — North Ridge Wealth Planning of Melville, New York — dropped its FINRA registration and became part of Cetera Advisor Networks, according to a Cetera spokesperson. It works with about $2.5 billion in client assets.

Advisor and executive Ron Carson, head of Carson Group, made headlines late last year by ending his registration with FINRA and pledging to buy up commission-based assets from the firms in this network that want to follow him.

At the time, Tim Welsh, head of the consultancy Nexus Strategy, explained: “[Carson] is one of the No. 1 trainers for financial advisors, and when one of the leading trainers says ‘it’s time,’ that sends a powerful message to the industry: FINRA’s days are numbered. FINRA is still losing BDs. No one is starting them. It’s not happening.”

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