Commonwealth Financial aims to step up its recruiting of breakaway financial advisors in 2021, especially those leaving the wirehouse firms, according to Andrew Daniels, managing principal at Commonwealth Financial, who said he’s looking forward to an expected “second wave” of breakaway advisors.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster year” for recruitment at Commonwealth, he told ThinkAdvisor in a recent phone interview.
“We had a pretty strong first quarter,” according to Daniels, who oversees the firm’s recruiting efforts. But “we had a pretty lousy, COVID-induced second quarter. Everything sort of ground to a halt, and I don’t think that’s unique to Commonwealth.”
The firm bounced back, though, with an “extremely strong third quarter,” he said. Still, “the end of the year is going to be somewhat quiet for us, based on history.”
Nonetheless, “the pipeline is extremely strong,” Daniels said, noting “we’re talking to an awful lot of folks right now from all channels” about joining Commonwealth.
This year, however, the firm is not going to see the “record recruiting” levels of 2017, 2018 and 2019: “2020 is not going to be that,” the executive explained. He declined to blame the situation entirely on the pandemic, noting that it wasn’t completely clear what other factors were at play.
“But I am excited about the pipeline leading into 2021,” especially Commonwealth’s “considerable focus internally on … infrastructure development built around attracting the breakaway wirehouse advisors to us for the long-term,” he said. “Breakaways are an absolute focal point for us in 2021 and beyond.”
The independent broker-dealer/RIA had over 2,000 advisors working with over $200 billion in client assets as of Dec. 31, 2019.
“My focus is on the true wirehouse channel to broaden Commonwealth’s spectrum” at this point, he explained.
Advisors from Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS have “been a relatively small piece of our historic pie,” with maybe just 12% of Commonwealth advisors historically coming from these three wirehouses, according to Daniels.
“My goal is to create greater familiarity within this community that Commonwealth is indeed the shop that’s in position to support them,” he added.