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Cetera CEO Adam Antoniades

Industry Spotlight > Broker Dealers

Cetera Keeps First Allied Brand After BD Closure

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Cetera CEO Adam Antoniades says the firm is consolidating some broker-dealers but is not eliminating brands like First Allied Securities and Summit Financial. 

“First Allied remains a community” within Cetera Advisors, though “it is no longer a separate legal entity,” Antoniades said in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “Both brands still exist.”

The FINRA BD designation for First Allied, which Antoniades co-founded in 1994, expired in mid-September. “It did not make sense to keep [it and Cetera Advisors] as two legal entities,” he added.

“Cetera has a number of brands and communities, and includes a registered broker-dealer and an RIA,” the CEO explained. “We are an at-scale wealth hub accommodating choice and flexibility of affiliation for any type of advisor.”

The official language for affiliation with the Summit brand, for instance, refers to it as “a region of Cetera Advisor Networks.” Similarly, Voya Financial Advisors became part of Cetera Wealth Partners last year, and the group was made “part of the regional model at Cetera,” the firm said at the time.

“These brands represent a community for advisors to stay affiliated with each other, with their own leadership and service teams,” Antoniades explained. “Community matters to financial advisors.”

Cetera plans to host a conference for First Allied representatives in February and will hold similar events for its other brands, the CEO adds. 

First Allied, which has nearly 450 advisors tied to its brand, organizes study groups, an advisor council and other activities. “It has a special place in my heart,” said Antoniades, “as some of its advisors are 30-plus year friends of mine.” 

But recruiter Jon Henschen says not all advisors are happy about the BD consolidation strategy. “Essentially, they are taking broker-dealers like Summit and First Allied, converting them into super offices of supervisory jurisdiction (OSJs) … . It is an effective recruiting sales technique but does it deliver? We hear mixed results.”

Antoniades, though, insists the strategy is advantageous overall for Cetera and its advisors. “We are harmonizing our technology stack, AdviceWorks, and have introduced two succession solutions over the last few months. We aim to improve the offerings for advisors [from these] perspectives.”

As of Dec. 31, 2021, Cetera had roughly $353 billion in assets under administration and $122 billion in assets under management.

(News about First Allied dropping its FINRA registration was first reported by WealthManagement.)


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