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Wirehouse FAs May Jump the Moment Their Deals Expire

July 22, 2014

Wirehouse retention bonuses are set to expire at a brisk pace over the next five years, but industry insiders are divided about whether that will lead to a feeding frenzy, reports InvestmentNews.

“The sun-setting of these deals will open up the marketplace,” a Raymond James manager who recently left UBS tells the publication. Citing data from Cerulli Associates, InvestmentNews says retention packages will be expiring at a rate as high as 20% a year from 2015 to 2019. Further, close to 40% of wirehouse teams managing at least $1 billion told the research firm they’re thinking about going independent.

Others aren’t so sure brokers will automatically look for greener pastures. “I don’t see a mass exodus; I don’t see a gun going off on the day the deals expire,” a recruiter tells InvestmentNews, predicting that the number of FAs leaving wirehouses in coming years will be “manageable.”

The newspaper reproduces a graphic from Cerulli showing that big brokerages lost significant market share between 2007 and 2013, bleeding $74 billion, or 1.4%, in assets under management. But it’s not clear that expiring retention deals will accelerate this trend.

InvestmentNews reports that many advisors would owe their firms more than $100,000 if they quit before their up-front loans are forgiven. And a former Wells Fargo manager tells the paper that $70,000 is the magic number that would induce a broker to stay put another year.

By Murray Coleman
  • To read the InvestmentNews article cited in this story, click here.