Advisors Stuck in the Middle: The Battle Between Control and the Bottom Line


February 27, 2018
By Mindy Diamond

As wirehouses battle to retain control of their channel and maximize profit, expect more advisors to vote with their feet in search of freedom and flexibility.

Corporate profit seems to driving the bus these days, and as it rolls along, it’s increasing the distance between advisors and the firms they call home. As a result, advisors are often left feeling as though they’re being forced to choose between maintaining their income level or best serving their clients’ interests.

Consider some of these recent moves by the firms:

  • UBS unveiled a comp change in June of 2017 in which the firm cut back the number of bonuses their advisors could earn as a way of having them focus more on asset growth.
  • Or the grid change announced in November by Merrill Lynch that added both penalties and rewards to spur asset growth.
  • And Morgan Stanley’s message to advisors in December of last year that it will raise grid thresholds it uses to pay brokers by about 10 percent to incentivize them to produce more revenue.

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