September 26, 2022
Jason Diamond Quoted
by Victoria Zhuang
With more career options than ever before, financial advisors have been job-hopping at a furious pace this year.
Dissatisfied with wirehouses but unwilling to completely strike out on their own, many are migrating to independents and regional firms, while others move within or among the wirehouses, or leave for boutique firms and RIA’s, according to a report. They’re also being paid near-record deals to move, not only by wirehouses but even other firms hungry for talent.
Morgan Stanley was the only one of the four wirehouses to gain, with a net 87 advisors, due to a combination of aggressive recruitment and lower relative headcount loss — it gained 221 but lost only 134, the report said. In an interview, co-author Jason Diamond said a focus on recruiting, willingness to pay aggressively high for deals, and excellent tech capabilities for advisors made the firm compelling for talent.
Still, wirehouses have a continued draw for advisors seeking safety. “There are still plenty of advisors making the move to the wirehouse world,” the report authors wrote, noting that there was brand prestige and generally the highest pay at these firms.
Diamond added that “wirehouse advisors tend to be the largest and most productive advisors in the industry. So I do think some of the data masks a bit of what’s happening beneath the surface. If you look at that data, you’d think the wirehouse space is doomed. And that is certainly not our takeaway.”
Still, there was a noticeable shift toward independence from wirehouses that would have been “almost unheard of” 10 or 15 years ago, the authors wrote.
The pandemic accelerated this, Diamond said.
“We saw quite a bit of movement during the pandemic …. People just had the privacy to do due diligence without the walls listening, because largely people are working from home,” he said.
Additionally, when advisors worked from home, they might have felt less reliant on their big firm’s brand and resources, Diamond added.