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It’s chaos out there right now for advisors considering the worst case idea of a move. With First Republic alone, some 300 advisors are considering their various options – Plan A, B or C? This is on top of other advisors at all other firms like ML, MS, UBS, Wells etc. who are simultaneously active. Normally the process for a team to consider a move to another firm takes about six months, for due diligence, compare and contrast platforms, economic deal analysis- not the rush job of barely weeks FRB advisors has had.

FRB advisors are getting completely overloaded from anyone and everyone trying to get their attention from managers, recruiters, friends, colleagues with calls, setting meetings, emails, social media posts with advice upon advice to ascertain their options. How can advisors manage it all including holding hands with their clients. As just an example, one advisor says, “I cannot think anymore. I’m in analysis paralysis.”

Not only are advisors overwhelmed but so are most every bank with the current load that they are asking for recruiters support setting meetings and follow-ups, help vet the teams for the proper fit, documentation (which has been very trying to obtain at FRB), legal docs, and for assistance in handling deals from beginning to end.

Though still there are certain managers who are telling recruits not to work with recruiters. They tell recruits that their deals will be lower if they work with a recruiter, that they don’t need the support, but nothing could be further from the truth. Whose interests are they representing? The fact is that the very bank headquarters writes the checks, and it doesn’t discount a deal because of a recruiter. Everybody knows that recruiters don’t take any percentage of deals, and if they did, nobody would work with them. What can get hit is the manager’s compensation, thus the pushback from them. Remember that the manager works for the firm, not for the best interests of the advisor. Should  you trust a manager to provide the ultimate deal or an independent recruiter who have seen hundreds of deals and know just how far firms can be pushed.

Recruiters have established checklists and transition plans to assist advisors outlining key components about platforms, positives and challenges, along with a spreadsheet of comparative analysis of maximum economic packages offered including:

  • Protocol or non-protocol
  • Legal and/or monetary defense of FRB advisors (ex. deferred and other payments)
  • Front Ends – maximized payments
  • Back Ends – asset based or revenue based, hurdles – time based, clawbacks/lookbacks, and length of contract
  • Soft dollar costs (ie. staffing allowance, title, T&E, office space)
  • Transition support – on site/virtual, length of time, marketing to clients

The value of working with a recruiter given the current dynamics can’t be overstated. The spread between some deals for advisors has been 100+ basis points even at the same exact firm, same profile advisor. The documentation nightmare to position a move has been troublesome, advisors don’t know where to look for what’s needed, but recruiters do. The whole process from stem to stern takes hours and hours of work determining the right move. How does the advisor who needs to be client focused in a time of turbulence manage a good search and the client’s fears at the same time? It isn’t possible.

The fact remains that it was the clients’ perception of danger that led to the run on the bank in the first place. It should easily follow that a client might want out of any situation he or she deems too volatile. To boot, First Republic has announced that after the market close on April 24th earnings will be reported which are rumored to be $10 billion in the hole – what then for advisors if the stock craters? What if there is a run on the bank again? A well-coordinated Plan B is needed.

Recruiter Roger Gershman of The Gershman Group (, stated that “it’s important that advisors assess their options now and have both a Plan A and Plan B. Recruiters take zero away from the deal and help advisors vet the best options.” A manager from Morgan Stanley stated, “I can’t handle the load right now, it is all too much, I am looking for recruiters to help in this process given the overload. I also count on recruiters to help close the deal.” Remember that if an advisor with $3 million in revenue today has documentation in and along comes a $7 million in revenue producer who needs a rush job, without a recruiter in place managing the deal, the time and deal goes to the latter.

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