Biggest recruiting moves of the year: Are wirehouses losing their edge?
The industry’s biggest teams are leaving the biggest firms.
Eight of the 12 largest recruiting moves — those involving a billion or more in client assets — went to non-wirehouse firms in the first six months of this year. Among the winners were William Blair, RBC and Dynasty Financial Partners.
Among the wirehouses, UBS both lost and won three big teams. That exchange included the industry’s biggest move to date, a $10 billion group that exited Merrill Lynch.
“A lot of advisors want to get to a smaller environment where they feel they will get more support and more recognition,” says Michael King, a recruiter based in New York.
King adds it helps that firms such as RBC and First Republic offer advisors competitive recruiting deals.
The coronavirus pandemic, meanwhile, has impacted on career changes this year. Recruiting overall slowed down across the industry in March as local governments began issuing stay-at-home orders to combat the rise of the coronavirus.
Two-thirds of the biggest recruiting moves occurred before the pandemic’s U.S. outbreak, according to On Wall Street’s analysis of publicly disclosed data and FINRA BrokerCheck records. Our analysis did not include moves between independent broker-dealers.
Yet, despite that slowdown, recruiting activity among the industry’s elite does not appear to be much diminished from years past. In 2019, 14 teams with a billion dollars or more assets switched firms, according to publicly available information. In 2018, it was 11.
“There have been more moves than I expected during this time,” King says.
He adds that some advisors who would have to fly to see clients may have postponed career changes until it is safer to travel.
Scroll on to see where billion-dollar teams moved this year.