Cetera Financial Group announced on Wednesday a new program to reward advisors for increasing their assets under management in fee-based accounts. The program, called Net New Assets, applies to two of Cetera’s companies, Financial Network and Multi-Financial. Cetera also owns Primevest, where the program hasn’t been rolled out yet because bank managers want to make sure it makes sense for them.

“It’s a first in the industry and its really our way of helping accelerate a move toward fee-based relationships,” said Barnaby Grist, Cetera’s executive vice president of wealth management. “Clients increasingly are saying they want a fee-based model and advisors are realizing they want it and regulators prefer a fiduciary model, so we’re trying to make some lemonade and give advisors a real compelling reason to act.”

The program essentially waives the five to 10 basis point administrative fee that advisors pay Cetera. The more money advisors bring into fees, the greater the reward. For example, if an advisor added or transferred $2 million in fee-based accounts, he or she would get a break of 20% off the administrative payment to the b-d. Anyone bringing 100 million or more onto the platform would get 100% of the fee.

Net New Assets compensates advisors for the hit to production they take when they switch from commissions to fees or try to start up a fee-based business. “This allows the advisors to still make a paycheck and move assets over,” said Grist. “An advisor who has about $300 million with us would normally pay $150,000 a year to us, and if they brought in $53 million last year, they would save $120,000. That’s pretty material and most advisors would find that an attractive propect.”

He added that 150 reps signed up to attend a Cetera Wealth Management University or training on the nuts and bolts of advisory business. “The training quickly sold out and we had to turn people away,” says Grist.

Currently, across all three firms, about 20% assets under management are in advisory fee-based accounts. The number is lower for banks, at about 7%, according to Grist.



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