Your clients will get the following letter when you change to a new firm:

Issues to consider when your broker changes firms
You’re receiving this notice because your broker has changed firms. If you’re thinking about whether to follow your broker or stay with your current firm, it’s a good idea to examine key issues that will help you make an informed decision. A good relationship with your broker is surely valuable to you, but it’s not the only factor in determining what’s in your best interest.
Before making a final decision, talk to your broker or someone at your current firm about the following questions, and make sure you’re comfortable with the answers.

Could financial incentives create a conflict of interest for your broker?
In general, you should discuss the reasons your broker decided to change firms. Some firms pay brokers financial incentives when they join, which could include bonuses based on customer assets the broker brings in, incentives for selling in-house products or a higher share of commissions. Similarly, some firms pay financial incentives to retain brokers or customers. While there’s nothing wrong with these incentives in either case, they can create a conflict of interest for the broker. Whether you stay or go, you should carefully consider whether your broker’s advice is aligned with your investment strategy and goals.

Can you transfer all your holdings to the new firm? What are the implications and costs if you can’t?
Some products, such as certain mutual funds and annuities, may not be transferable if that’s the case, you’ll face an additional decision if you follow your broker to the new firm: whether to liquidate the non-transferable holdings or keep just these holdings at your current firm. Either way, there couId be costs to you, such as fees or taxes if you liquidate,
or different service fees if you leave some assets at the current firm. Your broker should be able to explain the implications and costs of each scenario.

What costs will you pay, both in the short term and ongoing if you change firms? In addition to liquidation fees or taxes if you sell non-transferable assets, you may have to pay account termination or transfer fees if you close your current account , or account opening fees at the new firm.(Even if the new firm waives its fees as an incentive to transfer, that wouldn’t reduce any transfer or closure costs at your current firm.) Moving forward, the new firm may have a different pricing structure for maintaining your account or making transactions (such as fee-based instead of commissions ,or vice versa),which could increase or lower your account costs.Your broker should be able to explain the pricing structure of the new firm and how your ongoing costs would compare.

How do the products at the new firm compare with your current firm?
Of course, not all firms offer the same products. There may be some types of investments you’ve purchased in the past or are considering for the future that aren’t available at the new firm.
If that happens, you should feel comfortable with the products they offer as alternatives If you tend to keep a lot of cash in your account, ask what investment vehicles are available at the new firm for the cash sweep account and whether the interest rate would have an effect on your return.

What level of service will you have?
Whether you follow your broker to the new firm or choose another broker at your current firm, consider whether you’ll have access to the types of service, support and online resources that meet your needs.


Merrill Lynch recruited a team from Morgan Stanley that managed $1.2 billion in client assets.

The nine-person team, led by Bruce Munster, generated $5.8 million in annual revenue while at Morgan. They join Merrill’s elite Private Banking & Investment Group in Century City, Calif., where they report to Michael Rogers, managing director.

A top producer, Munster was recently featured as No. 7 in On Wall Street’s annual ranking of the Top 40 Advisors Under 40.

Read full article here.


Excluding the players in the World Series, there are many contenders for a baseball list that no one wants to be a part of…..

The toughest question for the general manager of any baseball team is whether to pull the trigger and offer a player coming off a big year a huge contract. No matter what fans think there’s no way to tell for sure if a player will continue at the top of his game after re-signing. The World Series features two teams, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, who eschewed off-season splurges and relied on smaller contracts and young, untested, players — particularly the Royals.

Read full article here.


A $150 million book of business Wells Fargo promised him never materialized — and then the wirehouse took him to arbitration…..

A wirehouse promises a veteran advisor a $150 million book of business and a $450,000-plus upfront bonus to come on over. The wirehouse resigns the FA’s job for him at his current firm, then e-mails his clients to tell them he’s leaving.

This strange and unusual real-life scenario begins to boarder on the bizarre when the book of business turns out to be only $10 million and five months after the advisor joins the firm, the wirehouse takes the vexed FA to arbitration by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Read full article here.


Advisory firms and recruiters weigh in on their 10 best interview questions and answers when hiring advisors.

What can you tell me about yourself?

Mickey Wasserman, founder and president of Michael Wasserman & Associates, Agoura Hills, Calif.

“Perhaps the oldest job interview question, but it’s still the most powerful. While prior measured accomplishments are the best predictor for future success, this open-ended question separates the great FA from the merely good FA. A good response gives me a glimpse of the candidate’s poise and communication skills. I want to learn about their work ethic, vision, passion, family, humility, community involvement, goals, stability, etc. The best response includes language about serving clients. The worst response is non-communication, uncomfortable silence, folded-arms, and defensiveness.”


See full slide show here.


Outsized Recruitment Deals Are Liable to Fade Away
by: Mickey Wasserman Wednesday, February 26, 2014

published in onwallstreet

The question isn’t whether or not FINRA and the SEC will require financial advisors to disclose the details of their compensation packages when they switch firms. The big question isn’t, “What will my clients think if they know how much money I’m earning to move my book of business?” Similarly, spending your time wondering what the maximum compensation you can receive as a recruitment bonus -without having to disclose it- is frankly, a waste of time.

Those questions are soon going to be an exercise in futility, as all indications are that the days of enhanced compensation, big bonuses and upfront cash to attract top producers may be going the way of the dinosaurs.
As such, the only question on any FA’s mind should be “When is this coming, and should I make a change now before the big deals dry up?” Because it’s not a question of whether or not the big recruitment deals are going to lose steam, it’s just a matter of how quickly they will begin drying up.
The reasons are varied and go beyond any new disclosure rules, and the wirehouses are publicly speaking up about their difficulties fulfilling the massive compensation packages they guaranteed. Make no mistake, for the past couple of years even the powerhouse firms have faced an uphill battle to keep their extravagant promises. That means that the 300%+ deals (and closer to 400% if deferred comp is matched) days’ are probably numbered. The 150% upfront cash proposals are not likely to survive the change. The days of buying FA’s out of their current contracts are simply no longer feasible.

The major factor that has driven deals up to their current exalted levels is the intense competition for a shrinking talented advisor population. Supply and demand has always ruled. But here’s the spoiler alert: these days it doesn’t look like we are very far off from the major wirehouse firms making a pact of sorts, to cap the recruitment deals. Recruiting has proven to be incredibly expensive for all of the players involved.
The major firms do in fact speak to each other, as evidenced by the Broker Protocol Agreement (2004) designed to stop the legal battles and temporary restraining orders that ensued when brokers jumped to a new firm. Prior to this agreement, the legal bills from all sides were, if you recall, ridiculous.

Although mergers, acquisitions, and the fickle nature of the industry had, at one point led many of the big players to offer attractive retention packages, these days it looks as if those may be going by the wayside as well. Brokerages seem to not only be tired of chasing one another’s top producers, they are tired of having to pay hefty retention fees, and recent statistics show that they aren’t necessary any longer. Turnover is down at all of the wirehouse firms.

At first glance this apathy towards retention and recruitment might look like it would lead to more turnover. Yet, there isn’t likely to be as much incentive to switch firms, if the monetary incentives just don’t exist anymore.
Please understand that recruitment deals will never entirely go away, but it’s today’s top deals that will be challenged. Whether the big deals start to dry up in 2014, or 2015, is anyone’s guess. But rest assured, they are poised to decrease over the coming months and years.
So if you’re an FA looking for a big recruitment bonus, it’s best that you make a move sooner than later. Because things are about to change, and the clock has already started ticking…with big recruitment deals living on borrowed time.

Michael Wasserman & Associates is Ready to Help
“Accept nothing but the best… and you’ll get it!”

Our experienced recruitment team has identified existing and hidden opportunities for thousands of advisors.
We’ll introduce you, guide you, coach you & provide strategies to obtain “out-of-the-box” deals, and then help ease your transition.

All at No Cost, No Obligation and In Complete Confidence. There are Exciting NEW Opportunities to Explore

CALL: Mickey Wasserman 818-889-7804

It’s Your Future ~ Let’s Make It Happen

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Recruiters agree that Raymond James and Morgan Keegan are a cultural fit, but how Morgan Keegan’s financial advisors react to those retention bonuses will be key to whether they stay.

See full slideshow here.


Big change is coming to Raymond James, especially after its merger with Morgan Keegan, says. Recruiters are still weighing in on what it all means.

“The merger will work unless they woefully underpay on a retention package,” Mickey Wasserman of Michael Wasserman and Associates told “Everybody’s taking a wait and see attitude right now, and I believe that there’s a bit of relief that a private equity firm did not come into play. I think that this is a good marriage.”

Charles “Chip” Roame of Tiburon Strategic Advisors argues that picking up Morgan Keegan “is a great buy for Raymond James, albeit at a steep price.” He said that “while Raymond James will absorb much of the Morgan Keegan managerial infrastructure, complicated organizational structures like this have a way of clearing themselves up a year later as some people retire, move to companies, etc.”

“They’re not playing in the same ballpark as the wirehouses, but it’s a ball park that they want to be in, Manhattan recruiter Rich Schwarzkopf told “They’ve found their niche in small towns,” he notes, “in a way more like an Edward Jones.”

There is still a lot to do before the two companies fit together. Tash Elwyn, an executive with Raymond James, told that “there’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting for many months to come.”

Written by Lisa Swan


Raymond James’ $930 million purchase of Morgan Keegan’s brokerage company has gotten the financial advisor world buzzing as to how it will all work out, reports. Recruiters say that the two first are a good “cultural fit,” but also say that the retention bonuses Raymond James has offered to Morgan Keegan’s financial advisors may help determine whether those staffers will stay.

“I think that the Morgan Keegan/Raymond James merger will work,” Mickey Wasserman, president of Michael Wasserman & Associates, tells “Unless they woefully underpay on a retention package, I think their top performers will get what they want. It’s still open.”

“Everybody’s taking a wait and see attitude right now, and I believe that there’s a bit of relief that a private equity firm did not come into play,” Wasserman says. “I think that this is a good marriage … Similar culture, similar types of advisors, and Morgan Keegan FAs can only take advantage of better technology.”

Mindy Diamond, who serves as president and CEO for Diamond Consultants, agreed on the culture, saying that Raymond James and Morgan Keegan are “two like cultures, both Southern based, and I actually think it’s a good match.” She says that “in the months that Morgan Keegan advisors were waiting for a home, if they were out exploring their options, almost all of them were out talking to Raymond James anyway.”

Ron Edde, senior executive recruiter for Armstrong Financial Group, says that the “people on the low end of the production scale, and that’s $350,000 and below, are real disappointed,” while the “people at the very top end, the $1 million plus people, at least the ones I have in my pipeline, are equally disappointed.” He says that “the middle seem to be pretty happy, the $450,000 to $750,000 guys.”

Written by Lisa Swan


Gregory Fleming, brokerage president, announced earlier this month to hundreds of advisors attending the Association of Professional Investment Consultants conference in Salt Lake City that Morgan Stanley plans to proceed with changing the name of its Morgan Stanley Smith Barney retail brokerage early next year. 

 Morgan Stanley is likely to drop the “Smith Barney” name, which ends a 73 year old brand. 

 There were a half dozen names offered; none of the suggested names included “Smith Barney.”

 The possibilities are Morgan Stanley Advisors, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Advisors, Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Advisors, Morgan Stanley Wealth Advisors, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management.

FundFire conducted a poll in March.  There were 400 participants in the poll; “58 % said advisors would be more likely to leave MSSB if the firm decides to drop “Smith Barney” from its name.

Of those, 41% believed there would be a “moderate” amount of departures, while another 17 % said there would be a “significant” number of exits if the firm goes through with the name change.  However, about 42 % of respondents told FundFire that the move would not negatively impact advisor retention at the firm.”

If this name change angers you, there are plenty of options out there.  Financial Advisors are in demand and the recruiting deals are still at an all time high!  You can contact  Mickey Wasserman or Julianne Wasserman  at 818-889-7804. Or visit our web site  Michael Wasserman & Associates, Inc.