Forget the stories about full-service brokers going out of business. Heated competition for reps shows that full-service advisers have value, said Mark Sutton, PaineWebber's retail chief, at a media briefing Nov. 23.
Competition for brokers with large assets and recurring fee income is particularly hot, and has intensified in the past six months, he added.
"It's kind of a weird environment," Sutton said. "At the same time I'm reading about people questioning the value of a broker, I'm seeing the price go up."
Still, PaineWebber will never pay brokers to stay, Sutton said.
In November, the firm had 7,369 reps, and had plans to grow to 7,500 advisers by the end of 1999. It wants more than 8,000 brokers in place by the end of 2000 and 10,000 by 2003.
With the help of expanded training and tougher selection criteria, the firm's goal is to have half of first and second quintile producers still with the firm three years after they begin production.
"Right now the number's above 40 percent, [but] it's not at our goal of 50 percent," Sutton said. "We're learning. [Retention] is one of the tougher jobs we have at this firm."