Registered Rep.: Why would a wirehouse rep want to leave his firm and join yours?
Arthur F. Grant: Representatives of Cadaret, Grant can take personal credit, rather than crediting their employer for their own success.
RR: Other than your own, of course, which other independent broker/dealers are you impressed with and why?
AG: LPL, for its juggernaut presence.
RR: Least favorite compliance rule?
AG: SEC Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 (books and records 36-month rule) and Regulation S-P, a rule that complicates reps' movement from one firm to another. They are both investor-unfriendly regulations.
RR: Are your affiliated advisors fee-based or mostly commission/transaction advisors?
AG: The majority are commission/transaction; 10 percent are fee-based.
RR: How many of your reps are dually registered? Is that number growing or not?
AG: Five percent; the number is not growing.
RR: The most expensive aspect of running your independent broker/dealer firm in 2007?
AG: Technology systems, redundancy and upgrades.
RR: Your recruiting goals through 2008 and beyond?
AG: Average growth of 10 to 15 percent per year.
RR: What are you thoughts on upfront bonuses?
AG: There are legitimate transition expenses like signage, stationery and investor charges that need to be offset. Other than that, we don't offer upfront payments. We are building the firm, not fattening it up.
RR: The ideal advisor is? (Three words or less.)
AG: Honest and ambitious.
RR: Biggest challenge in 2008 for the independent channel and your firm?
AG: Defining our target market.
RR: The best technology investment your firm has made?
AG: The person responsible for our information technology.
RR: Best advice you can give a wirehouse rep who is thinking about going independent?
AG: Trust your instincts.
RR: What challenges will you face over the next five years?
AG: Attracting, motivating, training and retaining good employees.
RR: If you could meet one business-related figure, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask?
AG: Charlie Merrill, founder of Merrill Lynch. I would ask him who the three most important people to the company's growth were and why. I suspect I would hear qualities and activities that would be equally important today.
RR: In 10 years, your firm will be?
AG: The easy answer is bigger, but the honest answer is that it is impossible to predict; we will have to be flexible.
RR: A book every financial advisor should read?
AG: Jack: Straight From The Gut by Jack Welch with John Byrne.
One Lincoln Center
Syracuse, NY 13202
Number of Back-Office Employees: 122
Number of advisors: 868
Total Client Assets Under Management: $18.5 billion
Advisors' Average Length of Service (in industry): N/A
Total Revenue Year to Date: $109.7 million
Revenue from Commissions: $88.6 million (through 10/31/07)
Revenue from Fees: $15.2 million
Average AUM per Rep: $23.3 million
Average Payout per Rep (percent): 88%
Average Production per Rep: $151,713
Number of Dually Registered Reps: 72 (have their own separate RIA)