Registered Rep.: Why would a wirehouse rep want to leave his firm and join yours?
Stever McWhorter: For the resources to profitably grow your business while providing your clients with unbiased financial solutions and exceptional service.
RR: Other than your own, of course, which other independent broker dealers are you impressed with and why?
SM: Commonwealth because it has a similar culture to ours.
RR: Least favorite compliance rule?
SM: The absence of safe harbor rules for suitability.
RR: Are your affiliated advisors fee-based or mostly commission/transaction advisors?
SM: 1,420 of our 1,700 registered representatives are also investment advisors; 74 percent are IARs under our corporate RIA and 26 percent have their own RIAs.
RR: How many of your reps are dually registered? Is that number growing or not?
SM: Existing and prospective reps continue moving to a fee-based practice. We have surpassed $13.6 billion in fee-based assets.
RR: The most expensive aspect of running your independent broker/dealer firm in 2007?
SM: Maintaining and enhancing leading-edge compliance and supervision infrastructure.
RR: Your recruiting goals through 2008 and beyond?
SM: Attract 300 quality advisors annually using a combination of organic and acquisition strategies.
RR: What are your thoughts on upfront bonuses?
SM: Forgivable loans, upfront bonuses and transition assistances have become another means for b/ds to compete on price and payout.We believe that some transition assistance is understandable.
RR: The ideal advisor is? (Three words or less.)
SM: Trustworthy, knowledgeable and growth-oriented.
RR: Biggest challenge in 2008 for the independent channel and your firm?
SM: Balanced compliance and supervision that promotes high standards and client-centered conduct without unduly burdening our reps' growth potential, their clients or the firm.
RR: The best technology investment your firm has made?
SM: Account aggregation, consolidated performance reporting and straight-through processing with paperless office solutions.
RR: Best advice you can give a wirehouse rep who is thinking about going independent?
SM: Do what's best for your clients. Hire a knowledgeable and experienced assistant, have a written business plan, and choose a b/d that will add value where you need it most.
RR: What challenges will you face over the next five years?
SM: Leadership bench strength, continuing to attract high-quality reps who want to grow their businesses, balancing regulatory requirements with the ability to serve the investing public effectively.
RR: If you could meet one business-related figure, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask?
SM: Declined to answer.
RR: In 10 years, your firm will be?
SM: The No. 1 independent b/d.
RR: A book every financial advisor should read?
SM: Any book that focuses on the importance of honesty and integrity in building trust in a relationship.
12325 Port Grace Blvd
LaVista, NE 68128
Number of Back-Office Employees: 453
Number of advisors: 1,750
Total Client Assets Under Management: N/A
Advisors' Average Length of Service (in industry): N/A
Total Revenue Year to Date: $497 million
Revenue from Commissions: $308 million
Revenue from Fees: $109 million
Average AUM per Rep: N/A
Average Payout per Rep (percent): 92%
Average Production per Rep: $253,000
Number of Dually Registered Reps: 1,420