The theme of this issue is the evolution of wealth management—both the practice of it, as well as our own project here at REP. magazine.
Inside this issue is the 25th edition of our annual Broker Report Card, where we survey the reps at the largest national brokerage firms to find out how they rate their employers and the tools those employers give them. We want to know how you feel about the technology you use, the assistance you get from the home office, the compliance hoops you have to jump through and whether or not you are considering a move to another company or to run an independent shop.
It’s increasingly hard to get these surveys into your hands. It’s a game with the firms; some are reluctant to let you participate and, we believe, block our emails. There is a lot of technological jiujitsu going on behind the scenes to avoid that, and every year it’s harder to give you the chance to benchmark you and your colleagues’ satisfaction with those advisors at other firms.
It’s unfortunate, because for the most part you are all a pretty happy group. Advisors who work at the nation’s largest firms say overwhelmingly that if they were to move, they’d just as soon move to another national firm.
If you listen to many of the industry pundits, the advisor working for a large Wall Street bank is working in a broken business model. For years, we’ve all hear about the “breakaway broker” trend, and every year, it seems, is the year it’s poised to finally break for good. It never happens.
Why? The job of an advisor inside the Wall Street firm has changed along with the rest of the industry. It has evolved to a position of greater independence and autonomy, even in the employee model. Fee-based platforms have grown dramatically, technology continues to improve and brokers are less focused on selling the newest “product” and more on helping clients achieve their goals.
There is no doubt the rise of independent channels is transformative. And technology is changing the way clients relate to their money and those who advise them on what to do with it. Those are both as worthy of our attention and analysis as REP.’s traditional beat, the wirehouse broker. Unlike other industry publications, we won’t demonize all traditional brokerages on Wall Street, nor assume every RIA wears a halo.
This is all to set some context for the next step in our own evolution; three years ago, we retired our website, registeredrep.com, in favor of wealthmanagement.com, to demonstrate we recognized our audience no longer considered themselves simply registered reps of securities firms; they no longer identify as sales folks at the tail end of Wall Street. You don’t need me to tell you that’s no longer true.
The site is a success. We’ve seen dramatic growth in traffic and engagement across all metrics.
Now, we are doing the same with this magazine. Starting next month, REP. will be rebranded WealthManagement, to bring it into closer alignment with our website. We’ll have a new, cleaner look, a greater focus on shorter, more actionable information and we’ll take the opportunity to highlight our research. We’ll deliver the publication in both print and digital formats.
This magazine has been around for 40 years; you can see some of its evolution on page 38. But it’s a challenging time for all print publishers not keeping up with changes, both in publishing and in the areas we cover. But we’re committed to it. Starting next month you’ll still find the same coverage, but sharper, more focused and closer aligned with what you do every day.
So look for your first copy of WealthManagement next month, and please let me know what you think at [email protected].