Discretionary trading authorization

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Jun 10, 2009 9:36 am

I am curious to know if your firm allows for discretionary trading?  RJ is very stingy when it comes to approving individual FA's.  For those of you trading for clients this way, who has the best platform?  Thanks!

Jun 10, 2009 4:42 pm

Morphius is correct -- discretionary trading is quite common in the RIA Sector and in fact, provided you explain the benefits of it to your clients, they will WANT you to have it.  I had one Advisor who did not have discretion and a lot of his clients owned the same ETF fund and one day, the market was tanking and he couldn't call his clients fast enough to get out of the position.  If he had discretionary trading authority, he could have simply done a position trade and be done with it in a few clicks no big deal.

 
As far as E&O is concerned, this is often a subject plagued with misinformation particularly coming from BD's (but not all).  RIAs with my platform pay around $800 - $2,000/year not the often purported figure I've seen in the trade journals of $25,000 +....perhaps for extremely large and complex firms but I've never an RIA Firm that I support pay such high figures.
Jun 10, 2009 5:26 pm

I'm surprised you say RJ is tight on this. I'm amazed at the number of top advisor presentations that disclose during Q&A they are discretionary. I also find it interesting that they really don't differentiate between those that are RIA and those that aren't.

Jun 10, 2009 5:27 pm

Somehow my response posted in the middle of the thread-see above.

Jun 10, 2009 6:06 pm

It used to be a huge part of our business, but anymore compliance and companies make it so difficult it's nearly impossible.

 
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but if I recall correctly, I think the Schwab and TD Ameritrade platforms allow for this.  But then you're with Schwab and TD Ameritrade...so take it as you will.
Jun 10, 2009 9:38 pm

Well certainly any RIA "platform" (to use your term) not only allows discretionary accounts - it is the norm.

 
Not sure what you meant by your last sentence though, snags.  The custodian (Schwab, TD Ameritrade or whoever) is merely a vendor you choose to work with.  Nothing to prevent you from working with more than one at a time, or switching from one to another along the way.
Jun 11, 2009 12:38 am
Morphius:

Well certainly any RIA "platform" (to use your term) not only allows discretionary accounts - it is the norm.

 
Not sure what you meant by your last sentence though, snags.  The custodian (Schwab, TD Ameritrade or whoever) is merely a vendor you choose to work with.  Nothing to prevent you from working with more than one at a time, or switching from one to another along the way.
 
It was more sarcasm.  I just personally dislike everything about Schwab and TD Ameritrade...mostly because I can't stand their TV commercials.
 
The RIA route does seem to be most accepting of discretionary trading.  Morphius, do you pay higher E&O insurance because of it?  I believe this was one of the reasons our BD doesn't like the discretion...that it is outside of the E&O "norms".
Jun 11, 2009 3:31 pm

Anyone else from a major wire regional have anything to add? Thanks.

Jun 11, 2009 3:47 pm
snaggletooth:
Morphius:

Well certainly any RIA "platform" (to use your term) not only allows discretionary accounts - it is the norm.

 
Not sure what you meant by your last sentence though, snags.  The custodian (Schwab, TD Ameritrade or whoever) is merely a vendor you choose to work with.  Nothing to prevent you from working with more than one at a time, or switching from one to another along the way.
 
It was more sarcasm.  I just personally dislike everything about Schwab and TD Ameritrade...mostly because I can't stand their TV commercials.
 
The RIA route does seem to be most accepting of discretionary trading.  Morphius, do you pay higher E&O insurance because of it?  I believe this was one of the reasons our BD doesn't like the discretion...that it is outside of the E&O "norms".
 
Big difference between the retail and institutional sides of their businesses.
Jun 11, 2009 4:09 pm

Inside a fee account my firm allows it.

Jun 15, 2009 12:52 pm

Does anyone from ML, MS , UBS or WFC have anything to add?  Thanks.

Jun 15, 2009 10:12 pm
Tarpon:

Does anyone from ML, MS , UBS or WFC have anything to add?  Thanks.

I just left SB. They offer discretionary in a fee based account. Good program, not that difficult to qualify. Two levels one has more restrictions. The other is tougher to qualify, have to have certain level of assets, etc, plus take a test which is basically the investment part of the CFP exam.
Now at an indie, similiar program, not that difficult to qualify, just had to answer a lot of questions and describe how i build portfolios.
Jun 16, 2009 10:30 am

you can't do discretionary trading in a brokerage account anymore. It has to be through your firms FA discretionary managed accounts program. This business is done through your firm's IA registration. Most firms are registered as BDs and IAs so it shouldn't be a problem as long as you pass the training, qualify with regards to experience & licensing and stick to managing accounts within the program investment guidelines.

Jun 16, 2009 9:33 pm
Big Brother:

you can't do discretionary trading in a brokerage account anymore. It has to be through your firms FA discretionary managed accounts program. This business is done through your firm's IA registration. Most firms are registered as BDs and IAs so it shouldn't be a problem as long as you pass the training, qualify with regards to experience & licensing and stick to managing accounts within the program investment guidelines.

Thats exactly what i am talking about.