Registered Rep.: Through your broker/dealer, Financial Network, you're able to have an integrated commission and fee-based platform using your own independent RIA — SageView. How did you decide to become a hybrid advisor?
Randy Long: I've been a registered rep for over 30 years, and seven or eight years ago I saw the change occurring in the marketplace, particularly serving retirement plans, where it was moving more from a commission-based environment to a fee-based environment. We were one of the early proponents of fee transparency, and wanting to acknowledge fiduciary status is why we created SageView Advisory Group as an independent, SEC-registered, stand-alone RIA.
RR: A significant part of your business is retirement plans. How is that space changing?
RL: I think the marketplace is changing in that clients want an advisor who can acknowledge fiduciary status. But a lot of the major wirehouses or even other independent broker/dealers will not allow their reps to acknowledge fiduciary status on qualified plans. Financial Network has allowed me to operate in that environment.
RR: How do you think a fiduciary standard would affect the retirement plan advisory business?
RL: I think that broker/dealers will require advisors either to use third-party sources such as Mesirow or Morningstar to provide those services, or they'll put some training programs in place and have a select few advisors that they'll actually allow to operate in that capacity.
RR: What got you interested in the advisory business?
RL: I went to San Diego State University for business school, and when I was there, I had an internship, of all places, at LPL. That's what drew me to the industry. I worked at what was then the home office, and I worked with one of the top advisors in his practice. I liked the relationship aspect of the business, meeting with clients and helping to solve people's needs.