First Allied Securities
Number of Back-Office Employees: 225
Number of Advisors: 987
Total Client Assets Under Management: $23 billion
Advisors' Average Length of Service (in industry): 16 years
Total Revenue Year to Date: $232 million
Revenue from Commissions: $149 million
Revenue from Fees: $51 million
Average AUM per Rep: $42 million
Average Payout per Rep: 92%
Average Production per Rep: $337,000
Number of Dually Registered Reps: 268
Registered Rep.: Why would a wirehouse rep want to leave his firm to join yours?
Keith Gregg: We offer true independence, business ownership, and access to unique and differentiated products and services, such as private equity and The Advisor Bank.
RR: Other than your own, of course, which other independent broker/dealers are you impressed with and why?
KG: LPL and Commonwealth. LPL for its sheer size and ability to execute to a corporate mandate; Commonwealth for its advisors' perception of good service and firm intimacy.
RR: Least favorite compliance rule?
KG: I like them all.
RR: Are your affiliated advisors fee-based or mostly commission/transaction advisors?
KG: We are pretty evenly split.
RR: How many of your reps are dually registered? Is that number growing or not?
KG: About one-third are dually registered, and it is clearly trending up.
RR: The most expensive aspect of running your independent broker/dealer firm in 2007?
KG: Compliance and technology.
RR: Your recruiting goals through 2008 and beyond?
KG: $60 million in new revenue in 2008, $80 million in 2009 and $100 million in 2010.
RR: What are you thoughts on upfront bonuses?
KG: They are necessary for transition support.
RR: The ideal advisor is? (Three words or less.)
KG: Entrepreneurial, growth-oriented.
RR: Biggest challenge in 2008 for the independent channel and your firm?
KG: Constantly navigating compliance and market potholes.
RR: The best technology investment your firm has made?
KG: The development of our Business Owners Suite.
RR: Best advice you can give a wirehouse rep thinking about going independent?
KG: Think about what you want your business to look like, and leave your [wirehouse] practice behind. There is a difference between owning a business and having a practice. A business is in business to make money. A practice practices making money.
RR: What challenges will you face over the next five years?
KG: Maintaining the level of intimacy with our business owners through our continuing growth.
RR: If you could meet one business-related figure, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you ask?
KG: Warren Buffett. I'm not so sure I'd ask anything as much as listen to his philosophy and viewpoint on our industry and capital markets.
RR: In 10 years, your firm will be?
KG: The preeminent partner to the best entrepreneurial independent financial advisors in the industry.
RR: A book every financial advisor should read?
KG: Bullish Thinking: The Advisor's Guide to Surviving and Thriving on Wall Street by Sydney LeBlanc, Alden Cass, Wiley Bros. 2008.