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Aug 26, 2009 1:18 am

First Allied? LPL? Raymond James? Commonwealth? Then we have the little guys, KMS and many others. Any bad ones to avoid? Any standouts to consider?

Aug 26, 2009 3:41 am

[quote=iceco1d] I’d put Cambridge and Harbor on your list of firms to consider.


What are their Unique Value Propositions?

Aug 26, 2009 2:15 pm

Stay away from Cambridge. I took a look at them a few years ago and really liked what I saw. But I went with a different b/d.

Took a look at them last year before forming my RIA. I wanted to use their hybrid platform. Place has gone downhill. One recruiter told me since Cambridge is located in the middle of nowhere their talent pool is limited. As they are growing they are running out of quality people to hire in their area. So they need to either hire less qualified people or rely on technology.

Commonwealth is a good “template firm”. If you are solo they have nice tech, can let you produce nice websites and send out nice little gifts every quarter. I still get tese three years after I spoke with them.

Harbor I have heard good things about too.

One thing to look out for, which I didn’t know. Some of the larger b/ds are underwriting their own E/O. So if you run into problems, its the b/d’s money and it may be an uphill battle for the rep to defend himself.

The same recuitor told me Cambridge is one of these firms. ( I don’t think he liked them very much -maybe they stopped paying the recuitors on leads??)

One last thought. If your plan is to eventually go RIA. Find a firm that will let you use Schwab or TD since you can keep your assets there one you leave the b/d. It is a pain to transfer all of it out from NFS or Pershing two years after you transfered it in.

Good luck ( and yes I will try to lay off the coffee next time I post)

Aug 26, 2009 6:22 pm

Platform, Support, Payout, and most importantly which BD fits your business model best.

Aug 26, 2009 7:43 pm

Good Afternoon All,

  Here are my 2 cents for what it's worth:   First Allied:  I believe an affiliated firm had some issues with their venture capital funding.  Not sure if that spilled over on First Allied.  I believe Forbes Magazine did an article not too long ago.   LPL:  Three Letter Giant.  I don't trust them based on the recent decision to remove Pershing and force the Reps onto LPL Clearing even after they indicated they want to "grow with Pershing."  Second, I don't consider LPL a real Independent B/D considering the majority of the firm is owned by venture capital companies.  Which master do you think they will serve first?   NFP:  Not much to say except InvestmentNEWS had some interesting articles on NFP in the past several months and from what I remember, not all positive.  Do your research.   Commonwealth:  Good and Decent Firm.  Payouts a bit on the lower side to compensate for everything they want to provide you.  It's a good deal if everything they offer you like and take 100% advantage of otherwise, why subsidize services your not interested in using?   In regard to CALI123's comment, if the goal is to one day become an RIA, I wouldn't limit yourself to only exploring Schwab or TD.  Others do exist.  Check Around.   As far as the clearing firms, inquire about cost-basis reporting.  Do they maintain it for free, is their a charge to have it added or printed on the clients statement, etc., etc., Believe it or not, some B/D firms and/or Clearing Firms DO CHARGE for cost- basis.  I've seen some costs like $2/account per month!  Holy Smokes that can get real expensive.   Feel free to call me if you need more help.  888-579-8640.
Aug 26, 2009 8:05 pm


I am sorry I should have included TradePmr. I saw a demo and was very impressed with the tech. It is nice to have a platform not tied to the old adp system. And I beleive you guys have an ability to hold licenses too, correct?

Aug 26, 2009 8:40 pm

Thanks Cali for the kind note.  Yes, we do have the ability to hold B/D licenses (i.e. Series 7) via our Hybrid Advisor Program.  Hope all is well.

Aug 27, 2009 1:34 am

Also spoken with Fred a couple of times. Very even-handed in his approach, a problem-solver and I’d agree overall with iceco1d.

Aug 27, 2009 8:30 pm

Thank - You all for the very nice complements about me and Trade-PMR.    I do my very best to be helpful.  I’m passionate about the work I do and what it means.  I wish for every Investment Advisor to be as successful as possible.

  Kindest Personal Regards,   Fred