Independent broker/dealer Commonwealth Financial Network has hired Alexander Hansen, the former chief compliance officer at Dynasty Financial Partners, as senior vice president of RIA compliance. Hansen’s addition is meant to bolster the Waltham, Mass.–based IBD’s continued commitment to its growing fee-only RIA channel. He reports to Paul Tolley, Commonwealth’s managing principal, compliance. Dynasty is currently searching for a replacement to fill Hansen's position.
“With the continuation of our advisors’ move to fee-only—whether that’s through our corporate RIA or RIA-only—it’s important that we ensure we’ve got the infrastructure, the leadership and support that provides those advisors with the compliance consulting services they need,” Tolley said.
Commonwealth does not act as the CCO for advisors that have their own RIA, but the firm does provide compliance consulting services to them. The firm currently offers what Tolley calls a “Tier 1” level of compliance support, including help preparing Form ADVs, written procedures and codes of ethics. The firm will help RIAs with how to structure their businesses and draw up the advisory contracts. It’ll also help with regulatory examinations.
Hansen will lead the effort to build out a “Tier 2” level of support, Tolley said. That may include helping RIAs with surveillance, annual reviews and filing ADVs.
“We’re in the infrastructure business, and the idea is that we’re here to help guide and support through that effort; not just with onboarding, but ongoing,” Tolley said. “Our advisors need the compliance support, in particular, to be able to certainly create an RIA, and if they already have one, they’re almost all the time using an outside consultant, for which they’re paying, probably, not an insubstantial fee.
“If we can provide the same level of service in a Commonwealth-centric way, which is the whole point, we want to be truly indispensable to our advisors where they understand and recognize the support and infrastructure that we offer in helping them run their business and do it in a compliant way.”
Commonwealth has been supporting fee-only advisors since 2013. In 2018, the firm created a dedicated RIA servicing group, and later hired Matthew Chisholm, former head of practice management and consulting at Fidelity, to lead its combined RIA services and practice management unit.