The number of brokers and advisors likely to consider leaving their current employer and switching to another firm in the next 12 months nearly doubled to 9%, from 5% last year, according to the third annual National Financial Broker and Advisor Sentiment Index. And it's not always about the money.
Among brokers and advisors who recently switched companies, the survey found the top reason was a change in the prior firm's direction. For those considering a change, the top three reasons for making a possible move are better pay, the desire for more independence, and displeasure with their firm's current direction.
The survey also found a greater percentage (62%) of those likely to jump ship favor independent broker/dealers, regional firms and RIAs, with bank and insurance firms seeing declining interest.
"With nearly twice as many brokers and advisors considering switching firms, combined with the fact that the top reason for actually switching is driven by a change in their employer's direction, it is imperative that broker/dealers maintain a positive work environment and take into account how decisions affecting their firm's futures will influence broker loyalty," said Sandra Metraux, executive vice president, National Financial.
The sentiment index, sponsored by Fidelity Investments affiliate National Financial, was based on online interviews with 1,201 U.S. brokers and advisors from across the spectrum ranging from wirehouses to independents.
Among other findings, the survey showed that on a scale of one to 10, job satisfaction fell slightly to 7.5 versus 7.71 last year. The biggest factors in job satisfaction include a firm's work environment and clearing and settlement, followed by compensation, professional development, products, and tools and technology.
Furthermore, 42% of brokers and advisors who switched firms said that finding new customers is their biggest challenge, which National Financial says indicates a need for broker/dealers to develop more sophisticated referral programs.