Cetera Financial Group announced today that it is taking the best services and platforms from the 10 separate broker-dealers its parent company has acquired in the last 18 months and making them available to all reps in the 9,400-advisor network.
According to Cetera Financial Group CEO Larry Roth, Cetera will become the nationwide network umbrella for retail investment advice from the broker-dealers owned by RCS Capital Corporation (RCAP). “We want [to create] a scale organization while keeping the various firms unique,” Roth said.
The New York-based RCAP, run by its executive chairman Nicholas Schorsch and president Michael Weil, on August 7 announced its latest deal – to buy VSR Group Inc., an Overland Park, Kan.-based company that includes a registered investment advisor and a broker-dealer. Going forward, the RCAP Retail Advice Division will be called Cetera Financial Group.
“Cetera has excellent technology capabilities, so we’ll take it and share it with the other firms,” Roth said.
At the same time, certain functions like risk management, due diligence and research are going to be combined. Normally after a rash of acquisitions, brokerages look for consolidation and cost savings.
Roth didn’t address potential cost savings, but did note that the firm recently reported strong earnings and a 97 percent advisor-retention rate, and added the firm wants to maintain it. Many of the details still have to be worked out. "It’s an organic growth play, not a cost-savings story,” he said.
Most of the Cetera B-D's clear through Bank of New York/Mellon's Pershing & Co.'s clearing unit, which should ease the ability of reps at other firms to access Cetera's technology. Since the Cetera network now represents Pershing's single largest client, it is believed RCAP and Cetera will push Pershing for lower clearing costs.
In addition to Cetera’s technology platform, other services from various broker-dealers will be introduced across the entire network. They include: Pentameter, First Allied’s practice management and business consulting platform; Cetera’s Connect2Clients marketing portal; and best practices from Investors Capital and Summit Brokerage Services.
“We have a lot of entrepreneurs at RCAP, and we’re serving a lot of entrepreneurs. It’s fun,” Roth said, acknowledging that seven-day workweeks were becoming the norm after the firm’s 18-month acquisition spree.