Cetera Financial Group continues its growth story as it emerges as an independent entity from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of RCS Capital.
The El Segundo, Calif.-based independent broker-dealer network announced on Wednesday that one of its member firms, Cetera Advisor Networks, based in Los Angeles, has recruited Empire Asset Management Group onto its platform.
“Empire fits nicely into Cetera Advisor Networks’ profile,” says Doug King, president and CEO of Cetera Advisor Networks. “They’re a firm that wants the benefits of independence but doesn’t want to go completely alone, they fit in very nicely with our model.”
Empire Asset Management Group is a hybrid independent financial advisory practice with approximately $200 million in client assets based in Albany, N.Y. Led by Brad Konopaske, founder and president, and Paul Paska, chief branding officer, the practice primarily serves mass affluent and high-net-worth retirees.
The recruitment is Cetera Advisor Networks’ first since Cetera Financial Group’s parent company, RCS Capital, filed for Chapter 11 restructuring earlier this year after a prolonged unraveling that was touched-off by an accounting scandal that surfaced at an affiliated firm in 2014.
King says RCS Capital’s troubles were raised in discussions with Empire.
“They did ask questions, but they understand that the problems at our parent company didn’t really carry down to us, they didn’t feel uncomfortable,” King says. “The issues with our parent company haven’t effected us, this year’s already off to a great start.”
King notes that Cetera Advisor Networks enjoyed record growth in 2015, and plans to continue its growth in the near term.
“We have a strong, steady pipeline.” King says. “There are a few broker-dealers who are wanting to close their door and who want to join the Cetera family, for some it’s a nice fit because they effectively become a super-OSJ instead of a broker-dealer. My phone is ringing off the hook because they’re concerned about the impact of the DOL rule and the regulatory environment in general.”
Amidst the uncertainty, some industry sources predicted that Cetera’s representatives and advisors might look to break away or to change firms, but relatively few defections have occurred.