Fidelity Investments said Wednesday that it had helped spring some 95 breakaway brokers and teams from their firms and go independent in the first half of 2010, teams that took some $7 billion in assets with them from the wirehouses.
The custodial firm also said that the average assets for teams cobbling out their own RIA firm on Fidelity's platform had spiked 65% from the first six months of the previous year.
The majority of these brokers offer both fee and commission business. Thirteen of the breakaways were teams with $250 million or more in assets apiece. Some of these teams set up their own RIAs, some joined RIAs already set up and doing business with Fidelity's platform, and some joined broker-dealers working with Fidelity's clearing business, National Financial.
Fidelity said that the breakaway phenomenon has come to be dominated by larger teams. As the trend continues, custodians such as Fidelity continue to ramp up their service offerings; the company has come up with a matching tool for brokers to help them identify Fidelity or National Financial client firms.
The company has also offered a reference guide called the Advisor Guidebook that gives brokers resources to help them address several critical steps when transitioning to independence. One of these is a white paper called "Options for Independence." The guide also offers checklists for brokers setting up a new business, and offers them advice in preparing for form ADVs, planning for transitions, communicating with clients and using technology.