When financial advisor Mike Gegen made the final decision to leave his job at RBC Capital Markets to move to Baird Financial Group, he resigned on May 23, the Friday morning before the three-day Memorial Day weekend, and within one hour, he was on the phone persuading clients to move with him.
Gegen, who managed $100 million in client assets at RBC Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of the Royal Bank of Canada, found himself in a situation familiar to any broker who has ever changed firms: He was in a race against his former colleagues to call his clients and win their future business.
"In our industry, it is a tug-of-war," Gegen said. "Firms view clients as their clients, and of course we view them as our relationships. For me, having the third day was a big help."
The act of advisors switching firms over a long weekend is an old tactic dating back to the 1980s and 1990s, when brokerage firms who heard about departing brokers would rush to the courthouse seeking temporary restraining orders to prevent those advisors from communicating with clients.
Advisors who left late on the day before a long holiday weekend had a jump start back then, because the courts were closed.
But headhunters and industry specialists say fewer advisors move on holiday weekends now, in part because a 2004 protocol prevents firms from seeking temporary restraining orders, and also because brokers and firms don't want to interrupt clients while they are enjoying those long breaks.
Regular, non-holiday weekends are still a common time to move firms. The two-day hiatus gives advisors extra time to call clients, allows them to leave after receiving a final pay check and often simply feel like a comfortable time to make a break, advisors have said.
Laser App is a software program used by job-hopping advisors to transfer clients' accounts. A review of the software's usage over the last year showed no noticeable spikes in activity around long weekends, said Robert Powell, vice president at Laser App Software. Use of the software spiked on New Year's Day and over several weeks in early fall 2013, Powell said.
To be sure, some advisors like Gegen still elect to move on long weekends, because they want as much time as possible to track down and talk with clients.