Cetera Financial Group has named Adam Antoniades as the independent broker-dealer network’s CEO. A longtime executive at Cetera and its predecessor firms, Antoniades most recently served as the network’s president.

The appointment culminates a nine-month search for internal and external candidates following the abrupt resignation of former chairman and CEO Robert Moore last February. Moore had led Cetera for two years after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2016 right through the sale of the IBD network to Genstar Capital for $1.7 billion in October 2018. Cetera is believed to have about 8,000 reps and generate approximately $1.7 billion in annual revenues.

Moore’s sudden resignation caught the industry -- and Genstar -- off guard. Last January, Genstar, which owns majority interests in a number of major players in the independent advisor space including Mercer Advisors, reportedly was engaged in talks to merge with Advisor Group.

Last spring, Reverence Capital acquired a majority interest in Advisor Group in a transaction that valued that IBD network at a reported $2.2 billion. In November, Reverence and Advisor Group turned around and acquired the Ladenburg Thalmann network of five IBDs for about $1.2 billion.

The flurry of deals revealed the acute interest of private equity firms in the IBD space and raised concerns about financial leverage at a number of IBD networks. Fortunately for both Genstar and Reverence, the financial markets have remained strong in the critical first year after their investments. However, the decline in interest rates in 2019 has hurt a key source of revenues, money market sweep accounts.

Antoniades is known for his longstanding relationship with IBD reps and his keen interest in pushing the boundaries of fintech software to empower advisors and enhance their relationships with clients. In an interview, he said the cost of both technology and regulation were likely to drive further consolidation in the business. In particular, regulation continues to be an important "driver of change," alluding to new fiduciary rules in New Jersey and Massachusetts going into effect at the same time as Finra rolls out Reg BI.

“I am honored by the opportunity to lead Cetera as CEO," Antoniades said in a prepared statement. "I have deep respect for and belief in the work our financial advisors do every day to serve their clients and the work our employees do to support them.  I look forward to working closely with the board, management team, our employees and our community of financial professionals to continue to co-create an advice-centric future for our profession.”

For Genstar the search for a new CEO was apparently extensive. “I want to thank our CEO search committee for conducting such a thorough vetting of internal and external candidates that was extensive in its diligence and reach,” said Tony Salewski, managing director of Genstar Capital and a member of Cetera’s board of directors. “The Cetera CEO role attracted many of the industry’s top talent, and in Adam we are confident that we have identified the best leader to take Cetera forward.”

Cetera board chairman Ben Brigeman had been serving as interim CEO following Moore’s departure. “Adam has demonstrated a strong track record in leading transformation, serving independent financial advisors, driving results, strengthening operational risk and compliance, and innovating amid a rapidly evolving landscape. Adam’s financial and business acumen, entrepreneurial and visionary mindset, integrity and passion for the profession are distinguishing qualities considered by our board’s search committee,” said Brigeman, a former Charles Schwab executive. “With Adam’s understanding and leadership of Cetera’s culture, we are confident we have the right leader, at the right time to drive the future success of the organization.”