Weiner argued that the RIA business model should be able to accommodate both bull and bear markets. “Taking a government bailout just because it’s easy to get is immoral and unethical. If the business model is so broken they feel they need a government backstop and don’t have other sources of capital such as bank lines of credit already established, these are not viable businesses and shouldn’t be propped up in the first place,” Weiner said.

Crestone Asset Management, a Colorado-based firm with about $2.9 billion in assets under management, received a PPP loan for $1 million, according to the firm’s updated ADV. IPG Investment Advisors, a firm with about $2 billion in AUM based out of San Diego, received PPP loan of $443,100, according to its updated ADV. 

Brown argued that Ritholtz’s PPP loan was simply smart business. “It’s my partner and I who signed for the loan. We said let’s transfer the uncertainty from our employees and put it on ourselves. The benefit of the PPP loan over a line of credit is that the bank gives you six months to begin payments on the PPP loan. Our first payment is in October. So we have a low-interest rate loan. ... Where it gets complex is where firms apply for forgiveness, meaning they don’t pay back a loan. I don’t believe that many advisors in this country are applying for forgiveness."

Brown also noted there is still $138 billion sitting in the PPP stimulus program. “Originally it appeared there was a shortage of funds, but 50% of all applications were duplicates made by businesses that applied at multiple banks,” Brown said.

The loans, which are eligible to companies with fewer than 500 employees, can be used for payroll, as well as certain other expenses, including mortgage interest, rent and utilities. The loan can be forgiven if the company taking the loan uses 75% of it toward payroll in the first eight weeks after it’s been dispersed, provided employees don’t suffer a 25% drop in pay and if the company’s employee head count is the same as of June 30.

As for applying for forgiveness, “I can’t speak for anyone else, but we have no interest in that,” Brown reiterated. “We are doing everything we can to give customers’ peace of mind and create continuity for employees.”  

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