The increased complexity of client portfolios and the investment products, especially among wirehouse advisors, makes moving even tougher.

"Moving basic stock and bond portfolios was a lot easier. Now you've also got all the increased compliance and regulations; the amount of paperwork alone is a full-time job," said RBC Wealth Management U.S. head John Taft.

Cunniff suggests advisors factor in transition support when discussing a move, and request specifics about the transition team and ask for increased support for the first month or quarter greater than what they might normally offer.

"If they are a good prospect, they can make that part of their deal," Cunniff said.

The firms are hiring the brokers in order to get those client assets, so it's in their best interest to do whatever they can to ensure the assets follow.

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