GUEST BLOG: Bill Singer Talks To Industry Recruiter Ron Edde of Millennium Career Advisors

August 26, 2020

Recently, and Securities Industry Commentator publisher Bill Singer has been inundated with calls from industry associated persons worrying about the future of their firms, contemplating resignation, or troubled about potential post-employment litigation against them by their former employer. Bill raised some of the issues with prominent industry recruiter W. Ron Edde of Millennium Career Advisors:

Ron, how are you seeing COVID impact the employment scene?

Ron Edde: The pandemic has brought significant change to the advisory/recruiting landscape, and some of this change is likely permanent. Initially, the inability of firms to meet with and/or onboard candidates nearly brought activity to a standstill. That pause was very short-lived, however, as people and companies quickly adapted to virtual meetings. Things like technology demonstrations and even virtual home office visits rapidly filled the vacuum. Overall, advisor movement has not been markedly slowed, especially for advisors that were already considering a change prior to the appearance of the virus and the subsequent social lock-down that occurred in many areas.

Given your veteran status as an industry recruiter, what are you seeing in COVID that is unique?

Ron Edde: It is not so much the virus itself but the social response to it which has made this situation distinctive. Never before in my experience has any global threat spread beyond market disruption to near paralysis of activity. As we are able to get a better understanding of the real nature of this threat from increasing amounts of hard data, both advisors and firms are adapting with impressive speed.

What suggestions do you have for reps you are thinking of relocating during this crisis?

Ron Edde: The pandemic will ultimately go away either of its own accord, or more likely, with the imminent development of therapeutics and/or vaccines. Unless one was convinced that clients would be more reluctant to follow an advisor to a new firm as a result of this environment, there is no reason to delay. In fact, a compelling argument can be made that it is easier to move now than before the pandemic. Clients are hungry to hear from their advisors right now, and most of them are at home. So, discussions regarding a move are not as difficult to initiate and getting ACAT forms signed and returned can and is happening at a speed which is nearly unprecedented.

What mistakes are you seeing reps making in reacting to COVID?

Ron Edde: By far, the number one mistake is not reaching out to clients frequently enough. Some older clients who may not be as comfortable utilizing tools like Zoom or WebEx may prefer to hear from their advisors via telephone instead. J.D. Power found in its latest study that financial advisors did not take advantage of technology available to them to communicate with clients. That has to change or clients could become ex-clients very quickly. Fortunately, most advisors seem to recognize this and are making diligent efforts to reach clients via whatever means necessary.

For advisors planning on making a change, Covid has not magically imparted expertise about what career options exist and how to assess those any more than it has made clients more knowledgeable about investments and how to position their portfolios wisely. In both areas, making informed decisions is critical...and relying on oneself to do that without outside consultation is tantamount to representing yourself in a criminal trial.

How is the pandemic impacting the recent trend of reps transitioning out of the broker-dealer arena and into the RIA?

Ron Edde: I have seen no discernible impact from Covid on movement away from independent broker/dealers into the RIA channel.

Do you see the recent acquisitions by Schwab (TDA) and Morgan Stanley (E*Trade) as presenting overall opportunities or are you worried about any negative implications?

Ron Edde: As a recruiter, the natural inclination is to be concerned about any changes like this. But if past mergers are any kind of reliable indicator, it is unlikely that the two acquisitions mentioned here are going to significantly diminish opportunities for people in my industry.

Baby Boomers seem to be particularly motivated by the pandemic to either pack it in and retire, or, in the alternative, many of them are planning on moving to a retirement locale and see the chance to extend their careers as more folks join the exodus from big cities. What are you seeing in that regard?

Ron Edde: Advisors now contemplating either taking a sunset package from their employer or to find another advisor to buy their practice are increasing in numbers the extent of which I've never seen before. Also, we are seeing an increase in advisors who are not just changing firms, but changing states of residence, most notably out of California and New England. This is reportedly due to increasing civil unrest in many areas resulting in a sense of insecurity, but also by a growing aversion to paying increasingly higher taxes in specific areas,. It used to be rare to see an advisor willing to leave a state, even if they weren't changing firms. Now, given the new dynamic of client interaction where virtual meetings are increasingly replacing actual ones, relocating is becoming much more common. Rather than the cause, however, I believe the pandemic has merely served as a catalyst to this emerging diaspora.

The independent channel has continued to gain in popularity, particularly with older advisors who are recognizing that they can continue to ply their craft in that environment, even if they only choose to be in the office a couple of days per week. 


W. Ron Edde
President/Chief Executive Officer
2132 Treasure Lake Court
Henderson, NV 89052

Telephone:  760-642-2701

Ron Edde, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer, has over 17 years of financial recruiting experience. As a licensed principal and Investment Advisor Representative, he personally recruited and managed over 200 representatives for a national financial services firm.

Ron is interviewed frequently by financial media, including the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Advisor magazine, Fund Fire, InvestmentNews, Rep magazine, On Wall Street, AdvisorHub and RIA Biz