Article featured in ThinkAdvisor on August 10, 2018
The branding advantage wirehouse advisors once enjoyed has eroded due to a decade of scandals.
Historically, financial advisors have admired the wirehouse model, in part because of the reputation and credibility those advisors could leverage with new and existing clients. The major wirehouses — Morgan Stanley, UBS Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo — stood tall as household names, and affiliation with those brands could give advisors a competitive leg up.However, due partly because of an avalanche of bad press, from institutional failures in 2008 through recent cringeworthy headlines, more and more financial advisors are leaving the wirehouse world to become RIAs. Wirehouse brokers used to benefit greatly from a branding standpoint by being affiliated with those firms, but negative public exposure in some cases has made it lose its luster — even become somewhat of a liability.
This makes the RIA channel more attractive than ever — advisors can build their own brands free from the perceived baggage that has come to be associated with some of the wirehouse affiliations.