Financial Advisors Sought in New Landscape

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When it comes to financial advising, big brokerages are on the way out, while banking-brokerage firms, independent advisors and online brokers are on the way in.

Think Bank of America acquiring Merrill Lynch. By adding Merrill's 16,000 advisors to its own 2,000, B of A went from being a small player in the space to a firm all eyes are watching. With standalone investment banks mostly gone from the financial scene, The Wall Street Journal reports, consumer banks are stepping up to serve retail clients in need of financial advice and investment services. It's good news for advisors, who are now the focus of recruiting efforts from a number of banking firms, including UBS, Credit Suisse, and Morgan Stanley.

UBS, which has been developing its business among high- and ultra-high-net work clients, recently raised the payout for top brokers to 45 percent from 43 percent. It now has about 275 advisors in its Private Wealth Management group, which works with clients who have at least $10 million in assets to invest. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse has hired more than 100 financial advisors for its U.S. Private Bank this year, bringing its total number of advisors to 400.

As for Morgan Stanley, pressures on its stock price haven't prevented the firm from bringing on board 105 brokers in the past three weeks, the Journal says. Together, these advisors generated some $80 million in fees and commissions and manage a combined $8 billion in assets. Industry observers predict the firm will "build themselves back up," one told the Journal.

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