Cantor Fitzgerald Must Step Up Recruiting in Wealth Management Push

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If it seems like Cantor Fitzgerald is always expanding, well, it is. Within the last six months, the New York brokerage firm has signaled plans to add staff in investment banking, asset management and even in structured credit. Now, Cantor Fitzgerald is launching a new wealth management unit.

Cantor Fitzgerald Wealth Partners is aimed at high net worth clients with at least $5 million in investable assets, according to Reuters. Ideally, Cantor is eyeing the really big fish – investors with $50 million-plus to throw around.

To do so, Cantor Fitzgerald will need to get on the recruiting trail. Stan Gregor, co-chief executive of the new unit, told Reuters that Cantor is eyeing independent investment advisers and brokers who work on a fee-based model, rather than those who charge commissions on each transaction.

It could be a tough road to hoe. With trading volumes drying up and impending regulations encouraging less risky behavior, nearly every firm is allocating more resources to wealth management, creating a recruiting war over brokers with healthy books of business. Signing bonuses often reach seven figures. Cantor may need to offer wealth managers equity in the company if it wants to recruit those capable of landing $50 million accounts.

Another issue for Cantor is its reputation. Bloomberg wrote a rather scathing article early this year, noting Cantor has become a bit of a revolving door for banking talent. More than 40% of the traders and bankers Cantor has hired since 2009 have left, which may explain why they always seem to be hiring. Then there’s the impending rule that will force wealth managers to disclose signing bonuses to clients – a sure impediment to people moves in the coming years.

But hey, wealth management is a fairly independent business. If people have the book and are offered an equity stake, the upside could outweigh the downside.

Cantor didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on how many hires it hopes to make.

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