Smaller firms and more intimate work environments – those are among the top reasons advisors leave their firms, branch managers say.

About one third of managers expect advisors to make a move within the next year due to expiring retention contracts, according to data from a recent survey.

Their expectations might be derived from past experience: Of advisors who left within the past year, about one third went to the independent space, surveyed managers said.

The survey, conducted by King Fish Media and sponsored by New York Life MainStay Investments, included 90 branch managers who agreed to participate, of whom about three-quarters worked at wirehouses while one-quarter from regional broker-dealers.

Despite the pull of independence, a slim majority of branch managers said that their current recruiting system is fine for attracting and retaining advisors. Only 11% said they needed bigger budgets to bring in new advisors.
Pressures, meanwhile, continue to mount on branch managers. More than two-thirds said that the number of advisors who report to them has increased. More than 80% supervise at least 25 advisors in their office.

Not surprisingly two thirds of branch managers said their biggest challenge was time management.

Their number one task, branch managers say, is mentoring and helping their advisors do their job. At the top of the to-do list is helping advisors prospect for new clients.


A majority of branch managers had a positive point of view of expected fiduciary standards from the Department of Labor and the SEC. Only 13% of those polled said it was a bad idea.

Despite grabbing headlines, robo advisors were not a concern to this group. A mere 2% said that robos were a big issue. More than 70% said it was not a concern.

But branch managers were split evenly, 42% to 42%, on one issue: Whether baby boomer clients are really prepared for retirement.

A surprisingly high percentage, 38%, said that boomers lack a retirement strategy or plan. An additional 23% said they haven't saved enough.

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