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Lost Your Broker? You're Not Alone

By Dian Vujovich

Opportunities abound in turmoil markets, particularly for those with eyes to see beyond the pale. Take your broker, for instance. If you’ve phoned the firm only to find out she’s no longer associated with it, don’t be alarmed. She may have moved on to greener pastures.

Greener pastures in a lousy market where many in the financial services industry are losing their jobs, you wonder? Absolutely. It’s times like these when many registered reps and advisers decide that they don’t like the heat from upper management to gather more assets and consider going independent, open a firm of their own, join one that’s offering higher pay-out commissions, or, decide to take one of the offers they’re getting from other firms to switch companies. Those offers, BTW, typically come with a fat signing bonus. Something that’s pretty tempting with the holidays and concerns about who-knows-what’s-going-to-happen-in-2009 right around the corner.

According to a recent online survey conducted by Fidelity Investments and National Financial, here are some numbers:

• 36 percent of brokers have recently considered starting their own firm or joining an independent broker/dealer or registered investment adviser.

• 34 percent to 46 percent say that they’ve already received sign-on bonus offers to switch firms. (The larger percentage represents those already working at major wirehouses who’ve received offers.)

• And 27 percent of all brokers figure that they’re likely to get an offer in the near future.

What this means for you is: change. It seems to be everywhere, unavoidable and the panacea for everything money-related or not these days. Let’s hope it’s all for the good.

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