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Bank Investment Units' Heads Get Pick of Advisers

One shift in distribution strategy the financial crisis has caused, which fund sales directors should take note of, is that banks are looking far more attractive to a variety of advisers and more are hiring top talent.

As the industry consolidates, many more bank and wirehouse brokers are on the move, especially those dislocated by big mergers. According to, domestic openings for advisers listed on the site have remained level since September, at about 2,000. But hits to the site from advisers looking for new jobs have tripled during the same period, to 84,275.

"There are a ton more people looking," said Steve Testerman, president of, including former mutual fund wholesalers and account managers.

"We'd normally interview three or four advisers for an opening at a bank, but the last one attracted 15 advisers, all extremely qualified," said Jay McAnelly, executive vice president of IPI, a third-party marketer in San Antonio.

Bank recruiters usually target lower-tier wirehouse brokers because they have been through aggressive training programs and can bring clients with them, but have hit a ceiling at less than $500,000 in production.

Roseanne Roberts, a principal at R.M. Roberts & Associates recruiting firm in Santa Fe, N.M., typically only works with community banks and credit unions but says she has been getting calls from wirehouse advisers.

However, signing bonuses are rare at banks, and advisers looking for nonmonetary benefits have to negotiate to get them. Howard Diamond, managing director of recruiting firm Diamond Consultants in Chester, N.J., suggests bargaining for the largest possible territory. Roberts said a territory of $150 million, measured by retail deposits in the branches a rep covers, should give an adviser sufficient opportunity to do well, whereas a $50 million territory force an adviser to "eke out an income."

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