When a financial adviser leaves a firm, clients often get caught in the middle of what amounts to a messy divorce. A squabble now playing out in the wealth management industry suggests that many of those splits could get messier.
Financial advisers act as shepherds for their clients, guiding them to sound investments. As the individual relationships grow, trust builds. If an adviser moves from one firm to another, clients typically follow.
For years, wealth management firms agreed not to stand in the way of such broker recruitment, putting client needs ahead of their own. But now, some firms are balking at letting clients go, and are threatening legal action to make them stay put. At the root of the fight is money, billions of dollars in client fees that wealth management firms reap every year.