If the number of wirehouse reps nosing around Schwab's recent advisor conference is any guide, quite a few brokers are looking to make a big change next year.
That's twice as many as last year. And while the absolute numbers are relatively small, each broker on the go can easily represent $300 million or more in AUM at stake.
Normally the wirehouses are content to recruit from each other and the balance of assets remains fairly constant within the channel.
But the move to the independent channel is almost always one-way, so when these brokers take their clients, it's probably for good.
Every breakaway shrinks the wirehouses' once-overwhelming domination of the industry a little more -- or a lot, depending on the advisory.
And since Schwab is both actively urging these reps to escape and acting as an advocate for the independent channel at large, it does indeed "bode well," as Tim Oden says, for those with a stake in the channel wars.
As to what's gotten more brokers to think about breaking away, Oden -- who runs Schwab Advisory Services' business development -- suspects it's the fact that another year of retention bonuses are expiring in January.