Shrinking margins in the independent broker-dealer space have prompted another independent broker-dealer, Seattle-based Pacific West Financial Group, to close its doors.
In an announcement this week, the family-founded firm that went into business in 1972 also said it has signed a recruitment deal for its nearly 300 brokers with Denver, Colo.-based Multi-Financial Securities Corp, a full-service securities brokerage and subsidiary of Cetera Financial Group.
“In recent years, we have been faced with a steady increase in costs to operate a high quality broker-dealer,” Pacific West Vice President of Marketing Karalyn Carlton said in a statement, “including the increased cost of regulation and supervision, as well as the need for investment in technology and platforms.”
Pressures such as these have led nearly a dozen independent broker-dealers to shutter operations in the past couple of year.
The smaller firm chose the full service brokerage with $16 billion in AUM as the best platform for its advisors, according to Pacific West CEO Tony Pizelo.
“We are impressed with Multi-Financial’s culture and leadership approach, and its breadth of technology, product, research, due diligence and practice management offerings,” Pizelo said. “In addition, the strength of capital position, and resulting ability to continually invest in the platform, is key for our advisors.”
The two companies began discussing a deal about a year ago, said Multi-Financial President and CEO Brett Harrison.
“One of the most important things that makes this business work is the people and the relationships,” Harrison said. “We saw a nice alignment with the folks at Pac West, with the culture and the firm and the types of (brokers). That, in and of itself, was the catalyst.”
The recruitment deal will provide a streamlined path for those Pacific West brokers who want to move to Multi-Financial. Those who prefer not to make the move will seek new affiliations elsewhere.
The deal between the two firms is subject to FINRA approval. As of yet, there is no word as to when a decision might be expected, although Pacific West expects its wind down to be finished in March.
Ann Marsh writes for Financial Planning.