The talent war is heating up.

Securities America fired the latest salvo, adding a new national director of recruiting and expanding its branch office development staff.

The La Vista, Neb., independent broker-dealer named industry veteran John Behn its national director of recruiting, and 16-year Securities America executive Sam Briganti was promoted to regional director of recruiting in charge of implementing recruiting strategies.

Brian Strasser, a ten-year veteran of Legent Clearing, was hired as director of transition and branch office development support, and Matthew Witt was promoted to associate consultant for branch office development.


The Securities America move underscored the intensity with which advisory firms are competing for talent, executive search experts said.

“There’s a great demand out there for brokers, but it’s more difficult than ever to get them to move” said Rich Schwarzkopf, principal of Schwartzkopf  Recruiting Services in New York. “Over the last five years deals have gotten longer, a lot of brokers are locked in place, other is reluctant to move because they’re afraid they’ll lose part of their book and firms are competing strongly for the ones that are available. Even the top firms are doing all they can to bring on new talent.”

Danny Sarch, president of Leitner Sarch Consultants, said the Securities America move is the latest example of the industry’s talent shortage. “It’s tough out there, and the big question  for these firms is whether they have  the sizzle to differentiate themselves from the competition," he said.

Behn has worked in the insurance and financial services industries for over twenty years as an advisor, national sales manager and vice president of strategy and operations for companies including New York Life, Transamerica and American Family.  He also owned his own business.

Securities America, the country’s eight-largest broker, is a subsidiary Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, Inc.

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