After announcing growth plans earlier in the year, Advisor Group has taken the next step: hiring a new executive vice president to lead its recruiting and acquisition strategy.

The newly tapped executive, Kevin Beard, says his primary job is to lead acquisitions of small independent broker-dealers -- those with annual gross dealer concessions of $50 million or less – and wrapping them into one of the four existing B-Ds that make up the giant B-D network. "We're not looking to [buy] small B-Ds and have them run as separate entities," he says.

The recruiting departments at each of the Advisor Group broker-dealers -- FSC Securities, Royal Alliance, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial -- will still report to the respective B-D presidents and still have separate recruiting functions, says Beard, who most recently served as senior vice president of recruiting for Royal Alliance.

Beard, meanwhile, will focus on deal-making, working closely with the four B-Ds to decide where newer acquisitions will fit based on geography, size and mix of business.


The newly created role is also aimed at developing and promoting programs to recruit new offices of supervisory jurisdiction, as well as new advisors for existing OSJs. “A number of OSJs across our network are looking to bring other advisors into their groups,” he says. "They have their own brands, and we will help them grow their practices through recruiting high-quality advisors."

Beard’s other priorities in the coming months include:

  • Boosting social media use among Advisor Group’s B-Ds to support recruiting efforts. (He'll start by creating a Twitter account for himself, he notes.)
  • Identifying and recruiting "super-OSJs" with $5 million or more in gross dealer concessions.
  • Focusing on recruiting female advisors -- who currently make up 15% of the firm's advisors -- as well as career changers and younger talent.

The competitive landscape has already been shaken up earlier this year with RCS Capital's $1.15 billion acquisition of Cetera Financial Group, which was the No. 2 B-D network as of last year's FP50 ranking of top IBDs. (Advisor Group, a unit of AIG Life and Retirement, was No. 1.)

But Beard thinks current industry consolidation bodes well for his own company. He expects regulatory, technology and marketing costs to continue increasing, pressuring B-D operating margins and encouraging mergers. “Meanwhile, the cost of recruiting has gone up," he adds. "So we are also focused on providing succession opportunities.”

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