The number of brokers and financial advisors considering switching to another firm is expected to nearly double in 2008, up to 9% from 5% in 2007, according to a study released Monday.

“With nearly twice as many brokers and advisors considering switching firms, combined with the fact that the top reason for actually switching is driven by a change in their employer’s direction, it is imperative that broker/dealers maintain a positive work environment and take into account how decisions affecting their firm’s futures will influence broker loyalty,” said Sandra Metraux, executive vice president of National Financial, the institutional trade-clearing arm of Fidelity Investments.

Brokers and advisors cited higher pay, unhappiness with their firm’s direction and a desire for more independence and freedom as the top three reasons for wanting to leave.

More than 30% of those considering a move work at insurance companies and banks.

“As broker/dealers compete for the strongest producers in a zero-sum environment, recruiting and retaining brokers is the No. 1 priority for the firms’ long-term success,” Metraux said.

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