The new top executive at Cetera Advisor Networks said he plans to emphasize growth in 2013.

Douglas King, the company’s president, who will replace Jack Handy as CEO after he retires in March, plans to be aggressive about that growth strategy as he targets advisors in the independent and wirehouse channels.

“We have a new recruiting team,” King said, “looking for individual reps to join our existing regions. The name Cetera Advisor Networks describes exactly who we are–a series of advisor networks with a regional focus. Our regional directors all own their own business.” Cetera Advisor Networks is an independent broker-dealer and RIA firm with more than 2,000 financial professionals.

King said the new recruiting team will focus on the independent space.

“We can offer a broader platform and advanced technology to advisors who don’t want to be part of a conglomerate,” he said. “With our firm, advisors have the breadth and scale of a large firm as well as the look and feel of a smaller B-D, along with our family-oriented culture.”

In addition, King said Cetera will actively recruit wirehouse reps. After 25 years at Merrill Lynch, most recently as director of Merrill’s Minneapolis & Associates Complex and Minnesota state president for Bank of America, King “speaks the language,” as he put it. King joined Cetera last year.

“At a wirehouse,” he said, “if you’ve been there, say, five or 10 years and produce less than $300,000, you’re not really valued. The average wirehouse production is in the $800,000-$900,000 range. At our firm, smaller producers can be valued individuals. Here, with $400,000 or $500,000 in production, you can be an MVP.”

King also said Cetera might launch a pilot program in 2013, aimed at getting wirehouse regional directors to join his firm, where they can establish new regions.

Besides his wirehouse experience, King pointed to Cetera’s financial strength as an aid to recruiting. “We have capital,” he said, “so we can provide upfront money, if reps need to pay off loans. Some advisors don’t want to write a check to leave their old firm.”

King said advisors who join Cetera will be independents with their own business, rather than employees of his firm.

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