RCS Capital is rolling out one of the first new investments in its nine and soon to be 11 independent broker-dealers during the first half of this year, says Larry Roth, CEO of Cetera Financial Group. RCS acquired Cetera in the largest deal of its kind last year.
The announcement comes as many Cetera advisors are trying to distance themselves from their parent company founded by former RCS Executive Chairman Nicholas Schorsch. Schorsch is accused of ordering accounting improprieties in RCS sister company, non-traded REIT manufacturer American Realty Capital Corp.
The revelations have cast a shadow over his B-D's reputation. Roth appeared to attempt to dispel the gloom with the announcement.
"Now that we are all one big happy family here, we've been spending the past several months putting together what we believe are high-level tools for our advisors to grow their practices and connect with clients," Roth says.
He did not immediately respond to later questions regarding his characterization of the nine B-Ds as "one big happy family," in light of recent pressures on and within the company.
The new offering is actually a "rebuild" of a platform Cetera first introduced three years ago, called Connect to Clients, or C2C. C2C offers advisors a multitude of customized ways to stay in contact with clients through emails, greeting cards and newsletters. Previously available only to Cetera advisors with more than $175,000 in revenues, it now will be accessible to all advisors with the nine current IBDs in the RCS network, regardless of income level.
RCS Capital will close on the acquisitions of VSR Financial and Girard Securities later this year.
The rebuild is "really by far the finest tool of this type that I've seen," says Roth.
One of the concerns almost every advisor has is how to carve out enough time to stay in touch with clients, says Susan Theder, Cetera's chief marketing officer.
"We want to meet that challenge head on and provide them with a compliance-approved portal including content [with] video, information graphics, articles, really customized one-to-one communications, the ability to upload attachments and the ability to create greeting cards," Theder says.
For example, "with the push of a button," an advisor can opt to send all clients over the age of 60 a retirement promotional campaign via email, she says.
While 70% of the portal's content is generated in-house, Theder says, the platform will be run in collaboration with the digital-marketing firm FMG Suite.
RCS plans to promote the platform from the main stage at between 50 and 100 conferences the IBDs in its network hold annually, Roth says.
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