Cetera wins back Cathay Bank's $507M program

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Cathay Bank has moved its $507 million investment services program back to Cetera after a brief six-month stint with LPL.

The Los Angeles-based bank will look to Cetera to help it expand its base of high-net-worth clients, hire more advisors, and grow its life insurance business, LeAnn Rummel, president of Cetera Financial Institutions, said in announcement on Thursday.
The bank will also rely on Cetera to provide training and education to help advisors do business under evolving fiduciary rules.

Prior to switching to LPL in February, Cathay Bank had used Cetera as its third-party broker since 2006.

Philip Hurst, the bank's director of wealth management, alluded to Cetera's turmoil following an accounting scandal stemming from former boss Nicholas Schorsch, a period that caused several banks to move their programs to other broker dealers.

"We are very excited to work with Cetera Financial Institutions once again," said Hurst. "The transformation of Cetera Financial Group over the past year has been extremely successful and the company is doing better than ever."

Cathay Bank, which opened in 1962, caters to the needs of Chinese-American clients in southern California. It has over $14.5 billion in assets and 58 branches across the United States and one in Hong Kong.

Its retail wealth management business employs 15 financial advisors located in 41 branches. It has more than $507 million in brokerage assets, according to Cetera.

The bank cited Cetera's service culture and understanding of financial institutions as reasons for its move back to Cetera. It was also drawn to its technology tools and training capabilities and appreciated the bank's access to Cetera's executive leadership team.

"Cathay Bank's decision to rejoin our platform reaffirms once again the strength of our service culture and expertise in serving financial institutions, as well as the power of Cetera's vision for an advice-centric future for the industry," Rummel said.

Rummel predicted that Cathay Bank will be the first of a number of banks that will "return to the fold" after a brief period of working with other platforms.

So far this year, the firm has lost at least three significant programs to rivals. It lost both First Interstate Bank's $810 million program and Bell Bank's $780 million program to LPL, while Raymond James snatched the $600 million program of Prosperity Bank.

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Third party marketers LeAnn Rummel Cetera Financial Group LPL Financial Cathay Bank