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Despite Pledge, Valerie Brown Out in RCS Capital Shuffle; Larry Roth Tapped

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Despite promises to keep RCS Capital's executive management team in place, Valerie Brown, one of the independent broker-dealer industry’s most prominent leaders, is out as Cetera Financial Group's chief executive officer.

That means RCS is losing one of the industry’s most prominent female leaders in a management shuffle – even though RCS Executive Chairman Nicholas Schorsch had told Financial Planning he intended to keep all of his executive talent.

“Ms. Brown believes now is the right time for her to transition from her role as CEO of Cetera into a consulting role with Cetera and on to other pursuits,” RCS President Michael Weil said in a statement.

Former Advisor Group CEO Larry Roth will become the new CEO of the firm that was formed after RCS snapped up shopping cart full of IBDs – the four Cetera broker-dealers, First Allied Securities, Investors Capital, Summit Brokerage Services and J.P. Turner – over the past year. 

Brown, a former ING executive, led the creation of Cetera Financial Group by working with private equity firm Lightyear Capital when it bought ING’s independent B-D operations. Over the course of her own acquisitions, Brown built Cetera into the one of the largest independent B-D networks in the country.

In a lengthy exclusive interview with Financial Planning in February, Schorsch insisted that Brown was an integral part of his new executive team: “Valerie will certainly be playing the key role to running the entire business, so Valerie’s kind of the head of our retail strategies – there’s no doubt about that. … The Cetera brand will be obviously first in, with First Allied, and they’re running separately at the moment. But we see Valerie and Adam [Antoniades, who was First Allied’s CEO] taking a core role in that business. Absolutely.”

As part of the makeover, Antoniades was named president of Cetera Financial Group, Catherine Bonneau was named president and CEO of Cetera Financial Institutions, Doug King was named president and CEO of Cetera Advisor Networks and Enrique Vasquez was named president and CEO of Cetera Financial Specialists. Last week, Kevin Keefe -- executive vice president of Advisor Group, and head of its corporate RIA -- was named president of First Allied, succeeding Antoniades.

In a statement, Schorsch lavished praise on Roth, saying: “Larry’s extensive depth of experience and his direct involvement with our acquisitions of our independent broker-dealers make him the natural fit to drive and grow our retail investment advice strategy. When we hired Mr. Roth last summer, we knew he could contribute significantly to our future success across the breadth of our enterprise.”

Roth was the CEO of the predecessor company to Cetera Financial, ING’s U.S. retail group. Prior to joining RCS last year as CEO of its wholesale business, he was the CEO of Advisor Group, an AIG company. Roth also has served as chairman of the Insured Retirement Institute and as chairman of the Financial Services Institute.

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