A prominent Cetera Financial Group executive is leaving the firm.

Barnaby Grist, Cetera’s executive vice president of wealth management and a high-profile hire from Charles Schwab in 2010, is stepping down to care for his parents in England and his wife’s parents on the East Coast, says a spokeswoman for the broker-dealer network.

“That’s why he’s making the difficult decision to take this time now,” says Cetera's Shayna Inman. “He says if he doesn’t do it now, he’ll regret it.”

Grist was not available for comment. He will remain with the company for three months and is working on a transition plan with Cetera CEO Valerie Brown, Inman says. “It’s very early in the process, but [already] there’s some strong interest” from candidates, she added.

Advisor John Brackett -- a partner at San Francisco-based BAR Financial, one of the largest practices affiliated with one of Cetera’s four companies, Cetera Advisor Networks -- says he spoke with Grist about the move Tuesday: “He said, ‘You know, when I first met you, you sat me down and talked to me for an hour about your family. That’s what this is about.’”


Grist, a former senior managing director of strategic business development at Schwab, has played an instrumental role in building up Cetera’s platform. Earlier this month, Grist helped launch a new rebalancing tool, called Premier Portfolio Management and designed to appeal to wirehouse advisors. His other responsibilities were in brand development, marketing and product research, often focused on supporting dually registered advisors.

“He righted the ship from the standpoint of some of the things that we needed,” Brackett says. “He’ll be missed but we have a lot of great people at Cetera and there’s not going to be a beat missed.”

Grist is putting his career on hold in order to deal with a pressing issue that many Cetera clients face daily, says Brackett.

"I actually told him that I admired his willingness to accept that far greater responsibility than helping us set up an ETF platform or something,” Brackett says. “It’s pretty simple. It’s all about his family and I get it.”

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