It was a big year for recruiting moves. Nearly two dozen mega teams ― those managing $1 billion or more in client assets ― switched employers in 2017, according to hiring announcements.
That's double the figure for 2016, though about on par with 2015.
The moves this year represented more than $43 billion in client assets and reflect the upheaval transforming the recruiting landscape. Three of the wirehouses have cut back on hiring efforts. Meanwhile, UBS and Morgan Stanley have exited the Broker Protocol
― which spurred a raft of advisor departures. Though nearly all of the mega teams left wirehouses, almost none joined another wirehouse. Instead, they formed independent firms or joined smaller regional brokerages, which have been on a recruiting tear this year
RBC, Baird, Dynasty Financial Partners and J.P. Morgan Securities, a small boutique wealth management unit, were among the big winners.
Though these and other firms are ending the year on a strong note, 2017 did not start out promising, according to recruiters.
Uncertainty around the fiduciary rule
and the Trump administration's intentions with regard to the controversial regulation spurred many advisors to stay in a holding pattern.
"People were really understandably leery about joining a firm and not knowing what their policy on retirement accounts would be because that was kind of a work in progress," Mark Elzweig, a recruiter and On Wall Street
The breakaway advisor movement also picked up steam this year, in part because of the success past breakaways have had.
"We've seen teams that are going independent now are larger than they ever were before," says recruiter Louis Diamond. "It's partly because of the validation of other groups that have done it, the advancement of platforms and introduction of service providers in the space like Dynasty and Hightower that have enabled it to be so."
Although the Broker Protocol's future may be in doubt, advisor moves will likely continue because the reasons brokers want to switch firms haven't changed, according to industry insiders.
Scroll through to see where the industry's biggest teams went in 2017.