Actions like those taken by Morgan Stanley this week leave financial advisors wondering what next and where do we go from here. Not only did Morgan Stanley exit the Protocol but the firm sent a clear and unequivocal message to its financial advisors that the client relationship while originated, closed, nurtured and maintained by the advisor is deemed firm property. Advisors no longer have the right or authority if leaving Morgan Stanley to advise their clients of their departure or ask their clients if the clients desire for the advisors to continue advising them. And then there was the pay cut for Morgan Stanley advisors serving international clients. What next? It seems pretty clear the march to salary/bonus compensation has begun. It is evident in the strategic changes being made by firms to indenture advisors to the firms, in the continued lowering of compensation plans, in the way client minimums keep getting raised for eligibility to recieve full-service firm offerings and for advisors to recieve payout, and from the push to marry aging advisors to younger less experienced professionals who ultimately will be forced into lower compensation plans in exchange for “inheriting” retiring advisor books of business.

There are so many options available to advisors. There are also a number of people attempting to offer guidance. Note the background and experience of the people proporting to be experts or offering guidance on any transition. If a self-proclaimed expert is merely a “recruiter” who has spent their career recruiting for the “wire houses” and never actually worked in the financial services business and never been in the independent space as well as the large firm environment- be wary. Career Management Advisors can help navigate the transition to independence. https://www.cma.consulting CMA has the relevant experience and expertise. Know your rights and know your options.