Summit Brokerage last week announced their decision to shutter broker-dealer operations and roll-up as a Region into Cetera Financial Group’s Cetera Advisor Networks. This strategic play is not a new one, as Summit becomes the latest in a series of Cetera-owned, broker-dealers to move into the Cetera Advisor Nertworks fold. Among them are Girard Securities, VSR, J.P. Turner, and Investors Capital. Summit; however, is differentiated from others in the pack as they will be the largest Region within the Cetera Advisor Netowrk family.
The timeliness and soundness of this decision on the part of Summit is irrefutable, particularly from organizational, business operations, and financial standpoints. First and foremost, Summit Brokerage is a firm built on the leadership of company president Marshall Leeds and his commitment to attracting the best talent while simultaneously building a superior firm culture. By joining Cetera Advisor Network, these same organizational advantages, which Summit has leveraged so well, will not change. The move results in a seamless transition of both firm leadership and Leeds in the continued role of firm President. Likewise, the Summit Boca Raton, FL, location will continue to operate as the firm’s corporate headquarters.
In terms of business operations, Summit’s move to Cetera Advisor Networks sets the firm up for greater success and competitive differentiation. As part of Cetera Advisor Networks, Summit will have a wider breadth of resources available. Fully integrated technology will allow advisor-client relationships to function at the highest levels for which Summit is known for. Further, the ability of Summit to attract the best and the brightest advisors in financial services will be amplified. A big part of Summit’s success is attributable to the hard working and exceptional talent that have gravitated to the firm. By joining Cetera Advisor Networks, Summit will have the ability to flex even more muscle in this arena as their ability to offer even more enticing recruiting deals and packages to the best of the best is certain to increase.
Financially speaking, moving Summit to Cetera Advisor Networks proves a valuable operational decision in that the regulatory roadblocks previously encountered as a broker-dealer will be all but removed. The benefits of this are two-fold to Summit. Both the internal and external regulatory oversight, and the time and financial commitment they entail, are essentially eliminated. Further, regulatory exposure and financial risk will be nullified, which has the potential to realize a hefty dose of relief to the firm’s future bottom-line. By way of example, Summit just this week was exposed to $880,000 in fines and restitution due to the actions of one of the firm’s advisors. Under the new umbrella of Cetera Advisor Networks, operating as a Regioin, the same restrictions, rules, and liabilities to Summit would no longer apply.
Summit President, Marshall Leeds, has been a pioneer in the small group of respected financial services leaders and is also recognized by peers as one of the brightest minds in wealth management. His vision for Summit was – and always will be – that advisors and clients are the firm’s highest priority. With this move to Cetera Advisors Network, Leeds faces the opportunity to build upon his legacy and open the pathway to even greater prospects for Summit and its advisors in the future.