Advisor Group Inc., a massive network of more than 10,000 financial advisers, is shaking up its recruiting effort, and last week said it had hired Kristen Kimmell from RBC Wealth Management to head its recruiting of financial advisers across its six broker-dealers.
Gone is Gregg Johnson, the former recruiting chief with the title of executive vice president of recruiting and revenue acquisition at Advisor Group. Johnson was shown the door last week, according to multiple industry sources, after having worked at Securities America Inc., one of the largest Advisor Group broker-dealers, since 2006.
Over the past several years, RBC has been one of the most successful recruiters of wirehouse brokers and advisers and has been willing to pay higher recruiting bonuses to advisers in a time when wirehouses were more interested in reducing expenses.
The timing of Johnson’s departure was odd, the industry sources noted. Advisor Group promoted him in March 2020 from head of recruiting at Securities America to a more senior role across the brokerage network, an apparent nod of approval.
That promotion occurred around the same time that Advisor Group completed its acquisition of the Ladenburg Thalmann network of broker-dealers.
Kimmell’s title at Advisor Group is executive vice president and head of business development. Johnson did not return a call on Monday morning to comment.
Kimmell is wading into a different territory with a job at Advisor Group. Financial advisers are independent contractors who expect a certain level of autonomy, while RBC’s advisers are full-time employees with heavy expectations of the firm for marketing and staff.
“Gregg Johnson and Advisor Group are parting ways amicably,” Greg Cornick, president of advice & wealth management, wrote in an email. “We truly appreciate Gregg’s contributions and wish him well in his next steps.”
“We’ve decided to take a different approach in fundamentally transforming our recruiting strategy and process with the addition of Kristen Kimmell to our leadership team,” Cornick wrote.
He added that Kimmell would use technology and “digital tools” to make the recruiting process into a smoother experience.
Meanwhile, Securities America has seen the recent departure of two other senior executives. Greg Smith, senior vice president, compliance supervision, left the firm in June. And Janine Wertheim, who has been with the firm since 1984 and held multiple management roles, will retire at the end of this month.
Securities America Advisers, the RIA arm of the broker-dealer, last month was fined $1.75 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday for allegedly failing to safeguard clients from a rogue broker who pleaded guilty in 2018 to stealing $8 million from clients.
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.