Cetera/Summit Veterans with $240 Mln-Book Join Ameriprise
(Updated with comment from a Cetera spokeswoman.)
A father-son team who had spent most of their two- and three-decade brokerage careers at independent firms associated with Summit Brokerage founder Marshall Leeds changed their affiliation to Ameriprise Financial’s independent channel on Friday.
He declined to provide many details on the decision, but said they would announce the move to listeners of their daily “Focus On Your Investments” radio show Monday morning.
Summit’s evolution from an autonomous broker-dealer within Cetera Financial Group to become an office of supervisory jurisdiction in July for its Cetera Advisor Networks unit “played into” the decision, he said.
Boca Raton-based Summit continues to operate under its brand name and the leadership of Leeds, its founder, as a “region” of Cetera Advisor Networks. When the change was announced, Leeds said Summit advisors would receive some transition assistance that would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
He touted the change as an opportunity to shed the operating and regulatory burdens of running a broker-dealer in order to focus on recruiting and “enhancing” the experience of its existing force of about 450 brokers.
In November, Summit recruited a longtime team of LPL Financial brokers in North Carolina who were producing about $2.6 million. Gib McEachran, one of the seven-person team’s two partners, said they were convinced they would receive more support and practice acquisition opportunities at the smaller firm.
Leeds did not return a request for comment on the Robbins’ departure, and a person answering his phone referred calls to Cetera.
“We wish Michael and Norm all the best,” Cetera Financial Group spokeswoman Adriana Senior said in an e-mail confirming their departure.
Norman Robbins, who began his career with RLR Securities in 1981, had worked with Leeds almost continuously since 1990 at Summit and predecessor firms JW Charles Securities and JWGenesis Securities. His son began his brokerage career at JW Charles in 1992, traveling in tandem with his father to its successor firms, according to their BrokerCheck records. (They took a two-year bypass in 2001 and 2002 to Wachovia Securities.)
Michael has no record of customer or other complaints, while Norman has five marks from July 2001 and earlier.
Summit, which was the smallest broker-dealer within Cetera Financial Group prior to being folded into Cetera Advisor Networks, generated $152.8 million of revenue in 2018, down 6% from the previous year, according to regulatory reports.
The Cetera broker-dealer network, which is controlled by private equity firm Genstar Capital, now includes five firms. In order of customer-asset size, they are Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Investment Services (marketed as Cetera Financial Institutions), First Allied Securities and Cetera Financial Specialists.
Summit in July paid $880,000 in fines and restitution to settle Finra allegations of having inadequate procedures for identifying excessive trading, failing to respond to trading alerts from its clearing firm and customer reporting violations. In August, it consented to a $40,000 fine from Finra over allegations that it failed to review brokers’ correspondence by snail mail with clients.