Yield of Dreams

Cetera’s Rebranding: A Savvy Move?

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Cetera Financial Group, the private equity-owned network of independent broker/dealers, announced today that it is rebranding its four broker/dealers to include the “Cetera” name. Industry analysts believe it’s a smart move for the company.

The changes include:

  • Financial Network Investment Corporation, the 2,100-rep IBD known for its regional director network that support its advisors, will be renamed Cetera Advisor Networks.
  • Multi-Financial Securities Corporation, the 1,100-rep IBD that serves entrepreneurial advisors, will be rebranded as Cetera Advisors.
  • PrimeVest Financial Services, a self-clearing firm that focuses solely on community banks and credit unions, will now be known as Cetera Financial Institutions.
  • Genworth Financial Investment Services, which was acquired by Cetera in April and specializes in tax and accounting professionals, will be renamed Cetera Financial Specialists.

These names have been around for a long time. PrimeVest was founded in 1984, Multi-Financial in 1981, and Financial Network in 1983. In 2009, ING sold these three broker/dealers to Lightyear Capital, which branded the network “Cetera.” Donald Marron, chairman of Lightyear, was one of REP.’s Ten to Watch for 2013. With its acquisition of Genworth, the network now includes 6,500 advisors.

Scott Smith, senior analyst with Cerulli Associates, was not surprised by the rebranding. “I think they have all seen (or been part of) the success of Linsco/Private Ledger becoming  LPL
and are using many of the same strategies that succeed there and adding some of their own as well,” he said.

Chip Roame, managing principal of Tiburon Strategic Advisors, also said it was a savvy move because:

  • "It allows them to benefit from the scale that they do have.
  • It allows them to be more clearly positioned as one 6,500-rep firm in industry rankings. It’s more akin to LPL's and Raymond James' positionings (less akin to  AIG's).
  • It simplifies positioning with end clients, who need to understand the role of both the independent advisor and the IBD firm already.
  • It separates the varying positionings of the firms while also retaining the common brand. It sends a signal that those separate positionings will be maintained.
  • It was further needed by the acquisition of the Genworth business (obviously they could not keep the Genworth brand).
  • It again signals the potential of more likely acquisitions by Cetera."

A Cetera spokeswoman said the Genworth acquisition created the right opportunity for the change.

The firm will stagger the name changes starting in the fourth quarter of 2012 through early 2013.

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