“I wish the markets were better,” says Tim Murphy, echoing pretty much everyone when asked how the New Year is shaping up.
In an interview on Tuesday with AdvisorOne at FSI’s OneVoice conference in Orlando, the president and CEO of Investors Capital Corp. is nonetheless optimistic about 2012. It’s especially true, Murphy (left) says, after a dismal 2011 that he says started strong before “falling off” after the first quarter due to the U.S. government debt downgrade by Standard & Poor’s and ongoing volatility in the euro zone.
“Historically, volatility leads to more trading activity, but we didn’t see it this last time around; there wasn’t a correlation,” he explains, before adding that the Massachusetts-based broker-dealer repositioned its annual conference in the calendar year, moving it up to February in order to proactively help its reps with potential issues that might arise later in 2012.
“We’re very much focused on helping our reps grow their businesses organically,” he says, noting that recruiting has always been a heavy focus, but that focus has now shifted to more of a balance between internal and external growth opportunities.
As for offering products that might take advantage of volatility, it’s not something in which the firm is interested, especially in the wake of other “hot, new products” that performed poorly and now have certain broker-dealers involved in lawsuits.
“We don’t go for untested products; we don’t ever want to be on the proverbial bleeding edge,” he flatly states. “Smaller firms, however, can absolutely survive [without having to engage with those sorts of products]. There will always be reps that want to partner with smaller firms and always be reps that want to partner with medium and large firms. We are a mid-size firm with 500 advisors that is truly independent and service-oriented.”
Murphy, who accepted Investment Advisor’s 2011 Broker-Dealer of the Year honor last September on behalf of ICC, is currently a member of FSI’s board. The firm does not subsidize fees in the organization on behalf of its reps, as do other member firms, but every ICC rep has to be a member of FSI as a condition of their affiliation with the BD.
“When presented with all the information on what FSI and what is does, they fully understand and see it as worthwhile,” he adds.
Concluding with the current political and regulatory environment and as to whether or not he his defensively positioning the firm in anticipation of more rules and the potential outcome of an uncertain general election, Murphy says it’s impossible to do at the firm level, which is why organizations like FSI are gaining in popularity.
Read more AdvisorOne articles on FSI OneVoice 2012 at our OneVoice home page.
Follow editor Jamie Green's tweets from the FSI OneVoice 2012 conference.