Tags: stock | brokers | leaving

Stock Brokers Flee Wall Street in Droves

By Dan Weil   |   Thursday, 07 May 2009 09:17 AM

This is not a good time to be a stockbroker.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in April alone more than 2,800 registered brokers exited the profession, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra).

So far this year 11,600 brokers have moved on. In the 15 years of data provided by Finra, the previous high for an entire year was 11,500 brokers in 2002.

T.C. Nelson is one of the industry’s victims. The 38-year-old left his position as a financial advisor and client-relations specialist at Bank of America last May, when the flow of new customers dried up.

"It was tough to make money," Nelson tells The Journal. "As soon as real estate started to pull back, you were kind of spinning your wheels." He now trades securities for himself.

As in most professions, stockbrokers at the top aren’t suffering.

For instance, last month Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch division hired 29 new brokers. They were responsible for $42 million of revenue in their previous jobs, knowledgeable sources tell The Journal.

UBS has announced that it is dumping 600 brokers who produce low fees, but last month it added about 20 brokers who each came with about $1 million of revenue per year.

For those who remain brokers, the sledding may get rougher. A group of financial planning organizations has urged the creation of a national oversight board to set standards and enforce fiduciary duty for financial planners.

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