BNY Mellon Pershing CEO Jim Crowley has been with the clear- ing and custodial firm since 1985,
but he’s been in his new role for just two
months — after taking the baton from
Lisa Dolly, now chairperson of Pershing
Group LLC. The executive recently took
the time to share his insights on the
industry and what lies ahead.
What’s your view of the wealth-
management business today?
Looking at the landscape, it is quite dynam-
ic and changing pretty dramatically —
whether it’s a transaction, with two similar
firms coming together to create more scale
or one firm joining another to enter a new
marketplace geography or business model.
There’s also the convergence of these
business models. In much deeper ways
than before, firms are really thinking
about how they serve the advisors in
their network and are shifting from a grid
mentality to a fee-for-service approach
to support their advisors — much like a
custodian rather than a broker-dealer.
We believe the advisory movement
is working across both the FINRA- and
SEC-regulated regimes. We’re agnostic
to whether the advisor sits in a corporate
RIA affiliated with a broker-dealer or
with a standalone, independent RIA firm.
We’re starting to hear firms refer to
themselves not as broker-dealers but as
financial-services firms or financial-planning firms. In fact, we see more and more
firms becoming plan-led as opposed to
investment-led in an effort to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and
combat price or margin compression.
How do you view your clients within this
We have approximately 1,300 clients
that we serve globally. Clients fall into
three broad categories. We serve about
750 RIAs and roughly the same number
of broker-dealer firms in our custody
and clearing business — [some of which
are dually registered]. With the clearing
business, there’s another group of about
100 clients that are either prime brokers
or ‘ 40 [Investment Company] Act fund
managers [registered with the SEC].
The brokerage model is still a significant
business here at Pershing and in the industry. With Reg BI [or the SEC’s Regulation
Best Interest], these two businesses — the
advisory business and the brokerage business — are starting to look more alike. The
best interests of the client are being served
better, and that’s what’s really important.
As a clearing and custodial firm, we
have a very disciplined approach to the
types of clients that we want to serve and
support. For instance, if you’re looking
at our custody business compared to any
of our competitors, our average custodial
advisory relationship is much, much larger.
When Advisor Solutions CEO Mark
Tibergien speaks to the idea that we’re
serving growth-minded, professionally
managed advisory practices that serve
clients with complex financial needs, you
can see that in what our average advisory
firm has as AUM relative to the average
assets of clients with other custodial firms.
The same is true in the broker-dealer
business, where we are being sought out
by larger, more complex broker-dealer
firms looking to partner with a clearing
firm/custodian with a broad range of
capabilities to serve the types of advisors and clients they have through more
By Janet Levaux
What’s Up in Wealth Management?
The new chief executive of Pershing highlights the latest trends and his priorities.