A Florida-based wealth management firm is once again in the headlines over its hiring of brokers with “checkered” pasts. According to a recent Business Insider article, International Assets Advisory (IAA), which oversees approximately $2.5B in customer funds, “proudly hires” brokers that other investment firms wouldn’t even consider, including some with previous offenses on their record.
According to IAA president Ed Cofranceso, the firm’s hiring strategy lets him access a bigger talent pool while allowing some of those whom he employs to get a “second chance.” Cofranceso called his approach “American” and “Christian” and noted the adage about how every story has two sides. For example, the Business Insider article notes, one of the brokers that IAA hired had been fined and fired because his previous firm made him sell “bad products” to investors.
One headhunter interviewed for the news article notes that while the majority of employers will instantly nix any prospective applicants who respond “yes” to even one of nearly six dozen questions on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) U4 registration form, IAA won’t disqualify these individuals right off the bat. Questions asked include whether applicants have been charged for misdemeanors or felonies and if they’ve ever had any “run-ins” with regulators. According to IAA General Counsel Myra Nicholson, candidates with such disclosures whom IAA eventually hires usually have to go through an “on-the-job” audit and may also be subject to more monitoring and certain restrictions.