The Covid-19 pandemic frayed the social and economic bonds that the world takes for granted, shone a light on vast inequality, revealed who had the resources to carry economic burdens and who were the most vulnerable to depredation.
And that’s just the independent broker-dealers (IBDs).
Here, as in many areas, the virus exacerbated trends already in place—it gave a boost to big firms already armed with resources, that were diversified enough to shelter precarious income streams, and that had the capital wall to withstand the onslaught of competition (and protect debt service). The pandemic also hastened the tech arms race among IBDs, since the hearts and minds of clients and rep recruits were now being won through the internet, not in hotel lobbies. Just as teachers had to do their jobs through Zoom, so did broker-dealer reps, not only to talk to clients but to talk with prospective B-Ds they wanted to affiliate with like LPL, Commonwealth and Raymond James.