MarketCounsel Summit Kicks Off With Insights From Hamburger

MarketCounsel President And CEO Shares Observations On Restrictive Covenants, Layoffs, Private Investors And More As 2023 Summit Begins

Julius Buchanan, Editor in Chief, Wealth Solutions Report

MarketCounsel Summit 2023 began in traditional style with another entertaining video from the staff of MarketCounsel. This year’s video features chaos in the office and guest cameos from President and CEO Brian Hamburger’s children. Hamburger took the stage in levity, wearing a baseball cap, addressing the audience and participants before he shared key insights gathered from both MarketCounsel and the Hamburger Law Firm, for which he is Chief Counsel.

Hamburger shared that in the post-pandemic world, there’s a disparity of how firms operate compared to pre-pandemic years. “Advisors are far less obsessed over office space,” he declared, noting the shift to video calls, even in sales, for which it was normal to close in person before COVID.

On the employment front, he observed that younger generations “don’t have a concept that ‘this will be my career at this firm.’ As a result, firms have to retool to get the very best talent they can and make sure they have some continuity.” He noted that “transient work has become the norm,” which generates legal complications as persons move across jurisdictions.

“We think we are still in the early innings of [layoffs].”

Brian Hamburger

“We’re also seeing a contraction of industry service providers and associated layoffs, and from what we are tracking, we think we are still in the early innings of that. There’s a lot of movement in the industry with displaced labor,” Hamburger says.

Hamburger discussed the “natural tension between the business interests of third parties and the fiduciary standard.” When additional seats are made at the table for interests such as private equity and venture capital, he questions whether clients may lose their seat at the table, and counsels advisors to scrutinize these aspects of a transaction.

Brian Hamburger, President & CEO, MarketCounsel, and Chief Counsel, Hamburger Law Firm

Countering the “myth that restrictive covenants are not enforceable,” Hamburger says the truth is that “certain restrictive covenants aren’t enforced in certain jurisdictions.” Overall, companies are retooling these covenants with devices such as gardening leave provisions, which lock an advisor into a firm while clients are transitioned.

He points to increasing cybersecurity problems, saying, “Cybersecurity risks are advancing at a faster rate than tools we have to solve them. It’s not a tech problem first, it’s a people problem first.”

Hamburger also observed that marketing for advisors and communications with their clients continues to change under the influence of the SEC and its marketing rule.

Julius Buchanan, Editor in Chief at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at jbuchanan@wealthsolutionsreport.com.

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