Publications

- July 1, 2017: Vol. 4, Number 7

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Captaining His Own Ship: After his first employer’s culture ran aground, Marty Bicknell took the helm of Mariner Wealth Advisors and now it is full steam ahead

by Mike Consol and Benjamin Cole

In some regards, Marty Bicknell became the founder and chief executive of Kansas City–based Mariner Wealth Advisors due to a now obscure change to federal securities law in 1975, the so-called May Day deregulation of stockbroker commissions.

From that date and change, major U.S. securities firms would largely migrate from a stockbroker-and-client-centric industry to an investment-banker or
corporate-finance focus. The eventual emergence of Charles Schwab and other “discount brokerages,” and ever-cheaper online trading platforms such as E*Trade, knifed and then buried the old stockbroker model.

After May Day 1975, the securities industry necessarily moved away from the dwindling profits made by trading stocks on commission for retail and institutional clients, to the more lucrative business of selling investment products on commission or underwriting.

The old-line St. Louis–based A.G. Edwards securities firm, with its emphasis on clients and storied

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