The breakaway broker trend is still full steam ahead according to TD's head of RIA biz Tom Nally (full disclosure, TD Ameritrade Institutional is my firm's primary custodian for client accounts.)
From Investment News:
The firm attracted a record 120 breakaway brokers to the RIA model and the custodian platform last quarter. That's almost 50% more than the same period in 2011. For fiscal 2012 — TD's year-end is in September — the company has signed up 324 breakaway brokers, a 23% gain over last year's first three quarters.
“The RIA is now the aspirational model for brokers,” said Mr. Nally, who was previously TD's managing director of institutional sales. “We don't see the trend slowing down. We have more brokers actively engaging us all the time.”
One major driver of the movement is the beating big Wall Street houses took in the financial crisis, according to Mr. Nally. “People are just not as enamored with the old brands as they used to be,” he said.
I myself broke away in 2010 and dropped my series 7 finally last year. The markets are tough but I can't remember ever feeling this good about how I'm able to manage client accounts now.