Since April, the federal Paycheck Protection Program has made more than $500 billion in low-interest-rate, forgivable loans aimed at helping small businesses pay staff during the Covid-19 crisis. When word came out that independent advisor firms were among the borrowers, a debate within the industry ensued: With the revenue of many restaurants and other small businesses plummeting, was it right for advisors—who draft their revenue directly from clients’ bank accounts every quarter—to partake?
New York-based Ritholtz Wealth Management, with $1.3 billion of assets under management, is one of the advisory firms that took a loan, though it ultimately returned the money.
Accretive Wealth Partners, a $120-million-asset firm in Jersey City, N.J., decided not to. As the PPP loan application deadline of June 30 approaches, Barron’s Advisor asked Gary Ribe, managing partner of Accretive, and Barry Ritholtz, founder of Ritholtz Wealth, to present their arguments for and against taking the money.