Cetera Scores $2.6-Million LPL Team in North Carolina
After 14 years at LPL Financial, A. Gib McEachran and John Hardy Jr. have taken the hard step of changing their broker-dealer affiliations in the hopes that they will get more attention with a smaller firm.
“Organic growth can only take you so far,” said McEachran, a Memphis-born newspaper editor’s son who began his brokerage career as an insurance salesman more than 30 years ago and now abjures even annuity sales in his mostly fee-based practice that services almost 1,200 accounts.
Summit, which dropped its broker-dealer status in July to become an office of supervisory jurisdiction within the Cetera Advisor Networks unit of Cetera Financial, referred a pair of advisors who might want to sell their practices to McEachran, 58, and Hardy, 62, in their first week under Cetera’s umbrella.
“That’s two more leads than we’ve got in the last 15 years,” said McEachran, “and we’ve already met with internal recruiters from Cetera and from Summit. “The problem with LPL is that there are 20,000 advisors there. It’s good to be noticed.”
Summit works with about 450 advisers and its new broker-dealer parent with about 3,500.
Spokespeople at LPL did not respond to requests for comments.
In addition to their asset growth-through-acquisition goals, McEachran and Hardy hope to add younger and female brokers to their two offices in Greensboro and Clemmons, NC, as they look for successors, using both Summit and parent company recruiters, who can prospect to a demographic wider than the listeners to the weekly “Money Matters” radio show they host. (“Don’t let their humor and laid-back south approach fool you,” its website says.)
In the near term, they are promoting Liz Sanders, their portfolio and planning assistant for the past three years, to be a full-time advisor in January.
The senior advisor began their due diligence about two-and-a-half years ago, and found several broker-dealers and registered investment adviser firms with technology, servicing and transition assistance deals and fee schedules that were comparable, McEachran said. But he singled out Summit founder Marshall Leeds, who remains president of Cetera’s Summit “region,” as a persuasive salesman for the compliance and growth support that the team sought.
McEachran and Hardy began their brokerage careers at Equitable Life Assurance in 1986 and 1983, respectively, but did not cross paths until 1994 when the former was managing the Greensboro branch of a unit of Principal Financial Group. They affiliated with LPL in May 2005.
“We made the decision to get out of insurance and just do investment,” McEachearn said, but their common training and adoption of a cold-caller’s work ethic has proven to be an indelible bond in their partnership. “This is an alpha-driven business, and you don’t see many partners lasting 20 years,” he said.