LPL Lures $350 Million-Asset Team from Securities America After 25 Years at Rival
After 25 years with Securities America, veteran Chicago advisor William Blyth has shifted his affiliation to LPL Financial, anticipating better technology and discontented with the new ownership of his former broker-dealer.
Repapering accounts and acclimating to a new operations environment is difficult in the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic, but Bill Blyth said he began planning his move last fall when Ladenburg Thalmann—Securities America’s parent—announced its sale to private equity-controlled Advisor Group.
“In this industry, companies are being bought and sold like poker chips and that’s not always a good deal for the clients and the employees that work there,” said Blyth. “Private equity’s goal, by definition, is to take care of their investors, and their investors are not my clients and my employees.”
Spokespeople for Advisor Group, which is controlled by Reverence Capital Partners, said they could not immediately comment.
Blyth, 68, said he investigated at least six other broker-dealers before zeroing in on LPL, the biggest independent firm with some 16,500 advisors overseeing $500 billion in client assets.
“As a publicly traded company, there is great transparency into the firm’s business performance” he said in a prepared statement that also emphasized the importance of its financial strength “in this environment, especially with the recent market volatility.”
Blyth said that despite his age he was not contemplating retirement. His Blyth & Associates team includes advisors Carla Nitz and Christopher Fudacz, as well as three support staffers, a cousin who is operations manager, and his son who is an account manager.
The coronavirus crisis and the accompanying shelter-at-home, social distancing culture it has spawned has frozen most financial advisor recruiting, although independent brokers who operate from their own quarters are less affected.
“It’s a lot easier for independents because you don’t have 50 people in your branch trying to hold onto your accounts when you leave,” said Mark Elzweig, a New York-based recruiter. “And the client doesn’t know or care who the broker-dealer is.”
Blyth acknowledged that contacting clients has become a “virtual” exercise as they and most of his team have been home-bound since he moved on March 27, but also credited LPL’s transition team and “efficient technology” with speeding up processing of asset transfer forms.
LPL last week took another implicit shot at Advisor Group in announcing that a $375 million-asset team in Birmingham, Ala., led by advisors James Nix and Michael Mashburn, Sr., had chosen it as their new broker-dealer. They had been with Triad Advisors since founding their practice in 2006, transitioning to Ladenburg when it bought Triad in 2008.
“We were previously at a firm that was sold twice during our tenure,” Nix said in a prepared statement. “As a publicly traded firm, LPL Financial will provide our business and our clients with long-term stability in this ever-changing world.”
Advisor Group, for its part, said on March 31 that it hired LPL executive Gregory Cornick in a new role as its president of advice and wealth management. Cornick has worked as treasurer and head of corporate development and advisor financial solutions at LPL.