LPL Star Broker Ron Carson Declares Fealty to the Firm
Ron Carson, the hyperkinetic adviser whose website says he has been LPL Financial’s top producer in each of the past 25 years, denied Tuesday that he plans to defect to a rival brokerage firm.
“I don’t know where they got that,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the MarketCounsel Summit in Miami Beach. “We’re all sitting here laughing.”
According to two reports in trade journals that focus on registered investment advisers, Carson planned to bring much of Carson Wealth Management’s $2.6 billion in client assets that were housed at LPL to Cetera Financial Group.
Carson, who also operates a training business and an “alliance” of smaller RIA firms, has been affiliated with LPL as an independent broker since 1989, and subsequently also ran much of his advisory assets through the firm’s RIA platform. The Omaha, Neb.-based broker’s Carson Wealth Management has over $3 billion in advisory assets, according to regulatory filings, and he also has said that he and his network oversee about $7.4 billion in total, including brokerage assets.
He also gleans revenue from Carson Institutional Alliance, an aggregator of advisory firms, and Peak Advisor Alliance, which offers coaching to around 1,100 small firms.
Carson declined to comment further on the speculation or whether he had wrested any accommodations from LPL in the wake of the reports.
Cetera, an amalgam of independent brokerage firms assembled as part of Nicholas Schorsch’s crumbled real estate investment trust empire, has about 9,000 brokers compared to LPL’s 14,100. Three weeks ago, amid reports about Carson’s reputed plan to bolt, Cetera suffered a two-day platform outage across its network that kept brokers from viewing customer data, emails and performing other vital functions. Former LPL President Robert Moore, who became Cetera Financial’s chief executive in September, is on the board of Carson Wealth Management.
Spokespeople for Cetera and LPL did not respond to requests for comment. Moore could not be reached for comment.
Carson has danced with other partners in the past. In October, his Peak Alliance business announced a joint trading program with Fidelity Investment’s RIA custody arm.In May, Carson announced that he sold a 29% stake in his holding company, Carson Group Holdings, to investment firm Long Ridge Equity Partners for $35 million.
Carson, who began his brokerage career his dorm room cold calling farmers, began his career at independent brokerage firm Securities America in 1985.