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50 moves, $82B in assets: The year in IBD recruiting

A busy year in recruiting reveals one of the biggest challenges in the independent broker-dealer space: As RIAs and acquisitions drive the largest moves of advisors and assets, how can the sector support both independence and ties to BDs at the same time?

Recruiters in the IBD sector are increasingly consumed by the question of how to keep large hybrid RIAs, even though their outside advisory assets cut into revenue. Another important factor they grapple with: The need to retain as many productive teams as possible following an acquisition.

Together, the 50 biggest moves in 2018 span thousands of advisors and more than $82.5 billion in client brokerage and advisory assets under management.

Two of the sector's largest firms embody the two trends and firms’ responses to the issues. LPL Financial and Advisor Group grabbed the largest number of teams or offices of supervisory jurisdiction, with a combined 32 of the top 50 moves in 2018.

Five hybrid RIA practices who left LPL after the company unveiled new corporate RIA requirements for incoming advisors this year also made the list. In fact, the upcoming exit in April by Bill Hamm’s Independent Financial Partners appears likely to be the largest move of 2019.

LPL later scaled back the RIA policy, with CEO Dan Arnold calling the decision a “no-brainer” in light of its impact on the hybrid platform. Since other prominent firms also lost big hybrid RIAs in 2018, it's clear that they're still trying to figure out the best approach to the large enterprises.

In a sign of the threat from the RIA channel, eight moves involved so-called friendly BDs who only service the portion of the OSJ and practice assets on the brokerage side. Platform providers and RIA consolidators are allowing wirehouse breakaways to bypass traditional IBDs.

The eight moves to friendly, hybrid-serving BDs like Mutual Securities, Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments and Private Client Services plus two new fully independent RIAs add up to $18.5 billion in client assets held away from larger, established firms.

One such powerful incumbent, Advisor Group, rendered the issue partly moot by boosting scale with three acquisition deals. The M&A activity could grow the 5,000-advisor network by some 2,500 more representatives early next year, upon its completion of the Questar Capital agreement.

Former Signator Investors OSJs made the list in droves by joining the Advisor Group’s largest subsidiary IBD, Royal Alliance Associates, after it purchased Signator from John Hancock and Manulife. However, the network will need to demonstrate value to retain them.

The Signator deal led to 22 of the largest moves of 2018, spanning $45.3 billion in client assets among Royal Alliance’s incoming crop of 1,860 ex-Signator advisors. Similarly, LPL’s acquisition of the assets of National Planning Holdings showed up frequently on last year’s list.

Seven other ex-NPH teams made this year’s edition, with LPL retaining six bank-based practices from Invest Financial and a mid-size firm, Independent Financial Group, taking the other. LPL made 10 of the largest grabs, adding advisors with $11.8 billion in total client assets.

However, this list would look much different without including teams joining new firms after an acquisition or those using friendly BDs for the brokerage sliver of their assets. Note, some IBDs also don’t announce their largest recruiting moves.

The list only includes teams that changed BD affiliations in this calendar year, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Scroll through to o see the biggest moves in the ever-changing IBD sector for 2018.

Beltz Ianni & Associates
Location: Rochester, New York
Left: Cadaret, Grant
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $500 million
William Verhagen Commonwealth
Innovative Financial Solutions
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, and Palm Coast, Florida
Left: MML Investors Services (MassMutual)
Joined: Commonwealth Financial Network
Total client assets: $500 million
Stofan, Agazzi Investments
Location: Joliet, Illinois
Left: Wintrust Investments
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $509 million
Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Location: Bethpage, New York
Left: Invest Financial
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $516 million
Rockgate Financial Partners
Location: Oklahoma City/Dallas
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $547 million
Raymond James' independent division 5 advisors Georgia - July 31 2018
Broadway Financial Group
Location: Roswell, Georgia
Left: Wells Fargo Advisors
Joined: Raymond James Financial Services
Total client assets: $550 million
Revenue at Royal Alliance and Signator Investors
GFA Financial Group
Location: Tampa, Florida
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $564 million
LPL head count Q3 2018
Members 1st Federal Credit Union
Location: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Left: Invest Financial
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $571 million
Zahorik Financial
Location: Swisher, Iowa
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $600 million
The Price Group
Location: Houston
Left: RBC
Joined: Steward Partners (Raymond James)
Total client assets: $600 million
fee-based AUM
Canopy Wealth Management
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin/Southfield, Michigan
Left: Northwestern Mutual
Joined: none; independent RIA
Total client assets: $600 million
Paradigm Financial Partners
Paradigm Financial Partners
Location: Westport, Connecticut
Left: Kestra Financial
Joined: BD affiliation with Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments
Total client assets: $600 million
David O’Donnell, Patriot Financial Group
Patriot Financial Group
Location: Westborough, Massachusetts
Left: LPL Financial
Joined: Securities America (Ladenburg Thalmann)
Total client assets: $650 million
Bala Financial Group
Location: Devon, Pennsylvania/Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $655 million
Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
Left: Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network
Joined: none; independent RIA
Total client assets: $675 million
IAG.TOS.Top5IBDs.792018.png
Integrated Equity Management
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Left: Securian Financial Services
Joined: Commonwealth Financial Network
Total client assets: $700 million
Ladenburg Thalmann IBD Network
Pinnacle Private Wealth
Location: Woburn, Massachusetts
Left: LPL Financial
Joined: Triad Advisors (Ladenburg Thalmann)
Total client assets: $750 million
LPL recruited assets Q3 2018
Logix Federal Credit Union
Location: Burbank, California
Left: Invest Financial
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $760 million
Capitol Financial Solutions
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $767 million
Pasadena Private Wealth
Location: Pasadena, California
Left: Merrill Lynch
Joined: Focus Financial Partners; BD affiliation with Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments
Total client assets: $800 million
Mark Cortazzo pole vaulting
Macro Consulting Group
Location: Parsippany, New Jersey
Left: LPL Financial
Joined: BD affiliation with Mutual Securities
Total client assets: $800 million
Seattle First Asset Management
Location: Seattle
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $800 million
Capital Resources and Insurance
Location: Huntington Beach, California
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $829 million
Stonebridge Financial Group, Triad Advisors
Stonebridge Financial Group
Location: Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania
Left: Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network
Joined: Triad Advisors (Ladenburg Thalmann)
Total client assets: $850 million
Scarborough Capital Management
Scarborough Capital Management
Location: Annapolis, Maryland
Left: SII Investments (after LPL deal)
Joined: Independent Financial Group
Total client assets: $875 million
Independence Financial Partners
Location: Warwick, Rhode Island/Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $948 million
Michael Henley Dynasty Merrill Lynch IAG
Wyeth Private Wealth
Location: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
Left: Merrill Lynch
Joined: Dynasty Financial Partners RIA platform; BD affiliation with Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments
Total client assets: $1 billion
: A former Merrill Lynch team left the firm to found an independent practice, Sound View Wealth Advisors. From left to right: Lydia Moore, Eddie Ambrose, Emerson Ham III, Kelly Bouchillon and Melissa Bouchillon.
Sound View Wealth Advisors
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Left: Merrill Lynch
Joined: Focus Financial Partners; BD affiliation with Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments
Total client assets: $1 billion
Financial Achievement Services
Location: Greenville, Ohio
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $1.03 billion
Lighthouse Financial Network
Location: Melville, New York
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $1.05 billion
Fragasso Financial Advisors
Fragasso Financial Advisors
Location: Pittsburgh
Left: LPL Financial
Joined: BD affiliation with Private Client Services
Total client assets: $1.3 billion
Marketshare Financial
Location: Carmel, Indiana
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates
Total client assets: $1.4 billion
Johnson Wealth
Location: Racine, Wisconsin
Left: Invest Financial
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $1.4 billion
Acorn Financial Services
Location: Livingston, New Jersey
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $1.7 billion
RFG Advisory
RFG Advisory
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Left: LPL Financial
Joined: BD affiliation with Private Client Services
Total client assets: $1.7 billion
Signature Financial Solutions
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $1.7 billion
Community Investment Services
Location: Canton, New York
Left: Invest Financial
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $1.85 billion
Centinel Financial Group
Location: Needham Heights, Massachusetts
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $1.9 billion
Central Trust Bank
Location: Jefferson City, Missouri
Left: Invest Financial
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $2.2 billion
Cambridge 2017 revenue
Jordan Creek Financial Solutions
Location: West Des Moines, Iowa
Left: Broker Dealer Financial Services
Joined: Cambridge Investment Research
Total client assets: $2.2 billion
Michigan Financial Companies
Location: Southfield, Michigan
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $2.4 billion
Pacific Financial Partners
Location: Lafayette, California
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $2.5 billion
Signature Financial Group
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $2.6 billion
Collective Financial Group
Location: Rochester, Minnesota
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $2.6 billion
Boston Partners
Location: Andover, Massachusetts
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $2.7 billion
Exemplar Financial Network
Location: Crystal Lake, Illinois
Left: Cetera Advisor Networks
Joined: LPL Financial
Total client assets: $2.7 billion
VantagePointe Financial Group
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $2.9 billion
Keystone Financial Management
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $3.1 billion
Edgewood Financial Network & Innovative Financial Group
Location: Gold River, California/Nashville, Tennessee
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $3.6 billion
Signature Estate & Investment Advisors
Location: Los Angeles
Left: Signator Investors
Joined: Royal Alliance Associates (Advisor Group)
Total client assets: $9 billion
Glenn Spencer, Prime Capital
Prime Capital Investment Advisors
Location: Overland Park, Kansas
Left: Cambridge Investment Research
Joined: BD affiliation with Private Client Services
Total client assets: $10 billion