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LPL's New Marketing Strategy: Naming Names

LPL Financial is naming names.

Historically mum on the specific details of its recruiting efforts, the country's largest independent broker-dealer has begun publishing names of new advisor recruits for the first time.

"It's for those individuals who are thinking of LPL as a broker-dealer," says Steve Pirigyi, LPL's executive vice president of business development. "They can get a handle on the type of advisors who have made LPL their broker-dealer."

LPL hopes that advisors from wirehouses, banks and elsewhere who are still unsure about making a move will recognize the names of friends and peers they respect on the list, he says.


In the spring, LPL published its first list of new advisor recruits in the first quarter. The second-quarter list appeared this week, and included nearly 100 names. Close to 14,000 advisors nationwide affiliate with LPL.

"I actually think it is a smart tactic," says executive recruiter Mindy Diamond. "If an advisor is on the fence about joining LPL and sees the name of someone he respects having joined before him, he definitely will get a sense of surety that he may not otherwise get. And, even if the advisor doesn’t personally know any of the people on that list, seeing advisors of size make the move can also be quite comforting."

Neither of the two first lists is comprehensive, Pirigyi points out. The BD still chooses to keep the total number of its quarterly advisor recruits private.

In other words, advisors who make the list are the ones LPL wants to brag about.

"It's a select list of individuals," Pirigyi says.

The list released this week includes the names of 23 advisors who manage $100 million or more in client assets, such as the advisors at Marzano Capital Group in Clemmons, N.C. Another 41 advisors manage $50 million to $100 million and 32 manage $30 million to $49 million.

Advisors on the list hail from wirehouses, banks and firms such as Fidelity, Schwab and TIAA-CREF. Others came from other IBDs, like Cambridge Investment Research or Cetera Investment Services.

Perhaps inadvertently, the lists spotlight LPL’s continued focus on smaller advisors. In Diamond’s opinion, this could undermine the broker-dealer’s efforts to further expand its high net worth business.


"No matter how much [LPL executives] say they are beefing up their HNW practice, their core advisors are still in the $30 million to $70 million space," Diamond notes, "and so the bulk of support and infrastructure the firm will devote will be to its core constituency. And, if an advisor with $200 million [in AUM] is thinking about LPL, and he sees a long list of $50 million advisors who made the leap, it may definitely make him rethink his decision. The bigger the advisor and the more enterprise building he is doing, the less he wants to be associated with a firm that mostly serves a much lower level constituency."

Pirigyi disagrees.

"We welcome any size business to LPL," he says. "While we are increasingly attracting more HNW clients with more robust offerings to serve that client type, it doesn't diminish that we do appeal to the Main Street advisor."

Diamond’s viewpoint is quite different:

"I know of many larger producers," she says, "who joined LPL, enticed by the HNW platform they touted and the transition money offered, who are very unhappy."

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