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$415M Wells Fargo team bolts for LPL amid Broker Protocol uncertainty

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While LPL Financial is bidding a longtime recruiting executive goodbye, the No. 1 independent broker-dealer hasn’t stopped adding major practices to its ranks.

Mark Rose, Robert Krivit and Gabriel Gallante of Rockline Wealth Management left Wells Fargo Advisors for LPL, the firm said on June 28. The Plainview, New York-based team, which has about $415 million in client assets, joined LPL’s corporate RIA after three and a half years together at Wells Fargo.

The practice’s move preceded the announcement by LPL earlier this week that Bill Morrissey, president of the firm’s business development division, will retire in mid-August. LPL tapped Richard Steinmeier, chief digital officer of UBS Wealth Management USA, to replace Morrissey.

LPL expanded to more than 16,000 advisors, a larger headcount than any of the wirehouses, during Morrissey’s tenure. Now, the firm is testing bigger recruiting offers after it retained about 100 fewer advisors than expected in its acquisition of the assets of National Planning Holdings.

While Raymond James and Stifel are on hiring sprees, Wells Fargo is still losing talent.
June 26

The firm’s latest recruits had joined before LPL rolled out the new offers, according to Gallante, who describes the move as a “fairly quick ordeal” over a couple of months. The potential breakdown of the Broker Protocol loomed large in the decision to leave Wells Fargo, he says.

“The chatter about the Protocol and the issues it had brought to other advisors really jittered us. It caused us to look around and really study the landscape,” says Gallante.

LPL’s higher recruiting offers “wouldn’t have swayed our decision,” he adds. “If we were looking for a check, we would have gone to a wirehouse. We were looking for freedom and flexibility.”

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo declined to comment on the practice’s departure. The firm has lost at least 80 advisors with more than $12 billion in client assets in the first half of the year, following the bank’s fake account scandal and the possible restructuring of its wealth management unit.

The Rockline Wealth Management team brought more than 80 years of combined experience to LPL when it officially made the move on April 20, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Gallante, who spent four years with Wells Fargo, and Rose, who had been there for 14, serve as managing partners.

Krivit, who also stayed 14 years with Wells Fargo, is the practice’s head of trading. Rose and Krivit also worked for more than a decade at Prudential Securities, and Krivit had previously been with Merrill Lynch, Drexel Burnham Lambert and Oppenheimer, among other firms.

The Long Island-based practice, which also has two other support staff members, mainly serves high-net-worth and ultrahigh-net-worth families, according to Gallante. The three advisors also provide 401(k) and 403(b) services, which they’re looking to build up in their new independent setup.

Gallante says he has “an extended time horizon” compared with his more seasoned fellow advisors at the firm, and he credits LPL’s technology platform for their move.

“Seeing that the industry is changing so rapidly, we wanted to stay ahead of the curve and really continue to adapt,” Gallante says. “All the tools that they allow you to use are far superior to other offerings.”

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