LPL Financial wants a bigger piece of the $3 trillion retirement plan market.

The nation's largest independent broker-dealer is connecting with Bill Chetney, the former head of its Retirement Partners division -- who is now launching a new RIA firm with a national footprint and a specialization in retirement plan management.

The new firm, dubbed Global Retirement Partners, will have approximately 400 advisors and will join LPL's hybrid RIA platform. Chetney, who recently resigned from LPL, is acquiring key assets of Financial Telesis, a San Rafael, Calif.-based broker-dealer and RIA service provider, as a cornerstone of the new RIA.


LPL's deal with Global Retirement is a "great opportunity to add scale," says Bill Morrissey, LPL's managing director of Independent Advisor Services. Morrissey describes Global Retirement as a "large hybrid OSJ" that will be able to "plug in to" LPL's existing Retirement Partners group; it will work with retirement plan sponsors, provide advice to plan participants and handle plan rollovers, he says.

"This is a major [advisor] recruiting opportunity" for LPL, Morrissey says. "We're adding a large enterprise with a great mix of business."

Chetney will be chief executive and partner of the new RIA, and Financial Telesis founder and chief executive Jim Williams will join Global Retirement as president to help manage the day-to-day operations. 

LPL jump-started its retirement business in 2010 when it acquired assets of National Retirement Partners, which was founded and run by Chetney.  Since then, LPL's Retirement Partners group has grown to include nearly 40,000 retirement plans or services serving 3 million people with $107 billion in assets under advisement, supported by approximately 5,500 advisors.

Global Retirement will target a "broad range" of plans, according to Morrissey, and hopes to be a destination for plan participants, rollovers and potentially "all of their assets."

About $151 billion of defined contribution plan assets are now sold through the RIA channel, a number which is expected to increase, according to Cerulli Associates.


Suburban Philadelphia-based Harvest Financial Partners has steadily increased its defined contribution retirement business over the past three years and found it both "profitable and gratifying," says John Fattibene, the firm's co-founder and director of financial planning.

"It's an extraordinarily important business," and one that Harvest sees as part of its "social responsibility" to its clients, Fattibene says. Working with individuals on retirement planning also allows clients to "get comfortable with our approach" and potentially "continue the relationship" with rollover and other assets, he adds.

LPL's increased commitment to the retirement plan business could be "fantastic" for smaller firms like Harvest, Fattibene says. "Firms like LPL with large megaphones will enable a lot of employers who have never done a plan to realize that working with an RIA on a 401(k) or 403(b) is very much within reach."

Adding Global Retirement Partners as "a new large LPL enterprise is another important step forward for LPL Financial in the retirement plan industry," LPL Financial President Robert Moore said in a statement.

LPL Retirement Partners suffered a misstep earlier this year when Paul Mahan, recruited from Commonwealth Financial Network and named senior vice president, left after only a month and returned to Commonwealth.

LPL named David Reich to be executive vice president and head of LPL Retirement Partners and Independent Advisor Services strategy, reporting to Morrissey.  Reich was vice president of Retirement Strategies and Solutions for Ameriprise Financial before joining LPL Retirement Partners in 2011.

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