Stanching advisor outflow, Advisor Group picks up $1B enterprise

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After suffering recruiting losses in the wake of its $1.3-billion acquisition of Ladenburg Thalmann, Advisor Group has added its largest incoming enterprise of the year.

Pacific Capital Resource Group brought 40 advisors with $975 million in client assets to Advisor Group’s largest independent broker-dealer, Royal Alliance Associates, the firms announced Nov. 3.

In doing so, PCRG, a Seattle-area office of supervisory jurisdiction, dropped its affiliation with Penn Mutual’s IBD, Hornor, Townsend & Kent, after 27 years with the firm, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

“Our entire team was eager to join forces with a firm that shares our growth vision, our values and our commitment to serving our financial professionals,” CEO Kurt Jonson said in the statement. “From the outset, Royal Alliance stood out to [us] as the top firm for super OSJ groups.”

Hornor, Townsend & Kent spokeswoman Stephanie Kensy confirmed the enterprise’s departure in an emailed statement. “We remain committed to our vision of growing our network of independent financial professionals who are focused on the importance of financial protection as well as wealth management for their clients,” Kensy said.

Prior to the OSJ’s move, the largest incoming recruits announced so far this year across Advisor Group’s IBD network came in August, when two ex-LPL Financial advisors with $365 million in client assets affiliated with SagePoint Financial. Over the same span, rivals like LPL have poached more than 230 advisors with $11.6 billion in client assets from Advisor Group’s firms.

Following the private equity-backed wealth manager’s acquisition of Ladenburg’s five firms, Advisor Group has started folding the three smallest of them into Securities America.

The leveraged buyout, as well as market volatility and lower interest rates, are also weighing on the Reverence Capital Partners-owned firm, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Advisor Group has a “strong market position as one of the largest independent wealth management firms,” Moody’s Assistant Vice President Fadi Abdel Massih wrote in a Sept. 2 note following a periodic review. While Massih notes the Ladenburg deal “has helped it sustain a positive growth trend,” he adds that “the path of organic deleveraging has been delayed.”

Adding an enterprise like Pacific Capital could help boost growth at Royal Alliance and its parent firm. Jonson launched the firm in 1998 out of Bellevue, Washington. The firm now has locations in Lake Oswego, Oregon and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Jonson “has done a stellar job over the last two decades of developing one of the most successful independent groups of like-minded financial professionals in the country,” Royal Alliance CEO Dmitry Goldin said in a statement. “We look forward to helping them embark upon a new stage of growth and success for their entire group.”

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