A hybrid RIA with $350 million in client assets bolted National Planning for Royal Alliance Associates in another sign that the firm had been losing advisors prior to the completion of its parent’s deal with LPL Financial.

At least three teams left or decided to leave National Planning before LPL acquired the assets of the broker-dealer and the three others in National Planning Holdings' stable. The network also includes Invest Financial, Investment Centers of America and SII Investments.

NPH's firms lost about 15% of their advisors over the last four and a half years, an analyst said in a call with executives the day after the purchase last month. The previous two firms to quit NPH this year landed with Securities America, the ninth largest IBD. In choosing Securities America’s rival, Royal Alliance — Advisor Group’s largest BD — Key Group is affiliating with the 12th largest IBD in the country.

Key Group Management’s move brings to 83 the number of registered representatives that Royal has added so far this year. That in turn amounts to nearly a third of the 295 total advisors that its network parent, Advisor Group, has added in the same time frame, according to an announcement by the firm this week. The Ramsey, New Jersey-based practice comprises nine advisors and four offices.

Pat Murray and Colin Heafy, Key Group Management
Pat Murray (left) and Colin Heafy (right) launched Key Group Management in 1996.

"One of the most important aspects in choosing a broker-dealer is to find one whose culture and values align with your own,” Colin Heafy, principal of Key Group, said in a statement.

Joining Royal, he added, will allow Key Group to “take advantage of the technology, compliance and customer service support that will make a tremendously positive impact to our business model.”

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OLD FRIENDS REUNITED
The practice joined Royal on March 10, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. A spokeswoman for National Planning declined to comment on the firm’s departure.

Heafy and co-owner Pat Murray launched Key Group, which also has offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, Westwood, Massachusetts and Craig, Colorado, in 1996. The practice had earlier been affiliated with Royal for about five years before joining National Planning in 2009, BrokerCheck records show.

Key Group lists $60 million in advisory assets under management in its last SEC Form ADV. Charles Schwab remains Key's custodian after the firm’s BD transition, according to a spokeswoman for Royal.

Royal earned $466.8 million in revenue last year, a 1% uptick and the only increase in revenue reported by any of Advisor Group’s four firms. Together they reported total 2016 revenue of $1.3 billion. Based in Jersey City, Royal accounts for more than 1,800 advisors out of Advisor Group’s 5,500 total.

The latest move marks at least the third significant one announced this year by Royal. In March, two hybrid RIAs with the BD merged into an office of supervisory jurisdiction with $2.5 billion in client assets. A 30-rep practice last week unveiled its decision to join Royal from Signator Investors.

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Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger is an associate editor for Financial Planning, On Wall Street & Bank Investment Consultant.