Breakaway Brokers Have a New Suitor

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Securities America and United Advisors are teaming up to get into the breakaway broker business.

The two firms have recruited Kevin Hughes, a top former Morgan Stanley branch manager from Long Island, to head up the new hybrid independent wealth advisory business, which will be part of United Advisors Private Client Group.

“This model gives breakaway wirehouse advisors the freedom to operate their own business as they see fit while maintaining the office structures and geography they are used to,” Gregg Johnson, Securities America's senior vice president of branch office development and acquisitions said in a statement.

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, Securities America's parent company, will provide advisors with "services they are used to from wirehouse environments, such as investment banking and capital markets products," Johnson added.

Securities America and United are joining a crowded and extremely competitive field catering to breakaway brokers, led by such high profile and well-financed firms as HighTower Advisors and Dynasty Financial Partners.

Hughes, who will be a managing partner of the Private Client Group, was the branch manager of a $2 billion Morgan Stanley office in Great Neck, N.Y. He has more than 21 years of Wall Street experience, joining Morgan Stanley in 1998, after working for Smith Barney.

“Advisors will be completely independent but able to network, partner, train and share ideas with other branch advisors" while getting support from United, Securities America and Ladenburg Thalmann Hughes said in a statement.

Hughes joins Marcus Wacker as a managing partner for United Advisors Private Client Group. Wacker, also formerly of Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney, joined United Advisors in November 2010.

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