CUSO grabs credit union program from LPL as parent closes Next acquisition

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The private equity-backed CUSO Financial Services grabbed its second credit union investment program from LPL Financial in the past six months.

Fort Worth, Texas-based EECU Federal Credit Union, which has more than $2.3 billion in assets from 210,000 members, left LPL for the Atria Wealth Solutions subsidiary, CUSO said on May 30. Atria has also completed its fourth independent broker-dealer acquisition, closing on the purchase of Next Financial Group.

EECU is not the only credit union in Texas to join CUSO. Three other credit unions in the state also brought their investment programs to CUSO: Common Cents Credit Union and River City Federal Credit Union from SWBC, and My Community Credit Union from CUNA Brokerage Services.

Combined, the four credit unions are part of the 638,000 members and $7 billion in overall bank assets added in the last year, although CUSO declined to say how much of the total assets are made up of wealth management clients or the total number of advisors.

EECU has “ramped up quickly” with CUSO, Matt Kaudy, the firm's chief retail and marketing officer, said in a statement. He added that EECU is on a three-part growth track that includes leveraging their financial centers, growing their revenue and improving the breadth and depth of their community engagement.

Representatives for LPL didn’t respond to requests for comment on the move.

The latest additions make six new credit unions aligning with CUSO since the beginning of the year. CUSO and LPL have also been poaching teams in the bank and credit union channel from one another throughout the past year.

CUSO also added Air Academy Federal Credit Union from LPL in late December. On the other hand, LPL recruited a program with $130 million in client assets from CUSO in November. It also added a former CUSO program with $215 million in client advisory, brokerage and retirement plan assets in March.

The private equity-backed wealth management holding company parent of CUSO is also growing, though. Lee Equity Partners-backed Atria launched just two years ago, but it has been acquiring IBDs like CUSO, sister firm Sorrento Pacific Financial and Next.

Atria acquired the midsized Houston-based IBD after originally announcing the deal in January. More than 500 advisors managing about $13 billion in client assets remained through the transition. Next President Barry G. Knight will keep his role and join Atria’s leadership.

"Wealth management is undergoing a radical transformation and we are positioning our firm to be at the forefront of these changes,” said Atria Wealth Solutions CEO Doug Ketterer said in a statement.

Atria’s scale now extends to nearly 2,000 advisors with $65 billion in client assets across its four broker-dealer subsidiaries.

The original announcement had referred to Atria purchasing Next and two affiliates — Next Financial Insurance Services and Visionary Asset Management. However, Visionary terminated its SEC Form ADV registration on April 1, and the final deal closure includes a different entity named 4Ward Financial Marketing.

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