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6 years after launching with 12 advisors, LPL RIA-OSJ tops 200 reps

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An LPL Financial affiliate has doubled its number of advisors since the beginning of last year after tapping several former home-office executives and rolling out new technology.

Robert Russo’s Independent Advisor Alliance launched its hybrid RIA and office of supervisory jurisdiction in 2013, when the firm had a dozen advisors. After its 124th practice aligned in June, the OSJ reached 201 advisors with nearly $9 billion in assets under supervision, he says.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm has also launched a robo advisor under Betterment for Advisors pairing automated investing strategies with CFP services from the OSJ’s headquarters. IAA also plans to roll out a higher-touch digital solution for larger accounts next month.

“When you start to become really knowledgeable about the inner workings, you realize areas that you can fill in gaps where the marketplace just isn’t there yet,” Russo says. “We're not too big, so it's not like this huge ship that we're trying to steer. But we're not too little where, if we have an idea, that we don't have the means to execute it.”

IAA’s growth comes alongside that of its independent broker-dealer. In only a one-week span, LPL announced 11 newly-recruited advisors managing a combined $1.3 billion in client brokerage, advisory and retirement plan assets.

Just as with LPL’s other large enterprises, the No. 1 IBD provides transitional payments for IAA’s incoming recruits, its Form ADV shows. The hybrid RIA also hired former LPL executives Steve Gensler as its director of strategic solutions and Jon Reidenouer as COO in 2018.

IAA’s offerings helped stem LPL’s losses under the May departure of Bill Hamm’s hybrid RIA-OSJ Independent Financial Partners. IAA retained some 76 advisors from IFP, which Hamm has said he expected to ramp up as an IBD with a smaller advisor headcount.

The combined AUM of the top 10 companies has soared by 60% to more than $770 billion over the past five years.
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In the past 12 months, IAA’s assets under supervision have expanded by some $2.3 billion under its three types of affiliation: dual registration with LPL as the brokerage and IAA’s hybrid RIA for advisory, OSJ-only with LPL’s corporate RIA and, now, fee-only under the hybrid RIA.

Its first two fee-only advisors affiliated earlier this year. IAA has about 25 others in the pipeline, according to Russo. About 15 of the advisors use the OSJ-only option. Most operate as hybrids, including the 36 advisors doing business as Blackbridge Financial rather than a separate brand.

“We don’t want to sell people on what we have, we want to work with them and put them in the right model that fits their clients,” Russo says. “We're finding that people go fee-only because they want another level of independence that they couldn't get on the hybrid side. We're also understanding that they don't want to be a compliance person.”

IAA doubled its headquarters staff last year, tapped an additional outside compliance vendor this year and plans to hire three more people by the end of next month to reach 28 employees. Gensler leads IAA’s Betterment-powered robo for the OSJ.

Clients with below $2 million in assets pay 25 basis points for the automated portfolios, while those with larger accounts are charged 15 bps, according to IAA’s Form ADV. IAA is also developing a digital solution it calls “flex” portfolios that runs on models created by its CIO.

In addition to the hybrid RIA-OSJ’s recruiting, LPL unveiled a new data executive and nearly a dozen new advisors affiliating with the firm over a seven-week period. The recruits came from Raymond James, Ameriprise and Cetera Financial Group’s Summit Brokerage Services.

  • Ashish Braganza, the former head of client insights and analytics at OppenheimerFunds, joined the team led by LPL Chief Investment Officer Burt White on June 24. As executive vice president of data, analytics and innovation, Braganza focuses on using data to enhance the advisor experience.
  • Phillip Salter’s Beaumont, Texas-based Salter Financial Group aligned with LPL on June 19 alongside two other financial advisors in the practice, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. The team has about $100 million in client assets, and Salter had previously been affiliated with LPL from 2006 to 2014.
  • CX Institutional’s hybrid RIA group CXI Advisors added the Plano, Texas-based advisor Charles Hart from Ameriprise on May 17. Affiliating on the brokerage side with LPL, Hart manages around $125 million in client assets after 35 years with his prior BD, VSR Financial Services and Raymond James, BrokerCheck shows.
  • Financial advisors RC Roland, Chad Roland, Blair Roland and Gary Douvia of RDH Investments and Garry Borders, Matt Borders and Joel White of Borders, White, & Tait make up the Spokane Valley, Washington-based PacNorth Retirement Group. With around $1.1 billion in client brokerage, advisory and retirement plan assets, they affiliated with LPL on June 28, according to BrokerCheck.

Representatives for Ameriprise, Cetera and Raymond James declined to comment.

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