In latest Wells Fargo exodus, $351M team goes indie with LPL

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Four Wells Fargo brokers managing $351 million in client assets bolted to launch an independent firm, joining a consortium on LPL Financial’s hybrid RIA platform.

Charlie Strong, Shane Gaddy, Kelly Lee and Kyle Bochat of Strong Gaddy Lee Wealth Management aligned with Integrated Financial Group, according to an announcement this week by LPL, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer. The consortium includes the Gainesville, Georgia-based practice and more than 80 other indie firms.

The new firm opened its doors last month, just weeks after four Merrill Lynch brokers started a boutique firm under LPL. Although Wells Fargo has not copied other wirehouses’ recruiting cutbacks, it has lost more than a net 500 advisers from its headcount in the last three quarters.

Strong Gaddy Lee's arrangement with LPL and Atlanta-based Integrated Financial allows for “flexibility to be able to serve the needs of our varying clients, from large retirement accounts to a newly married couple establishing their financial goals,” Gaddy said in a statement.

“We also gain access to LPL's breadth and depth of resources, tools and technology that support our ability to deliver the most value to our clients.”

A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo Advisors confirmed the four brokers' departures but declined further comment.

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Strong, Gaddy and Lee began their careers at A.G. Edwards, staying on after Wachovia bought the firm in 2008 and Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia. Strong started in 1991, Gaddy came aboard in 1998 and Lee joined in 2004, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

Bochat came to Wells Fargo last year following two years at Edward Jones. The partners brought three other staff members with them to launch their new firm.

Integrated member firms manage more than $2.9 billion in brokerage and advisory assets through LPL and an additional $1 billion in assets through its separate RIA, according to LPL. Integrated CEO Don Patrick and COO Land Bridgers own the 4-year-old consortium, which has expanded to 10 states.

LPL charges dually-registered advisers a fee for any accounts maintained by other custodians or transactions carried out through other broker-dealers, according to Integrated’s Form ADV. LPL also provides them with transition assistance payments of up to 30% or more of their prior compensation.

Integrated advisers go through a “stringent interview and selection process with the consortium's advisory board to ensure the advisor maintains similar philosophies and a passionate commitment to our profession and their clients,” Patrick said in a statement upon the new firm’s opening last month.

The four advisers, he added, passed "with flying colors and will be a great addition to our consortium.”

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