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$330M National Planning firm chooses No. 50 over No. 1

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Add KMS Financial Services to the list of firms small and large snapping up one or more practices from National Planning after LPL Financial acquired its assets.

Blair Hansen and his sons Eric and Mark, the three advisors of Hansen Wealth Management, bolted National Planning for the No. 50 independent broker-dealer by revenue, KMS announced this week. The San Jose, California-based practice manages more than $330 million in client assets.

Since LPL purchased the assets of National Planning Holdings’ four IBDs in August, roughly 300 advisors with more than $13 billion in client assets have joined other firms over the No. 1 IBD. Hansen marks KMS’ first grab, but fellow Ladenburg Thalmann firm Securities America has made at least three.

“LPL’s a very fine company, but they’re very large in size and we were comfortable with a smaller broker-dealer,” says the elder Hansen, 64. He adds that it’s “very, very important for people to understand” that independent advisors — not their BDs — own their businesses.

A spokeswoman for National Planning declined to comment, while a spokesman for LPL didn’t respond to a request for comment. LPL has announced, in the past three weeks alone, National Planning teams with $7 billion in client assets that have joined the firm under the NPH deal.

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Hansen began his career at Kidder, Peabody in 1981, and he spent 17 years with National Planning, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Eric Hansen started at his father’s Bay Area practice seven years ago, while Mark Hansen came aboard in 2015.

Pershing remains the firm’s custodian following the move, according to Hansen, who says KMS’ relationships with Pershing and Albridge Solutions served as another point in the BD’s favor in his decision. Hansen’s firm officially joined KMS in mid-October.

The Seattle-based firm’s regional focus on the West and the Pacific Northwest “allows us to maintain a small, boutique-firm culture with the big-firm resources of Ladenburg,” says KMS Financial CEO Eric Westberg, noting that both KMS’ hybrid and corporate platforms use all four major custodians.

“We have really maximum flexibility with respect to advisory custodial framework, which is apparently pretty rare, but we’ve been doing it since the late 80s.”

The firm disclosed revenue of $96.4 million for 2016, part of the five-firm Ladenburg network’s revenue of a little more than $1 billion. Some 350 KMS advisors manage $17.5 billion in client assets, according to the firm.

LPL CEO Dan Arnold has said the firm knew going into the massive acquisition that it would face recruiting competition from rivals for the 3,200 advisors from NPH firms. The transaction provided LPL’s competitors with prospects who otherwise would not have left their longtime BD, one recruiter says.

“It’s really free rein; it’s fair game. This is being forced on the reps,” says Jon Henschen, who arranged the move to KMS by Hansen and his sons. “It’s really their choice where they want to go.”

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