Commonwealth Financial Network has taken its second dip into LPL Financial’s incoming wave of National Planning Holdings advisors. With the additions, the resulting production among incoming Commonwealth advisors this quarter will surpass any other period in its 38-year history, according to the firm.
Advisors Virgil Kahl and Merrill Wixon of Spring Ridge Financial Group, which has more than $650 million in assets under management, left National Planning for Commonwealth, the firm announced last week. The Reading, Pennsylvania-area practice also serves as an office of supervisory jurisdiction.
Spring Ridge followed another National Planning practice with $1.3 billion in AUM, which joined Commonwealth last month. LPL purchased the assets of National Planning’s parent, and the acquisition has touched off a recruiting fight for the 3,200 advisors from NPH’s four broker-dealers.
Kahl, who manages about $550 million of Spring Ridge’s assets, and Wixon, who oversees the OSJ side of the business, had been thinking about launching their own RIA before the Aug. 15 acquisition, Kahl says. They chose Commonwealth after some “very direct” conversations with CEO Wayne Bloom, she says.
“Commonwealth actually came out ahead in delivering what I needed for my clients without the compliance risk of being your own RIA,” Kahl says. “It's all about the client. The more time you spend on other parts, the less time you have with your clients.”
The pair officially joined Commonwealth on Oct. 23, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. A spokeswoman for National Planning didn’t respond to a request for comment, while a spokesman for LPL said the firm had no comment on their departures.
Kahl had spent her entire 15-year financial services career affiliated with National Planning, while Wixon had been with National Planning 17 years following three years with Royal Alliance Associates. Kahl also hosts a weekly radio show in Reading each Tuesday night called “The Money Doctor.”
Spring Ridge is switching its custodian from Pershing to Fidelity under the move, which Kahl says will take only about three to four weeks thanks to round-the-clock work by her team.
With 2016 revenue of $1.07 billion, Commonwealth constitutes the fourth largest IBD. Newly recruited advisors will add a record $30 million in production this quarter, with about 70% coming from former NPH advisors, according to Andrew Daniels, the firm’s managing principal for business development.
“All the advisors there were used to a more intimate environment,” he says. “That’s what has driven these folks here. They were looking for a greater sense of connectivity.”
LPL Financial has yet to reveal its progress in retaining NPH advisors, although one National Planning super OSJ with $2 billion in client assets has said it will move to the acquiring firm. LPL will provide an update on its efforts later this week, CEO Dan Arnold said on the firm’s earnings call last month.
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