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Hybrid RIA’s largest enterprise adds two more ex-Northwestern advisors

An independent group launched by former top producers at Northwestern Mutual added two more teams in as many months from their onetime broker-dealer.

Advisors Rick Scheeler and Eric Waggoner launched two offices of Bleakley Financial Group — the largest enterprise affiliated with LPL Financial’s largest hybrid RIA, Private Advisor Group. With the new Cincinnati and East Lansing, Michigan-based teams, Bleakley has nine offices.

A team set to move next week will bring Bleakley’s total footprint to 10 offices with 40 advisors, according to Vince Nauheimer, managing director of business development. Principal Andy Schwartz aims to expand by 50 more advisors over the next five years, he says.

LPL advisory AUM

Bleakley — which has about $5.5 billion in client assets — offers five different custodian options but is also fueling the growth of the No. 1 IBD. LPL completed an acquisition that netted 33 new advisors and unveiled six other affiliating teams in recruiting grabs since late June.

Scheeler learned of Bleakley through a Financial Planning article earlier this year, he says. His team brings around $80 million after its Aug. 7 affiliation with Bleakley.

“It was the care that they showed, it was the personal resources and support,” says Scheeler. “We could get a higher level of support while having complete independence.”

He had spent more than 15 years aligned with Northwestern before making LPL his BD earlier this month, while former Northwestern managing director Waggoner had been there 11 years prior to his July 1 switch, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. The team led by Waggoner has $70 million in client assets and includes one other registered advisor.

Northwestern “remains committed to recruiting, developing and retaining advisors interested in comprehensive planning to help clients achieve financial security through insurance and investments,” spokeswoman Betsy Hoylman said in an emailed statement.

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July 10

Fairfield, New Jersey-based Bleakley has tacked on six offices with 10 advisors and $750 million in client assets since January 2018, according to Nauheimer. Resources like a CIO, a life coach and an 18-member research and paraplanner team have helped Bleakley attract advisors.

“There's a tremendous amount of collaboration that takes place. They really get a feel for how invested the firm is in their growth and development,” Nauheimer says. “They can reclaim their energy and time to dedicate back to growing their practice.”

Being part of Private Advisor’s office of supervisory jurisdiction gives Bleakley access to its compliance and accounting services, says Schwartz. Bleakley’s services for advisors also come at a lower cost due to its scale, he says, predicting that its recruits will bring more in their wake.

“They are going to be ambassadors for us,” Schwartz says. He adds that the firm is “having lots of conversations” with prospective recruits and will be disappointed if they only get 25 in the next five years rather than reaching the “high end” of its 50-advisor goal.

While LPL is Bleakley’s largest custodian under Private Advisor’s RIA, Schwartz also notes that the firm can accommodate fee-only advisors and might one day have no BD affiliation. In the meantime, LPL is also bulking up its ranks under an acquisition and recruiting.

LPL closed the purchase of employee BD Allen & Company of Florida, the firm said Aug. 1. LPL launched a new employee affiliation with the deal, which is expected to bring around $3 billion in client assets and cost around $35 million, according to LPL’s second-quarter earnings filing.

In addition to 33 representatives from Allen, LPL added 13 other advisors with more than $1 billion in client assets through recruiting grabs since late June. The new advisors affiliated after tenures with Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, UBS, Ameriprise and other firms.

  • Financial advisors Joey Price and Mary Ellen Holder of Arkansas-based Price Investment Group aligned with LPL on June 20, according to BrokerCheck. The team manages about $140 million in client assets and moved after ten years with FiNet.
  • The following day, founder Christopher Soulios and advisors Rich Linsday and Mike Toomey of Signet Strategic Wealth Management left Ameriprise, BrokerCheck shows. The Westlake Village, California-based team has $180 million in client assets.
  • Another expanding OSJ called Gladstone Wealth Group opened its 34th office on July 19 with the addition of Cary Hall’s Princeton, New Jersey-based CLH Wealth Management. Hall’s team manages some $160 million in client assets.
  • Camden, South Carolina-based Lumen Financial Planning and Wealth Management aligned with LPL on July 23. Led by financial advisor Roy Fakoury, the team has around $145 million in client assets.
  • Seattle Mariners draft pick and ex-minor leaguer Casey Craig — along with five other advisors from Washington, D.C.-area firm Highlander Financial Group — dropped MassMutual’s IBD for LPL on July 16. The team has around $240 million in client assets.
  • Scott Frayler’s Brentwood, New York-based Blue Line Wealth Management — which has some $160 million in client assets — affiliated with LPL on August 1. The team’s client base consists primarily of local police officers serving surrounding communities.
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