Ron Carson has followed longtime friend and former heir apparent at LPL Financial Robert Moore to Cetera Financial Group, in a long-anticipat ed move that became final this month.

Carson, a well-known coach to other advisers through his Peak Advisor Alliance, was one of top-producing planners at LPL, the country's largest independent broker-dealer, through Carson Wealth Management Group.

'A LOT OF TRUST'

Ron Carson, one of the RIA industry's highest-profile executives.
Ron Carson (Image: Ron Carson)

"It's a tight-knit relationship," says Steve Lockshin, Carson Wealth board member and founder of AdvicePeriod, says of Carson and Moore. "They've been great partners over the years. There is a lot of trust and mutual respect there."

Moore joined the board of Carson Wealth in March 2015, and came off it at the end of last year, Lockshin says, before the firm affiliated with one of the Cetera network's firms, Cetera Advisor Networks, based in El Segundo, California.

Robert Moore, CEO of Cetera, speaks to reporters at Financial Planning in December of 2016.
Robert Moore, CEO of Cetera, speaks to reporters at Financial Planning in December of 2016.

Moore replaced Larry Roth as CEO of Cetera following its emergence from a pre-packaged bankruptcy. Cetera had spent the previous nearly two years roiled by scandal-by-association with its former owner and nontraded REIT kingpin Nicholas Schorsch, who presided over the economic collapse of Cetera's then-parent company RCS Capital.

The bankruptcy severed ties with Schorsch and cleared a channel through which Moore could return to the top of a large IBD. With nearly 9,000 affiliated advisers, Cetera is the second-largest IBD in the country after LPL which has about 14,000.

'ROBERT IS NOT THE OLD GUARD'
LPL has been plagued in recent years by its own problems, such as being hit with high regulatory penalties and delays in adopting new technologies. Its beleaguered longtime former CEO Mark Casady recently ceded that role to the firm's president to Dan Arnold.

Steve Lockshin is founder of AdvicePeriod.
Steve Lockshin is founder of AdvicePeriod.

At Cetera, Carson can now enjoy a direct line to the CEO in Moore, Lockshin says.

"Robert is not the old guard there," Lockshin says. "He is the new guard there. Robert can say, 'I can deliver X' and Ron will believe it."

Neither Moore not Carson returned calls seeking comment. AdvisorHub first reported Carson's plans to leave LPL.

“LPL Financial and Carson Wealth Management have been great business partners for 28 years, and both companies remain focused on meeting the specific needs of our clients," said LPL spokeswoman Lauren Hoyt-Williams, in an emailed statement. "After amicable conversations, we mutually agreed to part ways.”

Carson Wealth manages $3 billion through its RIA, according to a Jan. 12 SEC filing. Up to 10% of its 8,000 clients are high-net-worth and Carson does financial planning for less than 500 of them, the filing says.

While the firm's website lists 13 wealth advisers, its SEC filing says it has 82 registered representatives and 70 employees with insurance licenses. The filing also says that Carson Wealth has no affiliation with any broker-dealer and takes no commissions.

In response to a question to explain, given that the firm sells securities through brokerage Cetera, Carson Wealth said via email that the filing "appropriately represents" Carson Wealth's affiliation.

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