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Eyeing 'last BD change,' $182M team bolts Next for Securities America

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Securities America is adding new teams on multiple fronts.

Ladenburg Thalmann’s largest independent broker-dealer grabbed a half dozen advisors from one rival just as it was also growing in the wake of a different competitor’s acquisition.

Nittany Brokerage Services — led by President Dean Johnson and office of supervisory jurisdiction manager Suzanne Johnson — affiliated with Securities America after more than a dozen years with Next Financial, their new IBD announced last month.

The team manages $182 million in client assets. Nittany switched IBDs as Securities America was attracting at least three practices and another OSJ from Questar Capital. The Allianz IBD shut down earlier this year after a preferred affiliation deal between the insurer and Advisor Group led 400 advisors to align with Woodbury Financial Services.

Nittany’s former IBD also changed hands in June, when private equity-backed wealth management holding company Atria Wealth Solutions acquired the firm. The advisors — who didn’t respond to inquiries — left Next in March, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

“We want this to be our last broker-dealer change, so we were looking for an established partner that has staying power in the industry,” Dean Johnson said in a prepared statement about the practice’s move to Securities America.

“After seeing all that they have to offer,” he continued, “we were convinced that we can count on Securities America and Ladenburg to support our long-term growth.”

Representatives for Next declined to comment on the team’s departure.

As the largest of five IBDs in Ladenburg’s network, Nittany’s new IBD has more than 2,600 affiliated advisors managing $94 billion in client assets. The State College, Pennsylvania-based practice and OSJ shares the name of the Nittany Lions of nearby Penn State University.

Dean and Suzanne Johnson spent 13 years affiliated with Next, BrokerCheck shows. They had earlier tenures with Valic Financial Advisors, MML Investors Services and Van Kampen Funds. The practice launched in 2005.

Nittany provides wealth management and insurance services to businesses and individuals, including many state government employees. A strong technology platform and other resources available to Securities America affiliates helped draw them to the IBD, according to Dean Johnson.

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