Securities America grabbed two more large teams from National Planning Holdings, boosting its total influx from NPH after the LPL Financial deal to more than $7.5 billion in client assets.

Brenda Wille-Cope and Gary Stirk brought more than 30 advisors from their super office of supervisory jurisdiction to Securities America from Invest Financial, their new broker-dealer announced last week. Mike Rees and his consortium, a super OSJ with 35 advisors, also joined from National Planning.

Securities America recruiting moves

Rees’ consortium manages $2 billion in assets under administration, compared to $1.5 billion in AUA at the Wille-Cope/Stirk Group. Including the 65 new advisors from the two new super OSJs, Securities America has recruited nearly 200 advisors from NPH’s four IBDs since LPL acquired their assets.

The suburban Omaha, Nebraska-based Securities America’s retirement distribution group, its investing framework, its smaller size and “the ease of our clients not having to change investments that we’ve used for them for years” figured in Wille-Cope’s choice over nine other IBDs, she says.

Gary Stirk, Brenda Wille-Cope, Phil Lubinski of Securities America
From left to right, Gary Stirk, Brenda Wille-Cope and Phil Lubinski moved their OSJ to Securities America from Invest Financial.

The OSJ’s advisors “had absolutely no idea whatsoever” that the LPL deal or any sale was in the works, says Wille-Cope, managing partner of Denver-based First Financial Strategies. “We didn’t want to join a broker-dealer that could possibly be sold in another couple of years. I don’t want to go through this again.”

Securities America’s technology has already aided Rees, the owner of Bay View Capital Advisory Group in St. Petersburg, Florida, in recruiting two new advisors to the consortium, he says. LPL’s size also figured in the decision by Rees and the consortium’s other advisors, he says.

“It just didn’t feel right to us. It felt like we were just another number,” Rees says. “It wasn’t anything bad about them. I found a better place.”

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A spokeswoman for NPH declined to comment, while a spokesman for LPL didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Wille-Cope’s practice had been with Invest for 13 years before she joined Securities America on Dec. 1, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. First Financial’s previous managing partner, Phil Lubinski, was a co-creator of the Income for Life Model, a retirement income framework also used by Securities America.

The practice has made retirement distribution its specialty, Wille-Cope says. The firm’s 30 advisors operate in Colorado, Arizona, Washington state and New York, with Stirk serving as supervising principal of the OSJ and manager of the New York advisors. Stirk and Wille-Cope’s practices merged last year.

Rees’ consortium started about five years ago, although his firm has acted as an OSJ for about 30 years, he says. National Planning had been his BD for the past 14 years, BrokerCheck shows.

Securities America, a Ladenburg Thalmann subsidiary and the No. 9 IBD with $535.7 million in 2016 revenue, saw record recruiting last year, according to CEO Jim Nagengast. Integrating the assets of Wall Street Financial Group and Foothill Securities prepared the firm for a competitive recruiting fight, he says.

“We helped small broker-dealers really become super OSJs,” says Nagengast. “That served us well in ’17, with the large amount of advisors that were in transition, that we had considerable experience in handling such large volumes and the work processes that needed to be managed to have success in the onboarding.”

LPL expects roughly 1,200 NPH advisors with as much as $35 billion in client assets to go elsewhere following the massive acquisition, according to the firm's fourth-quarter earnings report. CEO Dan Arnold has said the No. 1 IBD will add roughly 2,000 advisors with up to $75 billion in client assets through the deal.

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger is an associate editor for Financial Planning, On Wall Street & Bank Investment Consultant.