In the first major defection announced since LPL Financial’s purchase of National Planning Holdings, a four-advisor firm with $170 million in client assets joined Securities America.

Benson Financial Group bolted from National Planning weeks after LPL bought its parent with the goal of retaining most of its advisors. Benson Financial will keep its name but merge into another practice that recently left National Planning, according to a statement this week by Securities America.

Benson Financial Group chart

Founder Pat Benson opted to align his Hannibal, Missouri-based firm, which includes four client-facing advisors and four other producing representatives, with the ninth largest independent broker-dealer and suburban Kansas City-based Compass Financial Resources. He decided on Securities America before LPL bought NPH, he says.

“We love the idea of them being in the Midwest. We just felt like it would be a great fit,” says Benson, 55. “We really would rather be a part of a smaller BD. I’m not sure LPL would have been the right fit for us.”

A spokeswoman for National Planning did not respond to a request for comment, while an LPL spokesman declined to comment on the Benson’s departure.

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The move came three weeks after LPL’s big buy. The deal carries a $325 million initial price plus up to $123 million more, depending on how much production LPL transfers into its fold from NPH’s four firms. The nation’s largest IBD could surpass the largest wirehouse in headcount if it keeps most NPH advisors.

However, LPL’s competitors, including La Vista, Nebraska-based Securities America, may peel off more NPH’s 3,200 advisors in the process.

NEW BD, NEW OSJ
Benson started Sept. 6 at Securities America after nine years with National Planning, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. The 21-year industry veteran began his advisory career with Franklin Financial Services in 1996, spending six years there prior to a five-year tenure with American General Securities. Benson’s clients include family business owners, farmers and educators, he says.

Benson’s eight producers, along with three other staff members, opted for Securities America and the 10-advisor, three-location Compass Financial, which lists $340 million in client assets. The parent firm announced Compass’ exit from National Planning the day before LPL acquired NPH last month.

Compass will serve as Benson’s office of supervisory jurisdiction under the practice’s new arrangement, according to Benson. He praised Compass founder Russ Lane as a “wonderful person,” saying both the involvement of Compass and Securities America’s fiduciary rule plans had figured in his decision.

“We just felt that they had done their due diligence,” Benson says. “They’re really prepared for it.”

Securities America, a subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann, has more than 2,200 advisors with $72 billion in client assets. The firm’s advisors make up around half of the headcount at Ladenburg’s five IBDs.

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger

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