LPL Financial’s aggressive negotiating tactics led a National Planning office of supervisory jurisdiction to switch to rival Securities America, the practice’s managing partner says.

Bill Brice’s Professional Investors Network, a super OSJ with about 70 advisors and $1.7 billion in client assets, opted for the ninth largest independent broker-dealer, Securities America announced last week. The South Windsor, Connecticut-based firm bolted after LPL purchased its prior IBD’s assets in August.

Securities America revenue

LPL, the No. 1 IBD by revenue, also acquired the business of the three other BDs owned by National Planning Holdings. Securities America has already grabbed at least one other super OSJ from National Planning after the deal. LPL approached Brice’s team with low and shifting retention packages, he says.

“Instead of just coming up with a good solid number to retain us, they kept trying to get us on the cheap,” Brice says. “We thought that it just didn’t feel right ethically. That just doesn’t seem professional to me or to the guys in our group.”

After Brice disclosed that the practice would be going elsewhere, he adds, LPL’s recruiting team started reaching out to the OSJ’s top producers in an effort to poach them individually. LPL took about 10% of the OSJ’s advisors, though the firm expects to take business from LPL in coming years, says Brice, who moved formally moved to Securities America on Oct. 31, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

Representatives for LPL and National Planning both declined to comment on his exit or his account of the process.

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Brice has worked in the financial services industry for 25 years, including 11 with National Planning and five with Jefferson Pilot Securities. His OSJ network, which has affiliated advisors in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and three other states, will keep Pershing as its custodian.

Securities America’s dual-custodian status with Pershing and Fidelity will add flexibility, though, Brice says. Securities America emerged as the best choice out of 20 potential suitors more for its flexibility than its recruiting offers, he adds. Brice plans to launch an affiliated RIA over the next four or five years.

“We have built a robust platform and support services for the OSJ model,” Gregg Johnson, Securities America’s executive vice president of branch office development and acquisitions, said in a statement.

“This includes technology, and reporting that caters to the OSJ or producer group, and a planning process that works with the branch manager to build out a detailed growth and recruiting plan.”

The firm had also added two National Planning practices right before the LPL deal, and it gobbled up a hybrid RIA from LPL last month as well. With roughly 2,200 advisors and $72 billion in client assets, Securities America constitutes the largest IBD in Ladenburg Thalmann’s five-IBD network.

For its part, LPL expects to move about 70% of production from National Planning and another NPH firm to its platform in the first half of the asset transfer next month. The firm will provide a detailed update in its fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Dan Arnold said at LPL’s investor day event last week.

Tobias Salinger

Tobias Salinger

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