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Hybrid RIA adds 17 employer-plan offices to reach $70B in assets

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With a major retirement plan-focused group coming back into the fold, hybrid RIA Global Retirement Partners says it’s poised to become the third-largest aggregator in the sector.

Strategic Retirement Partners is bringing some 50 representatives with $11 billion in assets under management to Global Retirement, the largest retirement plan-focused hybrid RIA affiliated with LPL Financial.

Managing Partner Jeff Cullen had been affiliated with Financial Telesis, the previous name of Global Retirement, from 2010 until 2014. Coming back to Global Retirement — which is expanding to more than 285 reps at 125 offices with its new recruits — will also change Strategic Retirement’s broker-dealer from Kestra Financial to LPL.

The group moved on April 1, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Global Retirement will reach nearly $70 billion in AUM after the firm and its subsidiaries added some $30 billion in 2019 with the completion of Strategic Retirement’s transition, according to CEO Geoff White.

The two teams saw the value in pooling resources for greater scale and efficiency under the hybrid RIA, according to Cullen. The newly expanded group’s setup will allow advisors to choose among either Strategic Retirement, Global Retirement or their own brands, he says.

“We're in alignment to grow the RIA,” Cullen says. “We'll be able to grow faster together. It doesn't matter where an advisor fits, we will be able to find them a good fit within the options we have at GRP.”

Mark Schoenbeck, Kestra’s national sales director, issued a statement saying the firm is “grateful to have had the opportunity to serve” Strategic Retirement and wishes Cullen’s group “all the best on their future endeavors.”

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November 27

A group of plan advisors acquired the San Francisco Bay Area-based Global Retirement from founder William Chetney in July 2015, according to its SEC Form ADV brochure. The group has headquarters in San Rafael, California, and another corporate office in Carlsbad.

A serial dealmaker, Chetney, who founded the firm a year earlier, left his position as president of LPL’s retirement plan division to start the company. Four years earlier, LPL had purchased certain assets of another firm he founded called National Retirement Partners.

Like Chetney, White came to the firm from LPL, where he had served as a business development executive. By adding the 17 Strategic Retirement offices, Global Retirement will reach 4,500 corporate employer clients and 6,000 individual clients with more than $4 billion in AUM, according to the firms.

“As margins continue to compress and increased complexity becomes the new normal in the plan space, we know advisors are looking for much more from their RIA,” White said in a statement, adding that he has known Cullen for many years. “Together, I have no doubt that we can really move the needle in this industry and take it to the next level.”

Strategic Retirement launched after former Kestra parent NFP’s acquisition of a different retirement plan group named 401(k) Advisors, according to the group’s website. At the time, most of the affiliated reps of 401(K) launched Strategic Retirement to combine their resources.

Cullen’s 17-year career also includes a tenure with Cambridge Investment Research, FINRA BrokerCheck shows. At its 17 offices nationwide, Strategic Retirement counts more than 720 corporate and non-profit plans as clients, with some 200,000 plan participants.

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