Securities America Adds 2 Groups With $3.5B in Total Client Assets
Securities America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE American: LTS, LTSL, LTS PrA, LTSF, LTSK), announced that a highly-sought-after consortium of independent financial advisors with $2 billion in client assets and a Super OSJ with $1.5 billion in client assets have transitioned to its independent advisory and brokerage platform.
The consortium’s 35 advisors are based on the east coast. Mike Rees, Bay View Capital Advisory Group, St. Petersburg, Florida, serves as the group’s OSJ.
“We’re a unique, totally independent group of advisors,” said Rees. “It takes a special broker-dealer to understand what independence means to us. We run as a single unit – collaboratively.”
Decision-making responsibilities don’t fall on any one advisor’s shoulders, said Rees. When Hurricane Irma threatened his home state of Florida and put his home office visit to Securities America in jeopardy, Rees didn’t hesitate. He asked fellow advisors David Blaydes and Joshua Kadish to step in and go without him.
“David and Josh are seasoned advisors,” said Rees. “They understood the need for an integrity-based broker-dealer that could provide all the services we need to continue our high level of personal services.”
“We wanted this to be the last broker-dealer change of our careers,” said Blaydes, founder and CEO of RPI Financial Life Planners, Naperville, Illinois. “So, picking the right partner was critical. We knew we needed an outstanding corporate culture, our choice of platforms and investment solutions, and efficient technology that would allow us to spend more time with our clients.”
He and Kadish, a partner with RPG Life Transition Specialists, Riverwoods, Illinois, found all three at Securities America, plus a culture of integrity – especially in the executive leadership team.
“We were impressed by the caliber and integrity of all of the people in the room,” said Kadish. “The entire team was there. That told us we were important to them.”
Kadish and Blaydes were also impressed by the executive leadership team’s tenure. “They had all been with the firm for years, very long tenures,” said Blaydes. “When it came to their vision and goals, they were all in the same boat rowing in the same direction.”
Not every broker-dealer can provide the type of onboarding these large groups require, said Gregg Johnson, Securities America executive vice president of branch office development and acquisitions. "We’re experienced at welcoming large groups of independent advisors,” Johnson said. “Especially highly independent ones."
"Due to our size and reputation, we were getting dozens of calls per week from other broker-dealers trying to recruit us,” said Blaydes. But there were only a few that could onboard a group that large. “Securities America has experience in working with groups like ours. That helped a great deal as we transitioned.”
Growth and recruiting are important to the consortium, Rees said, and aligning with Securities America will make recruitment that much easier.
“There are advisors considering joining us who say our relationship with Securities America is a driving factor,” he said. The group recently recruited Edward Knowles and Mark Friedman of Florida-based Private Wealth Management & Consulting. Knowles serves as the firm’s president and works out of Tallahassee. Friedman’s office is in East Point.
The consortium has a reputation for client-first mentality and white-glove concierge service. “We know Securities America is the partner who will help us continue to offer the highest quality of service to our clients,” said Kadish.
Blaydes agreed. “Securities America is the right place for us. We look forward to moving onward and upward with them, doing what we get out of bed every morning to do – take care of our clients.”
The Denver-based Super OSJ had a similar experience, spending six weeks interviewing 10 broker-dealers before deciding on Securities America. The $1.5 billion group, co-managed by Brenda Wille-Cope and Gary Stirk, has more than 30 advisors in Colorado, Arizona, Washington and New York. Stirk is the group’s registered principal and manages the New York branch. Wille-Cope oversees the Colorado, Washington and Arizona branches.
Wille-Cope is managing partner of First Financial Strategies, Denver, Colorado. She was preceded by managing partner Phil Lubinski, who spearheaded the search after their broker-dealer was sold in late 2017. Lubinski is the co-creator of the Income For Life Model™, the matrix for Securities America’s NextPhase program. He also co-developed IncomeConductor™, which was recently approved for Securities America advisors.
“As a group, our expertise is retirement income planning for clients nearing retirement or already retired. This is our passion,” said Wille-Cope. “We wanted a broker-dealer who shared that passion for retirement distribution. We know retirement income is a core strength of Securities America. This made them a very strong fit. Although every broker-dealer we spoke with offered retirement income solutions, Securities America clearly had the commitment and staff support that no other broker-dealer did.”
Wille-Cope describes herself as an income distribution strategist and educator. “My clients experience total sense of ease knowing that I’m on this ride with them and will continue to advise them throughout their retirement.”
It was important that she and the advisors in the Super OSJ joined a broker-dealer that offered a comprehensive product line and didn’t incentivize advisors to recommend a particular product or platform.
“We needed the freedom to recommend products that were truly in the best interest of our clients,” she said. “We needed a partner who would support us as diligently as we support our clients. That’s Securities America.”
She was just as adamant about finding the right culture.
“We didn’t want to get lost in a crowd of 18,000 advisors. That would’ve been total culture shock,” Wille-Cope said. “We also didn’t want to affiliate with a small broker-dealer that would become part of yet another acquisition. We want to know our broker-dealer is a player on our team. That we can reach out to them with a call or email and know we’re going to get a quick personal response.”
“We have a passion for what we do,” said Wille-Cope. “Our heart and soul is in this business. So is Securities America’s. That’s why they’re such a good fit for us and our clients.”
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