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Commonwealth Snags Three Securities America Top Producers

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Ladenburg Thalmann’s offer to buy Securities America may have staunched the hemorrhaging, but some leakage is still in evidence as Commonwealth Financial Network snagged three top producers from the troubled broker-dealer.

Commonwealth announced Monday the affiliation of three top financial advisory firms from Securities America. The addition of Olsen & Associates of Norfolk, Neb.; Economic Concepts of Annandale, N.J.; and Peterson Wealth Management of Springfield, Mo., will bring to Commonwealth combined total assets of more than $700 million, Commonwealth said in a statement.

All three firms were among Securities America’s top affiliates. Both Olsen & Associates and Economic Concepts generated $1.7 million in gross dealer concession in 2010 and ranked in the top 2% of Securities America’s advisors that year. Peterson Wealth Management was among the top 100 advisors in the Ameriprise-owned firm, which has some 1,700 affiliated advisors.

mark elzweigMark Elzweig (left), one of the top recruiters on Wall Street, told AdvisorOne, “This is quite a big score for Commonwealth. They have a terrific reputation in the independent space as an advisor-oriented firm with great resources for advisors. They’ve always done well in recruiting. This is a direct result of the turmoil at Securities America which caused their advisors to evaluate if they were in the best possible place.”

Indeed, the three advisors all cited Commonwealth’s resources or advisor-friendliness in the statement Commonwealth issued Monday, praising variously the firm’s 401(k) support, technology leadership or accessible back office. Commonwealth, with 1,400 financial advisors, often ranks highly in broker-dealer surveys, including a survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

Meanwhile, Ladenburg Thalmann has yet to complete its acquisition of Securities America, but its announcement of retention bonuses amounting to 15% of an FA’s yearly fees and commissions should keep most advisors in place in the deal expected to close by year-end.