A team of three San Diego-based advisors with about $300 million of assets and $2 million in yearly fees and commissions left Morgan Stanley (MS) on Friday to affiliate with independent broker-dealer LPL Financial (LPLA) using a hybrid model, LPL said Monday.
The former-Morgan Stanley Smith Barney team includes Neil McNeil, Robert Meyer and Ryan Clive-Smith, who previously did business as the La Jolla Group (named for the suburb where they are located). The group, considered to be one of the largest in the greater San Diego area based on assets under management, is now operating as Ibis Capital, an independent wealth-management firm, which plans to retain about 80 client relationships with current and retired middle-market business owners.
“We’ve been thinking about establishing our own firm since ’06-’07,” when the group was a Smith Barney team, said McNeil (left), the group’s chief investment officer, in an interview with AdvisorOne.
One catalyst for the move, he says, was Morgan Stanley’s purchase of Smith Barney. And the second was the financial crisis of ’08. “Firms like LPL, Fidelity and other came to the forefront when it comes to putting clients first, which is where we felt more comfortable,” McNeil explained.
Ibis Capital is partnering with Stratos Wealth Partners, which serves as the team’s RIA and is a national network of reps affiliated with LPL. The group has also chosen Fidelity Institutional as its custodian.
The team initially wanted to go fully independent, but then decided working with a broker-dealer and an RIA “offered the best of both worlds,” in terms of the tools available for both investing and financial planning, the advisor says.
“We find this [new structure] changes the dynamic of relations with our clients. We can speak at their level as business owners, and they have a true understanding of what we want to accomplish and that we operate are at same level with them — autonomously,” McNeil said.
In addition, the open architecture, fee-based structure, performance reporting and retirement-planning options available to the team are now greatly enhanced, McNeil shares.