A former-Morgan Stanley Smith Barney team just moved to LPL Financial in a hybrid-RIA model, LPL Financial (LPLA) said Monday. The three San Diego-based advisors have about $2 million in yearly fees and commissions and some $300 million in assets.
“An LPL-Fidelity combination is very unique. LPL has traditionally not allowed such arrangements,” said Chip Roame, managing director of Tiburon Strategic Advisors, in an interview with AdvisorOne.
Earlier this month, a Merrill Lynch private-banking team with about $1.4 billion in assets joined the independent advisor-owned HighTower in New York. This is the fourth “breakaway” team to move from Merrill to HighTower, a registered investment advisory firm.
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According to Reuters, several dozen advisors and more than $10 billion in assets have moved out of Merrill since the start of the year. Merrill Lynch, though, will not confirm this data and says such figures are not accurate.
The issue, says Roame (left), is more about the importance of “trailblazers” and the broader breakaway-broker trend and less about the specifics. If some have already embraced independence, the question becomes “will many more follow?” asked the consultant. “I tend to think that if Merrill does not respond with better offers, this trend will accelerate.”