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Securities America Recruited Production Jumps More Than 300% in ’12

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Thanks to the addition of sizeable groups of reps from Investors Security and Eagle One Investments and other recruiting efforts, Securities America says it increased the level of recruited fees and commissions in 2012 close to 310% from the 2011 level.

“We’re perfectly situated to address two major advisor motivators for changing broker-dealers: advisors at wirehouses and large independent broker-dealers who want more responsive customer service, and advisors at smaller firms who want better technology and help growing their business,” said Jim Nagengast (left), CEO and president of La Vista, Neb.-based Securities America, in a press release.

Securities America executives also say that the firm is actively searching for a national director of recruiting. The broker-dealer was bought by Ladenburg Thalmann (LTS) from Ameriprise Financial (AMP) in late 2011 for $150 million. It has about 1,700 advisors nationwide; it says some 300 new reps were recruited over the past 12 months or so.

In early January, it added 30 advisors from regional broker-dealer Eagle One Investments of Washington, Iowa, as affiliated reps. The Iowa group has had about $4.5 million in annual revenue.

This news came just a couple of months after Securities America recruited 130 affiliated advisors from Suffolk, Va.-based Investors Security with about $1 billion in client assets.

“The financial pressures of running a successful broker-dealer today are squeezing many smaller firms to the point where it just makes sense to affiliate with a larger entity that can spread those costs across more advisors,” Nagengast said. “At the same time, they want support from home office employees whose names, voices and faces become familiar to them. Advisors want to know their business and their clients come first—and with Securities America, they can be confident in that.”

Top Producing Advisors

Securities America said it attracted a good number of large producers and branches over the past 12 months, such as:

  • Ryan Kaufman and Koi Wealth Management, a branch with $1.3 million in revenue in Rocklin, Calif., who came over from Woodbury Financial Services;
  • John Lindsey, a former Edward Jones advisor in Westlake, Calif., who moved with about $100 million in client assets; and
  • Michael Mullis’ Kelly & Mullis Wealth Management, a Vestavia, Ala.-based, practice with $223 million in client assets that joined the firm from LPL Financial (LPLA).

Securities America says that with its parent company, Ladenburg Thalmann, advisors have capabilities that are more typically associated with a wirehouse, such as investment banking, syndicate offerings, a dedicated fixed-income desk and advisor-friendly trust services.

“In the past, we found some wirehouse advisors reluctant to give up access to investment banking, IPOs and bond inventory—even though they were often expected to sell those same investments to their clients—and the prestige those services can carry with high-net-worth clients,” said Gregg Johnson, senior vice president of branch office development and acquisitions, in a statement.

“Now advisors can have those Wall Street services for their more sophisticated clients plus the independence they want to best serve all of their clients,” Johnson added. “We’re attracting highly successful advisors who have been in positions of leadership and influence at their previous broker-dealers.”

In terms of where the 300 freshly recruited reps came from, more than 75% came over from other independent broker-dealers. Close to 10% came from the wirehouses, around 7% from financial institutions, and the remaining advisors (under 5%) from regional firms.