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$3.2 Million Team Comes Back to Securities America

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Securities America said early Tuesday that an advisor team led by Wayne Maier has returned to the broker-dealer, after spending the past six years with National Planning Corp.

Maier says that he and the five other reps on his team do more than $3.2 million in yearly fees and commission. They manage about $250 million in client assets and work on $200 million of retirement plan assets, as well, from their Bay City, Mich., office.

“We left because we thought we had unique opportunities at National Planning Corp.,” said Maier in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “The cultural differences between a Midwest broker-dealer and a California company were something we were not prepared for.”

Maier adds that NPC is “phenomenal” to work with and “did nothing wrong.”  His team “was just not used to the fast-paced culture, so things didn’t mesh well.”

About a year ago, he reached out to Securities America, which was acquired by Ladenburg Thalmann (LTS) in 2011 from Ameriprise (AMP) and has about 1,750 advisors. Maier also discussed his situation and desire to move with several other broker-dealers “to see what was going on in the marketplace.”

Maier also stayed in touch with several executives at Securities America and discussed his plans to make a move with clients.

“We are pleased to have Wayne back, he is a great advisor who takes care of his clients, and he and his staff are consummate professionals,” said Gregg Johnson, senior vice president of branch office development and acquisitions for Securities America, in an interview.

“We think this sends a signal to those reps that have left for various reasons in past … of the value in what we are doing and improvements we continue t to make,” Johnson said. “It’s a strong signal to existing advisors, as well.”

(In June, advisors Shannon Case and Mark Slattery, who had left to affiliate with SII Investments from 2006-2013, came back to Securitiies America.)

Securities America recruited advisors with about $35 million in trailing-12-month fees and commissions last year. This included 320 advisors and staff, helping make 2012 the firm’s fourth best in its past 29 years of recruiting, he says.

Forward Focus

As for this year, the BD is “on pace and cautiously optimistic that we can top last year’s results by 15% to 20% in terms of fees and commissions,” according to Johnson.

A key reason for this boost, he says, is that that Ladenburg Thalmann gives the broker-dealer access to asset management, investment banking, trust services and a fixed-income desk.

“The market sees the quality broker-dealer that Securities America is, and with the stable ownership and what Ladenburg Thalmann brings with it – in terms of additional products and services,” said Johnson. “We have lots of interest and traction in the market.”

Another boost is coming from advisors who feel they may have “outgrown their broker-dealer” and are looking for a partner to give them coaching and other tools to “take them to next level,” the executive notes.

But advisors don’t want a BD that’s “so large or growing to a size that means advisors are not getting same level of attention, care and service they want,” he says.

Johnson, an Iowa native, says that Securities America is indeed proud of its Midwest-based culture, but it is growing on the East and West Coasts, as well.  It’s also proud of the fact that it was one of the first BDs to allow hybrid RIAs to join.

“We have always fostered RIAs,” he said. “It goes hand in hand with supporting the passion that advisors have to run their practices as they see fit.”

In July, Securities America teamed with NorthStar Financial Services Group to form Arbor Point Advisors, a joint venture that aims to “fill the gap” for independent advisors looking to operate via a hybrid-business model with a choice of custodial firms and without the need to run their own RIA.

The broker-dealer also hired three regional directors to focus on recruiting in New England, other parts of the Northeast and the Northwest.


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