LPL's San Diego headquarters.

LPL Financial (LPLA) says it recruited 108 new financial advisors in the first quarter with at least $4.2 billion in assets. The independent broker-dealer also announced plans to give its 14,000-plus affiliated registered representatives access to a variety of Echelon Partners’ consulting services and clarified details on a recent tech outage.

Of the 108 reps joining LPL, 50 moved from Cetera Financial Group broker-dealers, including 46 that make up a team previously with Cetera Investment Services. Fourteen left Wells Fargo to go independent, while 10 moved to LPL from MML and seven from Edward Jones.

Several reps also went independent from Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan. The new recruits include 22 teams and advisors with $100 million or more in client assets, 24 groups or individual reps with $50 million to $99 million in assets, and 27 reps or teams with $30 million to $49 million in assets.

“Our first-quarter recruiting results affirmed that LPL is a destination of choice for independent financial advisors seeking to grow their businesses,” said Bill Morrissey, head of business development for the IBD, in a statement.

On Monday, LPL said it began working with investment bank Echelon so that its reps can obtain valuation, M&A, succession planning and other consulting services to help them “better manage, grow and optimize their firms,” according to a press release.

“At LPL, we remain committed to developing smarter and simpler ways to do business,” said Dan Arnold, LPL Financial CEO and president, in a statement.

Echelon is now part of the IBD’s Vendor Affinity Program, which is “a tangible way that LPL’s scale can directly impact our clients’ bottom line and further underscores the value in affiliation with LPL,” Arnold adds.

“As LPL’s advisors have grown in size and complexity, they may be seeking advanced valuation, M&A and consulting services to optimize their firms for sustainable growth and transferable value. We are thrilled to offer those services to LPL Financial advisors as a member of the Affinity Program,” Echelon CEO Dan Seivert said in a statement.

The Echelon news comes about 10 days after LPL’s advisors were without access to its tech systems.

Before the market closed on the afternoon of May 12, a construction crew in the Charlotte, North Carolina area “damaged underground cables that provide critical network connectivity for LPL,” the company says.

“Our backup connection experienced an unrelated technical issue and was unable to provide support as planned. As a result, advisors and clients were unable to access our systems, and our customer service phone capacity was severely degraded,” it explained.

Power grids are vulnerable to terrorism, a nuclear electromagnetic pulse as well as a solar EMP, which make everyone insecure, according to recruiter Jon Henschen.

“Data backups as well as power supply backups are about all a broker-dealer can do for such a situation. LPL’s faulty backup to avert the disruption is an embarrassment for the firm and reflects a lack of competence,” Henschen said.

For its part, the IBD says the cables were fixed, and the systems were functioning within 24 hours. “We regret the inconvenience this outage caused our advisors and clients, and are evaluating options to further improve resiliency,” it added.

— Check out Dan Arnold: Rising to the Top at LPL Financial – The 2017 IA 25 on ThinkAdvisor.