Advisor Group said late Monday that — as had been anticipated — it’s buying Ladenburg Thalmann. This merger brings together up to 11,500 independent advisors, nine broker-dealers, $3.5 billion in yearly revenue and $450 billion in assets.
What asked about his view of the deal, recruiter Jon Henschen said the timing is good given the industry’s embrace of a fiduciary standard.
Uniting two firms that are “dual-clearing friendly will give the opportunity to CFPs and those that adhere to a fiduciary standard to offer best pricing and best choices to their clients,” Henschen said.
It also helps the firm position itself as “the LPL alternative,” Henschen said, referring to a term he’d heard from a manager with the newly formed firm. (LPL Financial — like rivals Ameriprise Financial and Raymond James — is self-clearing.)
As for what would make the combined entities’ advisors happy and improve retention, “The best gift is to make no changes and to keep the process as paperless and seamless as possible, while making things better overall for advisors,” the veteran recruiter said.
As part of keeping the management and different broker-dealers’ cultures in place, “I wouldn’t mess with staffing or pricing,” he added. “You don’t want to rock the boat.”
In terms of how the deal could benefit advisors, “There’s new scale that could bring lower ticket charges and lower administrative fees on advisory services,” Henschen said.
Plus, Advisor Group’s advisors should gain access to Ladenburg’s IPOs, trust and other offerings, such as certain model-portfolio platforms.
Discussing the next steps of the deal, which should wrap up in the first half of 2020, Advisor Group President and CEO Jamie Price was cautiously noncommittal when asked about any retention bonuses for the Ladenburg-affiliated reps. “There is not a ready answer for that today,” he said in an interview early Tuesday.
“First, the merger involves no putting of Advisor Group firms into Ladenburg firms [or] Ladenburg firms into Advisor Group firms,” Price explained.