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Advisor Group-Ladenburg Merger Is Final. What Will Happen to the BDs?

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Advisor Group says it has tied the knot with Ladenburg Thalmann, three months after it announced plans for the merger. 

The combined entity has some 11,300 affiliated financial advisors, $450 billion in client assets and nine broker-dealers. The enterprise value of the transaction was put at $1.3 billion when plans for the deal were first made public.

“The closing is a testament to the strength of both companies’ management teams, the quality and early engagement of our advisor communities and the overwhelmingly positive response from ratings agencies and our investors,” according to Jamie Price, Advisor Group’s CEO and president.

The combined entity includes FSC Securities, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial, Woodbury Financial, Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network.

No details were given as to if or how the BDs and their respective administrative staff will be consolidated. But those with the most advisor-facing roles are likely to have the greatest job security, as has been the case with prior mergers of this size. 

“You can easily see [Advisor Group] keeping the five Ladenburg BD brands, CEOs and the rest of the senior leadership with very strong relations with their advisors. At the end of the day, those executives are the ones responsible for retaining as many advisors as possible once all the dust of the deal settles,” said a person who is familiar with the deal but wished to remain anonymous because they aren’t allowed to speak about the agreement.

“As for those not in senior advisor-facing roles, especially in back-office roles that are not immediately advisor facing — where [Advisor Group] already has a strong shared-services platform, it seems most unlikely that those staff would be kept around for longer than necessary,” the person said.

Shared services typically include functions like corporate finance, accounting, marketing, information technology, human resources and so forth. 

Looking at the BDs moving to Advisor Group from Ladenburg, Securities America — given the strength of advisor base in terms of size and firm culture — is not likely to be “consolidated away,” according to the source.  

Also, Triad Advisors stands out for its “growth track record in supporting hybrid RIAs,” the source explained. “No other business in Ladenburg or Advisor Group comes close to that level of expertise and industry leadership in the space.” Thus, Advisor Group probably will keep Triad intact “as a default growth engine for initiatives within the RIA/hybrid RIA segments.”


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