LPL Financial Welcomes Burns, Toussaint & Associates

LPL Financial LLC, a leading retail investment advisory firm and independent broker-dealer, today announced that financial advisors Wesley Burns and Antoine Toussaint have joined LPL Financial’s broker-dealer and corporate registered investment advisor (RIA) platforms, aligning with The Financial Services Network, an existing LPL large enterprise. The advisors reported having served approximately $180 million in brokerage and advisory assets*. They join from Northwestern Mutual Investment Services.

The two are best friends and college roommates who teamed up last year to form Burns, Toussaint & Associates. Both fathers of little girls, their goal is to build a lasting legacy as successful African-American wealth managers. “Neither of us came from money, and we really pushed each other to get to where we are today,” Burns said. “Generational wealth in the black community is rare, but we want to break that mold and build something that’s bigger than ourselves.”

Their Seattle-based practice includes office support from Joleen Powell and Dajeanne Washington. “We want our team to reflect the city we live in. It helps having women and different cultures represented on our team,” Toussaint said. They are highly active in organizations that empower their community, with Toussaint volunteering with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters and Burns on the board of Safe Crossing Foundation.

LPL Financial Provides More Independence

The team chose to move to LPL and The Network seeking more independence in how they operate their business. “We know LPL and The Network are dedicated to helping their advisors grow and provide the support and resources to help us run our business as we see fit,” Toussaint said. The advisors also noted LPL’s integrated technology as a key factor in their decision to move their business. Burns added, “We pride ourselves on our white glove service, and LPL will strengthen our offering. We are now able to leverage technology that is relevant to our needs, with ClientWorks connecting it all.”

Daxs Stadjuhar, managing partner with The Financial Services Network, said, “The Network is delighted to partner with Wesley and Antoine. In addition to the valued services and advice they provide their clients, they have formally mentored and trained a community of young financial professionals coming into the industry to help develop the next generation of advisors. We are privileged to support their business, clients and efforts within their community.”

Rich Steinmeier, LPL Financial managing director and divisional president, Business Development, said, “We welcome Antoine and Wesley and their team to the LPL family. Their commitment and belief in each other is inspiring. We are proud they have chosen to partner with LPL as they work toward creating a business that can help their clients build lasting wealth. We are highly committed to leveraging our scale to invest in technology and resources to help advisors support the growing needs of their clients. We look forward to supporting Burns, Toussaint & Associates for years to come.”

Read about other firms that recently joined LPL in the LPL Financial News and Media section of LPL.com.

Learn more about LPL’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Advisors, find a recruiter near you.

About LPL Financial

LPL Financial is a leader in the retail financial advice market and the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer**. We serve independent financial advisors and financial institutions, providing them with the technology, research, clearing and compliance services, and practice management programs they need to create and grow thriving practices. LPL enables them to provide objective guidance to millions of American families seeking wealth management, retirement planning, financial planning and asset management solutions.

Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA / SIPC.

Burns, Toussaint & Associates and LPL Financial are separate entities.

*Based on prior business and represents assets that would have been custodied at LPL Financial, rather than third-party custodians. Reported assets and client numbers have not been independently and fully verified by LPL Financial.

**Based on total revenues, Financial Planning magazine June 1996-2019

The Financial Services Network Energizes Portfolio Team with Orion Tech

The Financial Services Network (The Network), a leading LPL Financial Enterprise Office, announced today that they will be partnering with Orion Advisor Technology, LLC (“Orion”), a division of Orion Advisor Solutions and the premier provider of financial advisor technology and investment solutions, to support the organization’s Portfolio Consulting services arm.

The Portfolio Consulting team offers customized research, trading and overlay portfolio management through their Enterprise Office/Multi-custodial Hybrid RIA with partnerships that include LPL Financial, Schwab, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade. The Network found a kindred spirit in Orion’s mission to innovate their platform, disrupt the status quo and help financial professionals win by realizing their unique vision for success, while fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities.

“We could not be more excited to align ourselves with Orion. With this partnership, we are rounding out our research and technology suite, including factorE, Morningstar Direct, Bloomberg and Wilshire Investments, and demonstrating our commitment to investing in top technology as we enhance our ability to support our advisors and help them take their businesses to the next level,” says Jeremy Olen, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer with The Network.

Orion gives advisors the technology and next-generation client experience to stand out in a competitive marketplace, winning clients with best in class solutions for reporting, billing and trading, along with an intuitive client portal and tools to leverage business intelligence and risk management strategies. The platform’s extensive integrations with industry leaders like eMoney, Redtail, AdvicePay and others let advisors tailor their tech stacks to drive the unique value of their businesses.

“The Network has its eyes on the future, and it understands how the right technology can transform an advisor’s practice and accelerate their growth,” says Kyle Hiatt, Orion’s Chief Revenue Officer. “we’re proud to support their Portfolio Consulting team with our platform and can’t wait to see the success they’ll enjoy with our solutions.”

“With the firm’s ability to provide an integrated platform, Orion has a unique capability to bring the right financial technology to support our back office operations and ultimately our advisor’s client facing activities” says Olen. “The ability to scale our operations, and in turn those of our advisors, will positively drive client outcomes, which is the goal towards which we consistently strive.”

The Financial Services Network (The Network) – http://www.fsnweb.com, is a national enterprise office (OSJ) and multi-custodial hybrid RIA with over $16B under advisement across the organization. Assets are custodied at their affiliated broker/dealer – LPL Financial, and/or their custodial partners, including LPL Financial, Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade. Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG) is The Network’s wholly owned RIA with over $3.5B in assets under management. The Network supports advisors who are independent and affiliate traditionally with an independent broker/dealer (for both brokerage and advisory business through the corporate RIA) through their OSJ model. The Network’s hybrid RIA, SWAG, also supports advisors who manage a Fee Only/RIA Only business as well as those in need of a Hybrid RIA.

Portfolio Consulting is a service provided through The Network that provides customized portfolio solutions for advisors that are proprietary to each independent advisor’s practice. The service includes customized model creation, investment research and due diligence, monitoring, trading/rebalancing, tax harvesting, concentrated stock management, investment committee meetings, as well as trade logs, rationale and documentation modeled after an institutional investment process. Overseeing nearly $2B in assets, the firm is currently providing services to select group of advisors with assets custodied at LPL Financial, Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade.

The consultants of The Financial Services Network are registered representatives with, and securities are offered through, LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Fee-based investment advisory services may be offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG) or LPL Financial. Neither SWAG nor The Financial Services Network are affiliated with LPL Financial. Schwab, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade are separate entities from LPL Financial.

About Orion

About Orion Advisor Tech
Orion Advisor Technology, LLC, exists to help fiduciary minded advisors realize their unique vision for success. Our innovative technology includes client experience tools, tax-intelligent rebalancing, efficient billing, integrated planning, and automated compliance monitoring, all aimed at empowering advisors to improve their firm’s productivity, strengthen client relationships, and disrupt traditional ways of thinking. With more than $930+ billion in AUA and 3.3 million accounts on our platform, we have the experience and expertise necessary to help advisors grow and win more than their fair share. For more information, visit http://www.orion.com.

LPL Financial Welcomes Financial Advisor Stacey Williams

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dec. 23, 2019 – LPL Financial LLC, a leading retail investment advisory firm and independent broker-dealer, today announced that financial advisor Stacey Williams has joined LPL Financial’s broker-dealer and corporate registered investment advisor (RIA) platforms, aligning with The Financial Services Network, an existing LPL firm. She reported having served approximately $160 million in brokerage, advisory and retirement plan assets*. She joins from Bank of Hawaii’s Bankoh Investment Services.

Williams joins her husband, longtime LPL advisor Rob Williams, at ARA Wealth Management Group in Hilo, Hawaii. With more than 28 years of banking experience and 20 years in the financial services industry, her primary focus is retirement planning. She is eager to begin the next stage of her career as an independent financial advisor.

“It’s been a goal and dream to work with my husband, using our individual strengths to grow our business together,” Stacey Williams said. “The move was part of a succession plan so that Rob and I can get to know each other’s clients. We believe the team approach will help us better serve our clients.”

LPL Will Help Better Serve Clients

Williams added, “I’m so excited to partner with LPL and The Financial Services Network. Their innovative technology, resources, services and product access will help enhance the client experience. Already, their transition support has been outstanding.”

The mother of five and grandmother of two is passionate about educating youth in financial literacy. In her spare time, Williams volunteers for various organizations and schools. She serves as director for Junior Achievement of Hawai`i Island and is on the advisory board for The Salvation Army Hilo Temple. She’s also a board member for E.B. de Silva Elementary School.

“We are honored to welcome Stacey Williams to The Network,” said Christopher Mercado, managing partner and chief investment strategist with The Financial Services Network. “We are privileged to be a part of her integration as she joins her husband Rob Williams to enhance an already successful wealth management practice.”

Rich Steinmeier, LPL Financial managing director and divisional president, Business Development, said, “We welcome Stacey to LPL as she begins the next chapter of her career, and congratulate The Financial Services Network on expanding its network of quality advisors. The independent business model gives advisors the freedom and flexibility to provide objective financial guidance to their clients. We will continue leveraging our scale to offer the technology, service and other wealth management resources that deliver value and help address the evolving needs of America’s investors.”

*Based on prior business and represents assets that would have been custodied at LPL Financial, rather than third-party custodians. Reported assets and client numbers have not been independently and fully verified by LPL Financial.

Modern Practice Management, Pt. 2: Why Small RIAs Are Stranded When Succession Planning

While the conversation of legacy planning is common for financial advisors, the primary focus is with clients around their personal financial planning goals.  Unfortunately, it is too frequent that advisors overlook and put off their own personal legacy and succession planning needs. According to The FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay, 34% of respondents reported not having a succession plan in place for the firm.  What is perhaps even more alarming is that the majority of those with succession plans do not adequately address their business needs.

According to The FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay, 34% of respondents reported not having a succession plan in place for the firm.  What is perhaps even more alarming is that the majority of those with succession plans do not adequately address their business needs.

Data as of 2017; Source: The FA Insight Study of Advisory Firms: People and Pay

In a previous article, I discussed the 4 mistakes to avoid when planning your succession. It’s critical for all advisors to know what’s at stake when transferring business ownership, in the case of death or disability.

To those who may not be prioritizing succession planning or simply know you could be doing more—this article is for you.

The State of Succession Planning

Most established broker-dealers have an already built-in succession and contingency plan to help protect advisors and their practices. In the wirehouse or regional model, it is not uncommon for the clients of a retired or unexpectedly deceased advisor to be redistributed to other advisors in the branch office.  Previously, there was no form of compensation offered to the surviving spouse or beneficiaries as a result of an unexpected death/disability, nor to the advisor in a planned retirement.  Now, the wirehouses and regional firms are getting better about providing payment – albeit it is often nominal.  It also is not consistent across firms, so it is the responsibility of the advisor to make certain they understand what is available to them.   

The independent broker-dealer community best addresses this gap in the industry by providing advisors with readily available business continuity and succession plan opportunities.  Independent advisors have many of the following resources available to help with planning:

  • The advisor can identify and document a named successor to their firm in case of either a planned or unplanned life event using simple, internal broker-dealer documents.  This can also be established through a more formal, customized contract with various valuation, funding and protective strategies for all parties.
  • The advisor can assign the broker-dealer as the successor to provide funding to their estate and move accounts to another advisor affiliated with that broker-dealer.  One of the benefits of partnering with a larger, established independent firm is that they can oversee the process from financing, transiting and selecting the successor.
  • The advisor can also assign guardianship to their Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction (OSJ) partner, for more localized support, transition and integration into another office. This is a highly effective strategy with large enterprise offices.

Standard multiples for contingency plan payouts range between 1.5-2.5x multiples based on total practice revenues on an earn out.  It is very common to see things structured at 50% of revenues over 4 years to be paid to the surviving spouse, beneficiary or estate.  However, a formal, contracted plan will typically fetch 2-3.5x multiples on total practice revenues based on a valuation with fixed payments, larger upfront monies and shorter terms.

There are no excuses for an independent financial advisor not to have a proper contingency and succession plan in place. If you do not, take steps immediately to do so for the benefit of your clients and family.  And while you can take quick action with many “form-based” plans (they are better than nothing), I want to emphasize the importance of finding and working with the right partners to help you through creating a custom contingency and succession plan, including the deal structure valuation process, terms, financing, etc.   

However, there’s another type of advisor who is most at risk when succession planning that needs to pay particular attention—the solo practitioner who conducts business through their own RIA or Hybrid RIA.

Why Small RIAs are Stranded and at RISK

Solo practitioners who conduct business through their own RIA—regardless if it is a hybrid model or fee-only practice—benefit from being independent, but they also are figuratively stranded on a deserted island if they don’t adequately plan.

“Over the past couple of years our attorneys have seen this as a growing pain point for the industry,” said Michelle L. Jacko, Managing Partner of Jacko Law Group P.C. “Regardless the size of the firm, a plan should be in place for any untimely or unexpected event. Firms need to be proactive and cover the bases when navigating any form of succession plan.”

Let’s take John for example, an advisor whose CPA recently called asking if he would be interested in buying the his deceased brothers-in-law’s practice. The deceased advisor was a solo practitioner with a fee-only practice advisory firm with $20 million AUM custodied at a single custodian; he had no succession or continuity plan in place, and the death was sudden.

John contacted us for guidance.  He asked if he could buy the deceased advisor’s practice, and we posed the simple question: “Legally buy what and from whom?”

The deceased advisor did not have a defined succession or contingency plan in place.  Since he conducted his business through his own RIA, he did not have an RIA to RIA agreement that allowed him to share client information with another entity.  Moreover, his RIA had not named a successor owner, i.e. someone who could engage with another RIA firm to discuss partnership.  Finally, the RIA did not have the proper information sharing disclosures in place. 

So, here was the rundown:

  • No contingency or succession in place with another RIA firm
  • No information sharing arrangements with another RIA as a result of succession or contingency event
  • No contingent officer in the RIA to at least “sell” a client list (refer to the aforementioned bullet)
  • No information could be legally shared with anyone, by anyone

Ugh.

For numerous small RIAs across the country, this is a real concern.

Even the most simplistic purchase agreement for an RIA requires several steps prior to execution:

  • Engagement of third-party to determine business valuation;
  • Consultation with attorneys to negotiation terms;
  • Filing updated Forms ADV and preparing other disclosures documents to reflect new ownership; and
  • Client disclosures to acknowledge transfer of ownership.

If this sounds like a logistical nightmare, that’s because it can be! Small RIAs often pride themselves on being some of the most “independent of the independents” of the financial services industry, but this means that they’re isolated without legitimate succession planning—creating a mass of red tape that could be avoided.

“Firms sometimes don’t know what to expect when it comes to drafting or creating sufficient succession plans,” said Jacko. “Our team frequently counsels clients from the very beginning. This often includes reviewing the current corporate structure of the firm, assisting with short-, mid- and long-term succession needs, negotiating the structure and terms of buyout (including promissory notes, employee stock option plan and/or key person insurance), memorialization of the Succession Plan, and more. There are many components to ensuring any succession plan is comprehensive—firms need to understand that without an effective plan in place they’re setting their business, employees and so many other people up for headaches and complications in the future.”

Avoid the Lose-Lose-Lose Situation

When you put off such an important task as succession planning—it’s a lose-lose-lose situation for everyone involved: your business, your clients, and your family.

  • Your business loses when you don’t take the time to find the right successor. As seen in the previous section, it’s a enormous hassle to work around confidentiality and regulatory restrictions during business transfers—and who’s going to own this process after your death?  Moreover, if you have staff, well, they become immediately unemployed.
  • Your clients lose their valued relationship with their advisor, which is as difficult to replace as a doctor, counselor or other trusted professional in their lives. Don’t abandon the people you spent your career guiding because you didn’t think things through.
  • Your family loses because they’re stuck picking up the pieces during a time of mourning. You should be leaving a legacy for your loved ones, not a complicated mess that they’re likely not qualified or capable of cleaning up.

By focusing on succession planning now, before it’s too late, you can prevent wreaking havoc on all the people who matter most to you.

There’s a Better Way to Plan

If you have questions about how to establish succession and contingency strategies as an independent RIA, our team at The Financial Services Network can help. We serve over 300 advisors nationwide, offering six core areas of focus, including compliance, operations, virtual administration, and technology consulting.

We have worked with advisors who consolidated their RIA and level-up serviceability with our organization. We’ve also assisted RIAs who maintain their autonomy and leverage our scale and infrastructure to suit their needs. 

By partnering with The Financial Services Network, you gain:

  • An automatic guardianship plan to find the right successor(s)
  • Assistance and facilitation with all transition paperwork
  • Easy-to-understand messaging for your clients
  • A point of contact for your surviving spouse or beneficiary
  • Guidance on how to navigate through legal and compliance challenges

By working with experienced legal counsel who has expertise within the financial services industry like Jacko Law Group P.C., you will be taking the necessary steps to protect your practice and all of those who’s lives you impact.

We have the experience and expertise to help you, and most importantly your business, your clients and your family, through whatever the future may hold.

Need assistance with succession planning? Contact us to get started.

LPL-Aligned Firm Nabs FA Team from Royal Alliance

A pair of advisors previously affiliated with Royal Alliance in California have joined a firm aligned with LPL Financial, LPL says.

Antioch, Calif.-based Pacific Pension & Benefit Services, including financial advisors Michael Kennedy and Christopher Bott, has joined LPL’s broker-dealer and corporate RIA platforms, aligning with the Financial Services Network, which offers securities through LPL, according to a press release from LPL.

The team, which focuses on retirement plans, previously managed around $200 million at Royal Alliance, a broker-dealer on the Advisor Group network, LPL says.

In making the move, Kennedy and Bott were “[s]eeking camaraderie and access to vast resources and support,” according to the press release.

“The Network is right here in the Bay area,” Kennedy says in the press release. “We’re excited about having access to their talent, and I’m looking forward to bouncing ideas off the extensive network of like-minded advisors.”

LPL has lured several advisors from the Advisor Group network this month.

This week, LPL also added a Washington-based practice overseeing around $120 million from Woodbury Financial Services, another Advisor Group broker-dealer. Earlier this month, LPL also added two teams collectively managing $1.25 billion from FSC Securities, also on the Advisor Group network.

LPL had a successful third quarter recruiting brokers from rivals, growing its advisor ranks by 188 to 16,439.

Since then, the company has also added advisors from Cadaret, Grant, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atria Wealth SolutionsBlucora affiliate 1st Global and JPMorgan.

Two LPL-aligned OSJs have also added practices in Arizona and Iowa this month. But LPL also gave up advisors in October to Triad Advisors, a subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, as well as to Kestra Financial.