LPL Financial has made some significant executive hires over the past several months, as it continues to build out new channels and affiliation models.
This month, the firm brought on Kraleigh Woodford, former head of digital client experience at UBS, as a senior vice president to lead its Independent Advisor Institute, the training program it launched about two years ago. The program matches existing advisors with those just coming into the industry in an effort to provide a career path to young advisors and a possible successor to those on the brink of retirement.
“I think [the program is] more poignant than ever now, as we see what’s going on in our world, recognizing some of the challenges that our industry doesn’t reflect the diverse faces of the clients we serve,” said Rich Steinmeier, managing director of business development at LPL. “This is a role and a function for us that will be focused on, not only obviously bringing new faces in, but also bringing in more diverse advisors.”
About a year ago, the firm brought on Peter Vincent, former head of employee wealth services at UBS, to build out LPL’s employee channel, which was seeded by its acquisition of Allen & Co., a small traditional employee brokerage firm, last year. Vincent had 20 years’ experience at Merrill Lynch in branch operations and leadership and six years at UBS.
“We brought wirehouse talent over to make sure we’re meeting the mark for what we need because we think ultimately when we launch this model it’ll be attractive to wirehouse advisors,” Steinmeier said.
Vincent has been developing the offering, and he’ll drive the recruiting strategy of the channel. The firm is also seeking an executive to work alongside him, with responsibility for the profitability of the new channel, which, the independent broker/dealer says, will grow to include multi-branches. They’ll also be responsible for managing branch offices’ P&L, recruiting and retaining advisors, and building advisor relationships.
“On our independent employee model, we think it will resonate really strongly, which is: ‘I still want to move to independence; I still don’t want to be told what to do; I still want to run my own practice; I still want to own my book. But I probably need some more support,’” Steinmeier said.
The firm also recently formally launched its premium affiliation model, dubbed Strategic Wealth Services, for advisors coming out of the wirehouse and regional firms, and it’s building out that team as well. Last July, LPL hired Kimberly Sanders, former director of business consulting services at Schwab, to run Strategic Wealth Services under Marc Cohen, former chief operating officer at MarketCounsel, who came on in late 2018 to build that program out.
Steinmeier said the firm has not seen much of an impact of COVID-19 to its regular recruiting or banks and institutions recruitment. But the environment has pushed out some of the commitments in the Strategic Wealth Services channel by a quarter.
“We’ve seen other firms continue to weaken,” Steinmeier said. “None of these talents were talents that became available because of the pandemic, but we are seeing talent become available from competitors who are retrenching in this environment.”