Private Advisor Group, the registered investment advisor and office of supervisory jurisdiction affiliated with LPL, landed the seasoned wealth management executive Robert “RJ” Moore as its new top executive, according to an announcement the New Jersey–based RIA made Wednesday. Moore is the former president of LPL Financial and was, until 2019, chief executive officer of Cetera.
John Hyland and Patrick Sullivan, the co-founders and managing directors of Private Advisor Group, said they and the rest of the leadership team will report to Moore, a first for a company that has struggled to formalize its executive leadership hierarchy throughout since the duo founded the firm 23 years ago.
“John [Hyland] and I are more seat-of-the-pants type of advisors, so to get to the next level, we need someone who can operationally get us there and also is a visionary,” said Sullivan. “In RJ we get a visionary, an operator and really a friend.”
Last year, Private Advisor Group, an RIA which manages $21 billion in assets under management, started building out that leadership team with the hire of Jim Hooks as chief compliance officer and Berta Aldrich, its chief marketing and human resource officer.
The co-founders will remain involved in strategic planning, recruitment and relationship building with advisors and clients, they said.
Moore will focus on attracting additional advisors to Private Advisor Group’s existing network of more than 650 advisors, further integrating the firm's technology platform and continuing to evolve the RIA's value proposition for advisors to the end clients, Moore said. He’ll also oversee the firm’s partnerships with custodians Fidelity, Schwab, Pershing and broker/dealer LPL Financial, according to the firm.
Moore conceded that 2021 looks to be a challenging year for any kind of transition, with the pandemic and political tensions, as well as a shaky economy and volatile markets.
“That doesn’t concern me or frighten me. Quite the opposite," he said. "I have felt that a firm like Private Advisor Group in a period of adversity is doubly attractive to those who want to affiliate with a reputable partner that’s capable of helping them navigate through tougher times. Our priority will be to make as much use of that adversity as possible.”
Hyland and Sullivan said they’ve known Moore since he presided over LPL Financial’s advisor and institution solutions and its national sales desk.
Jon Henschen, president of Henschen & Associates, a recruiting and consulting firm, said Moore would be an asset to Private Advisor Group’s growth, while pointing out that it may be awkward as it brings him back, in a way, to LPL, where Moore served as president until 2015.
Some speculate Moore left LPL in 2015 after it was clear he would not be heir to Mark Casady for the role of CEO. When Casady left LPL in 2017, that role went instead to Dan Arnold. In his current role, however, Moore will be on the other side of the table from LPL as head of an advisory network that chooses to trade securities through his former firm.
After LPL, Moore was appointed CEO of Cetera in September 2016 after the independent b/d network emerged from bankruptcy following a tumultuous period under real estate executive Nicholas Schorsch. Moore replaced Larry Roth, who had served in the role since May 2014. Moore's task in revitalizing the b/d was a challenging one—the firm carried a significant level of debt, and, while its growth strategy was starting to accelerate, it has not had the business trajectory initially expected.
Moore departed Cetera suddenly in 2019, citing medical reasons. Moore said he spent much of his time away from the industry taking care of his health, as well as traveling, boating and reading, and is ready to reenter the industry.
The 59-year-old was radio silent for half a year before he popped up in September with a real estate investment trust that invests in government-backed residential mortgages. He started the REIT with an old colleague, Andy Weimer, from his days at ABN AMRO/LaSalle Bank, a regional bank holding company. Weimer now helms the REIT alone as Moore has stepped away from the position to focus on Private Advisor Group.
“We’ve shown at Private Advisor Group that we have a history of investing in the business and this is a way of investing in the business for our advisors. This is a young management team and we have a long road ahead of us. We’re going to build something really cool and we’re going to attract a lot of advisors to Private Advisor Group,” said Sullivan.