Thrivent Advisor Network has hired Gary Foster, former vice president of business development at LPL Financial, as its senior business development officer.
“Gary’s a part of our plan to really go into the market and start to offer Thrivent Advisor Network in a broader sense to purpose-driven advisors who align with our vision for how we want to grow and have a great wealth practice,” said Luke Winskowski, head of TAN and one of WealthManagement.com’s Ten to Watch in 2021.
Prior to LPL Financial, Foster worked in business development for the now defunct Motif Capital, Pershing Advisor Solutions and Raymond James Financial Services. In all those roles, Foster helped advisors go independent and built a Rolodex of contacts.
“The great thing about getting older and having a little bit of experience is the number of people that I know in the industry,” he said. “You’re able to leverage advisors you’ve met that aren’t a great fit for their current company but are a great fit for Thrivent.”
The first thing on Foster’s agenda is “buttoning up” Thrivent’s technology and advisor onboarding experience. Winskowski added Foster will focus on advisor feedback to help TAN gain a stronger sense of what advisors value the most, and from there support its efforts to recruit talent and create a sustainable staffing model.
“As we have grown in 2020, we spent more energy relying on outside consultants to help us bridge some of the gaps we hadn’t built internally. Even though it’s a nice solution because you get the expertise, it’s an expensive solution,” said Winskowski. “As we look to building a sustainable platform, part of that is building those capabilities internally, which not only reinforces the experience we want to drive but is economically more efficient—which means better value for the advisor affiliates because ultimately our economics trickle down.”
Foster is one of two recent business development hires at TAN. In October, it added Matthew Sines, who spent the majority of his 30-year financial services career at Raymond James, as a senior business development officer as well.
TAN projected that it would spend millions of its own capital toward advisor recruitment and business development in the coming years. As a fraternal benefit society (a tax-exempt insurance organization that functions like a co-op), TAN holds its own capital.
“What we’re trying to do with Thrivent Advisor Network is not build on top of our legacy architecture, but really build using the best in class and configuring that in a way that is unencumbered by that legacy system,” Winskowski said, citing United Capital as an example of that success.
Thrivent Advisor Network launched in late 2019 as a hybrid RIA spun from a legacy insurance broker/dealer. TAN brought over 130 advisors from the legacy institution and offers a b/d through Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments in Albany, N.Y. As of July, TAN managed $1.3 billion in client assets.