Cambridge Investment Research, the Fairfield, Iowa-based independent broker/dealer, has hired Dee Morgan, a former vice president at LPL Financial, as senior vice president of strategic acquisitions. Morgan, who focused on both recruiting and acquisitions at LPL, replaces Stephen Chipman, who died earlier this year.
Morgan will lead the firm in a more dedicated effort in acquisitions of both broker/dealers and registered investment advisors. His responsibilities include evaluation and execution of public and private company acquisitions, asset divestitures and restructurings, minority investments and other strategic initiatives.
Prior to joining Cambridge, Morgan was a vice president of recruiting and licensing at First Command Financial Services. Before that, he worked at LPL.
Cambridge had always been a bit reactive with its acquisition strategy, said Jeff Vivacqua, president of growth and development at the firm. This role represents a more proactive approach. The firm has always supported advisors of all revenue models, whether that’s commission-only, hybrid or fee-only advisors. But with RIA owners, it’s historically been more of a recruiting conversation.
“Those same RIA owners—they could have the same need to take some chips off the table, sell a small piece or sell all of it,” he said. “And whatever their succession or continuity plan is, we want them to know that the solutions can all exist right here at Cambridge. They don’t have to go looking outside to another aggregator. They don’t have to go looking for another RIA to merge with. Those options can exist right here, where we could be a potential buyer of some or all of it, if they have next generation leadership. And we say that to our own advisors.”
Vivacqua said Cambridge’s strategy is different than other buyers out there, in that it offers more flexibility in how a broker/dealer or RIA wants to transact.
“For Cambridge’s strategy, I think we’re a little different than some of the other firms when we approach acquisitions because we’ll look at minority, majority or 100% acquisition discussions,” he said. “There’s still conversations and potential with a lot of firms that could be looking for options that don’t exist with other potential buyers.”
Cambridge currently serves just under 4,000 advisors and $155 billion in total assets. Some 70% of its revenue comes from fees.