Advisor Group Expands Senior Leadership Team, Hires Former LPL Executive

Advisor Group, one of the nation’s largest wealth management firms, has expanded its leadership team following its recent merger with Ladenburg Thalmann. The management group includes executives from both companies, as well as the new addition of Gregory Cornick, a senior executive who previously worked at LPL Financial.

The company’s affiliated broker-dealers include FSC Securities Corporation, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial, Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network (SSN).

Gregory Cornick has been appointed to the newly created role of president of advice and wealth management, and previously served as LPL’s executive vice president, treasurer and head of corporate development and advisor financial solutions.

Cornick will oversee execution of Advisor Group’s financial professional-facing strategy, tactics and initiatives, and the leadership teams for each of Advisor Group’s wealth management firms will report directly to him. Additionally, Cornick will have oversight of Advisor Group’s marketing, national sales and central supervision functions that support each of the network’s wealth management firms.

Gregg Johnson, Securities America’s executive vice president of branch office development and acquisitions, has been named executive vice president of recruiting and revenue acquisition for Advisor Group, a newly created position.

Johnson will oversee all financial professional recruiting as well as team and branch-level acquisitions across the Advisor Group network of firms and will work with marketing to drive lead generation initiatives, while overseeing financial professional transitions. The heads of recruiting across all nine wealth management firms will dually report to him as well as to their respective firm presidents.

Cindy Hamel has expanded her responsibilities from executive vice president of strategic initiatives to chief strategy and corporate development officer. In her new role, Hamel will be responsible for reviewing and refining Advisor Group’s multi-year strategic and investment planning process.

Matthew Schlueter has been named president of products and platforms, with oversight of Ladenburg subsidiaries Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management (LTAM), Premier Trust and the Highland Capital Brokerage insurance business.

Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., the middle market investment bank, will report to Jamie Price, Advisor Group’s president and chief executive officer.

Advisor Group serves approximately 11,300 financial professionals that oversee more than $450 billion in client assets.

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.


Ladenburg Thalmann Completes Merger with Advisor Group

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc., a financial services company, has completed its merger with Advisor Group Inc., one of the nation’s largest networks of independent wealth management firms. Ladenburg shareholders approved the merger last month.

As previously reported, Ladenburg agreed to be acquired by Advisor Group through a cash merger, and each outstanding share of Ladenburg’s common stock was converted into a cash payment of $3.50 per share. The combined company has nine broker-dealers, with nearly 11,500 financial advisors and more than $450 billion in client assets.

Advisor Group’s firms include FSC Securities Corporation, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial. Ladenburg’s independent advisory and brokerage firms include Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network (SSN).

In connection with the closing, Ladenburg’s common shares have been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.


Ladenburg Shareholders Approve Merger with Advisor Group

Shareholders of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services (NYSE: LTS), a publicly traded financial services firm, have approved the company’s proposed merger with Advisor Group, one of the nation’s largest networks of independent wealth management firms.

At the company’s special meeting of stockholders, approximately 104.1 million shares voted for the merger, 8.6 million voted against, and nearly 400,000 abstained.

As previously reported, Ladenburg agreed to be acquired by Advisor Group through a cash merger, and each outstanding share of Ladenburg’s common stock will be converted into a cash payment of $3.50 per share. The combined company will have nine broker-dealers, with nearly 11,500 financial advisors and more than $450 billion in client assets.

The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $1.3 billion, taking into account Ladenburg’s common stock, preferred stock and outstanding debt. Following the merger, Ladenburg’s firms will not be merged with Advisor Group’s firms and will continue to operate under a multi-brand network model of firms.

The shareholder approval satisfies one of the conditions to the closing of the pending transaction. The firms have also received regulatory approval from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in connection with the merger and expect to be complete the transaction this month.

According to the company’s last quarterly financial filing, Ladenburg disclosed that its former chairman and largest shareholder, Phillip Frost, filed a lawsuit to stop the merger. The firm also disclosed an addition five complaints related to the proposed transaction. Ladenburg said that it believes the lawsuits are without merit and intends to “defend vigorously” against the allegations.

Advisor Group serves more than 7,000 advisors and oversees $271 billion in client assets. Its network of firms consists of FSC Securities Corporation, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial. Ladenburg’s independent advisory and brokerage firms include Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network (SSN).

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.


Former Ladenburg Chairman Files Lawsuit to Halt Advisor Group Merger

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc.’s former chairman and its largest shareholder, Phillip Frost, has filed a lawsuit against the firm following its proposed merger with Advisor Group, which was announced last month. The story was first reported by Investment News.

Advisor Group, one of the nation’s largest networks of independent wealth management firms, and Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE: LTS), a publicly traded financial services company, signed a definitive merger agreement last month to join the two companies. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020.

According to the company’s latest quarterly financial filing, December 20th, Frost and Frost Nevada Investments Trust filed a lawsuit against Ladenburg Thalmann and its board members claiming that the board’s “determination to enter into the merger agreement disregards obligations owed to them as holders of certain notes issued by the company.”

The complaint seeks monetary damages, rescission of the transaction in which Frost sold a substantial portion of shares of common stock to the company, and an injunction against the merger.

Also, in December, three shareholders filed individual complaints against Ladenburg and its board in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, while two other shareholders filed class action lawsuits against the company, the board, Advisor Group and the merger subsidiary in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

All five complaints allege that Ladenburg and the individual defendants violated federal securities laws by disseminating a preliminary proxy statement that included allegedly material misstatements or omissions about the merger.

According to the filing, the complaints allege that “the preliminary proxy statement omits or misrepresents material information concerning management projections, the valuation analyses that support the fairness opinion provided by Jefferies, the sales process, and potential conflicts of interest faced by the members of the board and the executive officers of the company.”

Each complaint seeks an order preliminarily and permanently enjoining the merger until the allegedly omitted information is disclosed, a rescission of the merger or an award of damages in the event the merger is consummated, and an award of plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs.

Ladenburg Thalmann believes the lawsuits are without merit and intends to “defend vigorously” against the allegations.

As previously reported, Ladenburg has agreed to be acquired by Advisor Group through a cash merger, and each outstanding share of Ladenburg’s common stock will be converted into a cash payment of $3.50 per share. The combined company will have nine broker-dealers, with nearly 11,500 financial advisors and more than $450 billion in client assets.

The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $1.3 billion, taking into account Ladenburg’s common stock, preferred stock and outstanding debt. The definitive merger agreement and the transactions were unanimously approved by Ladenburg’s board.

Following the merger, Ladenburg’s firms will not be merged with Advisor Group’s firms and will continue to operate under a multi-brand network model of firms.

Advisor Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest networks of independent financial advisors serving more than 7,000 advisors and overseeing $271 billion in client assets. Its network of firms consists of FSC Securities Corporation, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial. Ladenburg’s independent advisory and brokerage firms include Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network (SSN).

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.


Securities America Nabs $560 Million Hybrid

Securities America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE: LTS), has added Goldstein & Associates, an independent wealth management firm based in Wisconsin, to its platform through one of its affiliated corporate RIAs, Arbor Point Advisors.

The firm’s six-advisor team has $565 million in total client assets and is led by founder and chief executive officer Jon Goldstein, who was previously affiliated with Ameriprise Financial Services.

Goldstein heads the firm’s Middleton headquarters, while its Lake Geneva office is led by advisor David Sharpe. The firm‘s producing advisors include Goldstein, Sharpe, Adam Peters, Lisa Spadoni, Amanda Gausewitz, and Kyle Kerkenbush.

Arbor Point Advisors has added more than $1 billion in advisory assets in the last year and expanded its total advisory assets to nearly $4 billion.

Securities America is one of the nation’s largest independent advisory and brokerage firms, with 2,600 independent advisors and approximately $97 billion in client assets as of September 30, 2019.

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.


Securities America Launches Super OSJ With Former SA Stone Wealth Management Broker

Securities America, a subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE: LTS), has partnered with wealth management industry veteran David Pintaric to launch his super office of supervisory jurisdiction (OSJ), William R. Pintaric & Associates LLC, in Youngstown, Ohio.

Pintaric plans to work with Securities America’s recruiting team and leverage his industry contacts to recruit new advisors to the firm. In turn, Securities America will assist in developing his new brand and help raise his profile on social media platforms.

The name of the firm, William R. Pintaric & Associates LLC, is a tribute to his father, a financial advisor and founder of WRP Investments. Following in his father’s footsteps, Pintaric led his own broker-dealer and served as a national director of sales and practice management at SA Stone Wealth Management.

Securities America is one of the nation’s largest independent advisory and brokerage firms with 2,600 independent advisors and approximately $97 billion in client assets as of September 30, 2019.

Click here to visit The Di Wire directory sponsor page.


Ladenburg Discloses Complaints Against Subsidiary Broker-Dealer Over GPB Sales

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services (NYSE: LTS), a publicly traded financial services firm, disclosed in its quarterly financial report that multiple arbitration claims and one class action lawsuit were filed against Triad, one of its broker-dealer subsidiaries, relating to the sale of private placements sponsored by GPB Capital Holdings.

GPB Capital is a New York-based alternative asset management firm, that focuses on acquiring private companies in various industries, including the automotive retail and waste management sectors, and raised more than $1.8 billion in investor equity through various private placement offerings.

Ladenburg noted that from July to October 2019, six customers filed arbitration claims against Triad, alleging negligence in permitting its registered representatives to solicit investments in private placements offered by GPB because of purported excessive risk and unsuitability.

The claims include negligence, breach of contract, failure to supervise, and breach of fiduciary duty, with total compensatory damages of nearly $1.7 million.

Triad was also named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit, as reported by The DI Wire last week, along with 75 other broker-dealers that sold GPB investment products.

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in October 2019 and alleges fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and violations of the Texas Securities Act. Damages are unspecified, but Triad said that it intends to “vigorously defend against all of these matters.”

The complaint claims that GPB was operating as a Ponzi scheme and charged “exorbitant” fees of up to 20 percent, with sales commissions of approximately 11 percent.

GPB suspended its fundraising efforts and redemptions in August 2018 to focus on accounting and financial reporting on two of its funds, the GPB Automotive Portfolio and the GPB Holdings II. The audited financial statements were expected at the end of September 2019 but were delayed until the end of the year due to “new challenges” facing the company.

In other company news, yesterday, Ladenburg announced that it plans to merge with Advisor Group, one of the nation’s largest networks of independent wealth management firms. Ladenburg agreed to be acquired by Advisor Group through a cash merger, and the combined company will have nine broker-dealers, with nearly 11,500 financial advisors and more than $450 billion in client assets. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020.

Ladenburg’s five independent broker-dealer subsidiaries include Securities America, Triad Advisors, Securities Service Network, Investacorp and KMS Financial Services.

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.


Advisor Group and Ladenburg Thalmann to Merge in $1.3 Billion Deal

Advisor Group, one of the nation’s largest networks of independent wealth management firms, and Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE: LTS), a publicly traded financial services company, have signed a definitive merger agreement to join the two companies. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020.

Ladenburg has agreed to be acquired by Advisor Group through a cash merger, and each outstanding share of Ladenburg’s common stock will be converted into a cash payment of $3.50 per share. The combined company will have nine broker-dealers, with nearly 11,500 financial advisors and more than $450 billion in client assets.

Ladenburg stock closed at $2.81 on Monday but shot up 21.7 percent to $3.42 in after-hours trading following the announcement.

The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $1.3 billion, taking into account Ladenburg’s common stock, preferred stock and outstanding debt. The definitive merger agreement and the transactions were unanimously approved by Ladenburg’s board.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of Ladenburg’s shareholders, as well as required regulatory clearances and approvals.

Following the completion of this transaction, the expanded Advisor Group organization will continue to be led by its current chief executive officer and president, Jamie Price. When the transaction is completed, Advisor Group’s leadership team will include senior executives from both companies.

Ladenburg’s firms will not be merged with Advisor Group’s firms and will continue to operate under a multi-brand network model of firms.

Advisor Group’s network of firms consists of FSC Securities Corporation, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial. Ladenburg’s independent advisory and brokerage firms include Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network (SSN).

Additional Ladenburg subsidiaries include Highland Capital Brokerage, an insurance solutions brokerage; Premier Trust, a financial advisor-focused trust services company; and Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., a middle market investment bank.

“This is a transaction that maximizes value for our shareholders, while positioning our financial advisors for continued growth and success,” said Ladenburg chairman, president and CEO Richard Lampen. “We have always been impressed with Advisor Group’s platform, offerings and leadership.”

Because both firms use Pershing and National Financial (part of Fidelity Custody & Clearing Solutions) as their largest clearing providers, no repapering of client accounts will be necessary in connection with the transaction and its closing.

Advisor Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest networks of independent financial advisors serving more than 7,000 advisors and overseeing $271 billion in client assets.

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.


Ladenburg Thalmann Purportedly Up for Sale

Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services (NYSE: LTS), a publicly traded financial services firm, is reportedly eyeing a potential sale, according to industry reports, citing anonymous sources close to the matter.

Ladenburg’s five independent broker-dealer subsidiaries, which include Securities America, Triad Advisors, Securities Service Network, Investacorp and KMS Financial Services, generated $1.38 billion last year and had 4,400 financial advisors.

Ladenburg has reportedly been working with a financial advisor to solicit offers, but may remain independent since no final decision has been made at this time.

On Wednesday, Ladenburg’s chairman and chief executive officer, Richard Lampen, sent an email to advisors relating to the industry reports.

“Ladenburg has shown strong performance on a standalone basis,” said Lampen. “Since our acquisition of Securities America in 2011, we have experienced dramatic growth in client assets, impressive operating financial performance, growth of our nationwide network of independent financial advisors and robust results from our capital markets and investment banking business. By any measure, Ladenburg today ranks among the leaders in the independent advisory and brokerage industry.”

He added, “Rest assured we remain committed to our financial advisers and their clients, as well as to our open architecture platform and our multiple clearing and custody partners. Everyone at Ladenburg remains focused on running the business and continuing to serve your needs. If you are asked about this news by your clients, you can assure them that it is business as usual.”

Shares of LTS hovered around $2.00 before the first news story was released on Tuesday and closed at $2.45 on Wednesday. The firm reportedly has a market value at about $305 million.

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.


KMS Financial Recruits Practice with $230 Million in Client Assets

KMS Financial Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE: LTS), has recruited Patrick Funke & Associates, an investment firm specializing in qualified retirement plans with $230 million in client assets.

Based in Phoenix, Patrick Funke & Associates is led by Patrick Funke, a 29-year financial services industry veteran who serves as president of the firm. Funke works alongside his wife, Jennifer, who incorporates her background as an educator into her role as a licensed sales associate at the practice.

Prior to KMS, Funke spent 14 years affiliated with Geneos Wealth Management, according to his Brokercheck profile.

KMS has added a number of other practices to the platform since the beginning of the summer, all of which have combined assets under administration totaling just over $380 million, including Gottier Investments based in Windson, Connecticut with $116 million and Aeon Wealth Management in Sterling, Virginia with $139 million.

KMS Financial Services, an independent advisory and brokerage firm founded in 1971, had $16.4 billion in client assets and 366 investment professionals, as of December 31, 2018.

Click here to visit The DI Wire directory sponsor page.