LPL Affiliate Stratos Lands Practices in Connecticut, Utah

18 Dec    Investing News

LPL Financial-affiliated Stratos Wealth Partners has landed two practices in Connecticut and Utah that were managing more than $900 million at their former firms.

In Fairfield, Conn., Anthony Truino, a 20-year industry veteran who was managing about $430 million in assets and producing around $4 million at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance’s MML Investors Services, changed his affiliation on Friday, according to Charles Shapiro, head of recruiting at Stratos, a registered investment advisor and brokerage firm.

Truino, who moved with about four associates to Stratos, had been part of Barnum Financial Group, a 300-advisor super-agency in Shelton, Conn. that remains affiliated with MassMutual.

In Salt Lake City two weeks ago, Stratos whittled away Whittenburg Wealth Partners, which was producing about $3 million on $475 million in client assets, from insurer Lincoln Financial Group and its broker-dealer.

Daniel L. Whittenburg, a 21-year Lincoln veteran who works with his son, son-in-law and wife, said he had been searching for a new affiliation for more than three years that would actively help him acquire practices and offer better technology. He also had institutional ties to Stratos founder Jeff Concepcion, who worked at Lincoln Financial between 1998 and 2008.

“We couldn’t find the right partner to help us,” he said, noting that he reached out to Stratos after hearing Concepcion discuss growth strategies and transition financing from LPL on a podcast.

Whittenburg said he considered Raymond James Financial, Ameriprise Financial and Commonwealth Financial Network also but, ultimately, “Stratos as the RIA and LPL as the broker-dealer gave us the kind of help we wanted.”

Transition support and growth opportunities, to be sure, are increasingly common lures that independent broker-dealers have been promoting in their intramural recruiting battles. Stratos has introduced Whittenburg to early acquisition opportunities, according to the broker and to Shapiro.

LPL two weeks lost two North Carolina advisors producing about $2.6 million two weeks ago to a Cetera Advisors Network practice. Cetera’s Summit regional office introduced them to two potential practice acquisitions in their first week on the job, while they felt ignored within the larger LPL system, one of the brokers said.

On the flip side, LPL last month hired John Gatewood, a former Northwestern Mutual Investment Services broker in Missouri managing $550 million, who said he was getting more efficient technology and long-term practice transition help at his new firm than at Northwestern.

Stratos, a Beachwood, Ohio-based advisory firm, manages around $12.5 billion through its approximately 275 advisor groups. About half of the assets are in LPL brokerage accounts and the rest in advisory accounts custodied with LPL and other firms.

A spokeswoman at Mass Mutual, which purchased MetLife’s retail brokerage operations in 2016, referred a request about Whittenburg’s departure to Barnum. “It doesn’t affect us,” said Andrea Millard, a manager at Barnum, a major MetLife office.

Truino, who started his career at H&R Block Financial Advisors in 1999 and joined Met Life in 2002, did not return a request for comment about his reasons for leaving Lincoln. Truino has a single disclosure on his BrokerCheck history of a customer complaining about a variable life insurance recommendation, and the complaint was denied by Lincoln.

A Lincoln Financial spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Whittenburg’s departure.

Dan Whittenburg started his career at BMA Financial Services of Kansas City in 1991, and moved to Lincoln Financial in 1998, according to BrokerCheck. Among the three disclosures on his BrokerCheck record was one for a “misrepresented” investment in a variable annuity that settled for nearly $5 million in 2011. Another customer dispute involving managed account investments was settled for $23,000 and a third claim was denied.

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