Cortazzo moves affiliation to LPL Financial from SII

Calls decision 'very difficult;' says focus on hybrid adviser attractive

By Bruce Kelly

Nov 9, 2012 @ 3:05 pm (Updated 3:57 pm) EST

financial adviser, LPL

Noted financial adviser Mark Cortazzo and his firm, Macro Consulting Group LLC, on Thursday became affiliated with LPL Financial LLC as the firm continued to recruit large practices while dealing with the loss of the custody business of one of its most high-profile advisers.

Since 1997, Macro Consulting Group — and Mr. Cortazzo, its senior partner — had been affiliated with SII Investments Inc., an independent-contractor broker-dealer owned by Jackson National Life Insurance Co.

The firm oversees about $660 million in client assets, managing $128 million of those directly through its own registered investment adviser.

Since August, LPL Financial has brought aboard several large advisory practices, but the firm last week also suffered a noted departure. John Waldron, a Top 100 financial adviser according to Barron's, on Wednesday said he would move his firm's $1.2 billion in assets next year to rival custodians. Waldron Wealth Management LLC, however, is looking to use some new services that LPL is offering financial advisers.

“Personally this has been a very difficult decision,” Mr. Cortazzo said in an interview Friday. “We still have an excellent relationship with our prior broker-dealer. I joined SII in 1997. I think they are a great organization. I went there with myself and one part-time staffer, but now we are doing 30 times the production and have 25 staff.”

“We looked at 25 different broker-dealers,” he said. “And there wasn't a significant difference in the offering of 22 or 23 of them.”

But LPL Financial's focus on the hybrid adviser, meaning an adviser who can charge a commission for a transaction and fees for financial advice, was particularly attractive, Mr. Cortazzo said. “We have our own outside RIA; LPL has systems in place for that, as well as compliance.”

“It's more of a focus for them,” he said. “LPL's technology accommodates a hybrid firm well.”

LPL's “deep bench” for product research was also attractive, Mr. Cortazzo said.

“We have enjoyed a successful partnership with Macro Consulting for more than 15 years, and we wish them continued success,” said Todd Kinart, president and CEO of SII Investments, Inc.

"We are delighted to welcome Macro Consulting Group to the LPL Financial broker-dealer and Hybrid RIA platforms," said Bill Morrissey, executive vice president of business development at LPL. " Over the years, the leaders of Macro Consulting Group have built their firm into a true industry leader in every respect."