Cortazzo moves affiliation to LPL Financial from SII

Nov 11, 2012 @ 12:01 am

By Bruce Kelly

Noted financial adviser Mark Cortazzo and his firm, Macro Consulting Group LLC, last Thursday moved its affilation to LPL Financial LLC, which continues 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 of Parsippany, N.J. — 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.

Even though LPL has brought aboard several large advisory practices since August, the firm last week suffered a noted departure.

John Waldron, a Top 100 financial adviser according to Barron's, last Wednesday said that he will 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 (see story on Page 30).

“Personally, this has been a very difficult decision. We still have an excellent relationship with our prior broker-dealer,” Mr. Cortazzo said Friday.

“I joined SII in 1997. I think they are a great organization,” Mr. Cortazzo said. “I went there with myself and one part-time staffer, but now we are doing 30 times the production and have 25 staff,” he said.

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

But LPL'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,” he said.

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

LPL's “deep bench” for product research is 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 chief executive of SII.

bkelly@investmentnews.com Twitter: @bdnewsguy

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