Michael Murray only latest to leave LPL's recruiting staff

Eleven recruiters have left the IBD since the end of 2016, according to an InvestmentNews tally

May 14, 2018 @ 2:17 pm

By Bruce Kelly

An industry powerhouse when it comes to recruiting, LPL Financial has recently seen several senior and mid-level recruiters jump ship or retire.

The most conspicuous departure was disclosed last week, when Cetera Financial Group said it hired Michael Murray, most recently one of a handful of senior vice presidents of recruiting at LPL, in the role of head of business development at Cetera.

Mr. Murray had worked at LPL in recruiting, or "business development," as it is dubbed in the industry, since 2002, a remarkably long and stable run as a recruiter. But he is not the only veteran recruiter to have recently left the firm.

Stephen Pirigyi, most recently an executive vice president of business development who joined LPL in 1993, retired last month, according to his LinkedIn profile page. Barret Frost, a vice president who had been with LPL since 2003, moved in December to Fidelity Investments, where he is vice president of sales, clearing and custody solutions.

In August, LPL announced a change in policy that would require new recruits to custody their first $50 million in assets at LPL, a move that some branch managers saw as a threat to their ability to recruit because of questions over pricing. That policy change may have pushed some of its recruiters to jump ship, said one industry observer.

"When LPL dropped compensation for those hybrid offices last year, it had an impact on some of the recruiters wanting to stay there," said Jonathan Henschen, an independent, third party recruiter of independent contractor reps.

LPL has a huge recruiting operation, with as many as 50 to 80 internal and external recruiters beating the bushes for advisers. Recruiters are highly coveted and may jump ship for any number of reasons, from more pay to family and personal issues.

Along with Mr. Murray, Mr. Pirigyi, and Mr. Frost, InvestmentNews tallied another eight LPL recruiters since December 2016 who moved and now work at rival firms. That means at least 11 recruiters have left LPL in the last 16 months, according to LinkedIn and BrokerCheck profiles.

Corey Walen and Michael Clement moved to Ameriprise Financial Inc. earlier this year, while Farhad Firoozi and Nicholas Cantone left LPL for Ameriprise, respectively, in December 2016 and last June.

Mitchell Carr and David Peck left LPL and moved to Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., respectively, last September and last month.

The other two recruiters who stopped working at LPL and moved to rivals are Keith Minnigerode, who left LPL last July and now works at TD Ameritrade Inc., and Luis Gonzalez, who left in September for Cetera.

Meanwhile, as it is losing recruiters, LPL is trying to sweeten its offer to bring in new advisers and assets to its platform.

When asked about the flight of recruiting personnel, spokesman Jeff Mochal issued this statement: "We're committed to attracting and developing talented leaders across our organization. We're also proud of our track record of retaining those who are best positioned to serve our clients and lead our company moving forward."

Last month, LPL said it was focusing recruiting on advisers at select firms, including Cetera Financial Group, Kestra Financial Group and Securities America Inc., according to sources. The offer is in the form of a three-year forgivable loan that pays an adviser 50 basis points on assets under management transferred to LPL.

There's a catch, however. LPL is only paying advisers for AUM that land on its corporate RIA or are under home office supervision.

In this month's conference call with analysts and investors to discuss LPL's earnings, CEO Dan Arnold said that the company recruited approximately $4 billion of assets in the first quarter.

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