Star broker, Ron Carson, is leaving LPL to jump to Cetera

Taking $2.6 billion in assets with him, Carson is second prominent adviser to leave LPL this month

Nov 18, 2016 @ 9:50 am

By Bruce Kelly

Ron Carson, one of LPL Financial's best known, longest-tenured financial advisers, is leaving the firm, according to a source with knowledge of the move.

Mr. Carson, whose firm Carson Wealth Management, has $7.4 billion in client assets, will join a broker-dealer under the umbrella of Cetera Financial Group.

Mr. Carson already has ties to Cetera Financial Group. Its new CEO, Robert Moore, was president of LPL Financial but left in March 2015. He was expected to take over as CEO of LPL from Mark Casady, but did not get the nod from LPL's board.

Mr. Moore is also on the board of Carson Wealth Management.

Mr. Carson did not respond to calls and emails for comment. A spokesman for LPL, Jeff Mochal, did not immediately comment. A spokesman for Cetera, Joseph Kuo, said the firm did not comment on rumors.

(More: Mr. Carson on why we're on the eve of massive disruption in financial services)

Mr. Carson's firm has $2.6 billion in assets at LPL, with the remainder at other custodians. Of the $2.6 billion in assets, $1 billion is in advisory and the rest in brokerage.

Based in Omaha, Neb., Mr. Carson joined LPL in 1989, according to his profile on BrokerCheck. Since then, he has grown his business into one of the leading independent advisory firms in the country, routinely rated by Barron's magazine as one of the leading independent advisers in the country.

This is the second prominent, long-standing LPL adviser who has recently left the firm. WealthPLAN Partners, co-founded by Brent O'Mara and Todd Feltz, is a hybrid RIA managing $2.2 billion of client assets and was previously affiliated with LPL for 27 years before jumping to Securities America Inc. earlier this month.

During a conference call this month with investors, Mr. Casady gave no hint of such prominent advisers leaving the firm and stated that LPL's business is currently being supported by “continued strong recruiting.”

With his move to Cetera, Mr. Carson is joining a firm that is trying to shake off a recent history filled with problems. Its prior owner, Nicholas Schorsch, in 2013 and 2014 went on a debt-fueled buying binge of retail brokerage firms that eventually pushed Cetera's prior owner, RCS Capital Corp., into bankruptcy. Earlier this year, Cetera Financial Group emerged from bankruptcy with new owners and no ties to Mr. Schorsch.

Mr. Moore joined the Cetera board as chairman in May and then became CEO in September, replacing Larry Roth.

And at the start of this week, Cetera, with close to 9,000 financial advisers across a network of seven brokerage firms, experienced a technology meltdown when its computer systems crashed, leaving brokers with limited access to serving client accounts and managing client money for the better part of Monday and Tuesday.

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