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Advisor Jumps to LPL for Indie-Product Roster

By Murray Coleman January 9, 2017

After 34 years at Ameriprise Financial, Los Angeles-based advisor Jay Champlain left to join LPL Financials hybrid platform in mid-November. The independent FA managed about $120 million at Ameriprise.

Q: Why did you feel a need to move?

A: I’d come close to moving before, but after so long with such a big broker-dealer it became apparent that my clients could benefit from increased access to a wider range of third-party products and services. By tapping into LPL’s independent platform, I’m now going to be able to offer more depth in terms of sophisticated expertise in areas like estate planning.

Q: Does that include a broader range of insurance products?

A: Yes, I’m going to now have so many more types of annuities and life insurance policies to diversify my clients’ estate planning options. In the past, I could pick something like a variable annuity from a few different carriers — but only one or two might be a good fit for a client. Now, I’ll have probably 10 to 12 different options in that specific arena.

Q: How does this change help in managing client assets?

A: Most of our business falls under a fee-based investment-management platform. LPL is not only providing us with a great deal more mutual fund and ETF investment options, but they’re also giving us a better net revenue flow for Champlain Wealth Advisors. That means based upon the gross fees charged for managing client assets, our firm is going to be able to realize better net revenue in the advisory business.

Q: What was the hardest part of the move?

A: We’re in the middle of it right now. But the amount of paperwork demanded to get all of our clients to transfer over is enormous. We hired an outside consultant at Golden State Wealth Management to help lead that process. I’ve also hired them to serve as our compliance and regulatory experts, commonly referred to as our OSJ.

Q: Did you consider handling such OSJ duties internally?

A: I looked at doing it myself along with our firm’s other advisor, Job Eagleson. We also considered using LPL as our OSJ. But in the end, we found that outsourcing our compliance needs to a third-party administrator who specializes in this area was the best choice for us. It’s greatly freeing up our time to focus on servicing our clients rather than processing compliance documents.

Q: Do you expect your clients to benefit from lower fees?

A: Yes, in this new platform the families we serve will be able to take advantage of lower fees utilizing the funds now available to them. Our trading costs could actually be higher at LPL, but they’re taking a smaller chunk in terms of administrative costs for my advisory business. So the net savings are going to allow me to pass along those investment cost savings to our clients.

Q: How will this impact your compensation?

A: We feel that our net revenues after operating with increased independence will improve a little, but probably only marginally. The main driver behind this decision was to be able to provide our clients with enhanced product and investment alternatives in a more sophisticated planning environment. That’s what I’m basing this move on. In order to grow in such a competitive industry, you’ve got to keep adapting and tailoring your firm’s service menu. For my firm, gaining more independence has become a necessity -- not a luxury.

Q: What would you recommend to other advisors considering making a move?

A: Make sure that any outside experts that you might look at hiring to assist with moving clients over to the new practice are very experienced and knowledgeable in these areas. In my discussions with people about what it takes to transfer accounts, not all of the information I initially received turned out to be correct. So there are a lot of consultants out there who will offer their support, but be cautious -- you’ve really got to do your due diligence to find the right transition experts.