$ 36 billion CUNA Brokerage Services plans expansion with LPL


With his mega-transfer to LPL Financial, a wealth manager and insurer aims to expand access to planning services among members of credit unions.

The country’s largest independent broker has secured what will in all likelihood be the biggest recruiting move in the industry of 2022 when CUNA brokerage services were agreed last week to align its wealth management business covering 550 financial advisors and $ 36 billion in client assets with LPL’s institutional services. Investment programs of banks and credit unions increasingly seek to outsource compliance and operational tasks while removing their own BDs and RIAs or drastically reducing them. This is what makes them hot recruiting targets among IBDs.

In the case of CUNA Brokerage, based in Madison, Wisconsin, the wealth management arm of the insurer and financial services firm CUNA Mutual Group, the decision came from its intention to strengthen the management services of heritage among credit unions, President Rob Comfort said in an interview. Only about 1,000 out of 6,000 credit unions nationwide offer wealth management, and only 3% of members of institutions with planners use the services, according to Comfort.

“It is more than likely that they will not receive any help for these critical needs,” he says. “To truly fulfill our mission, we’ve aligned ourselves with an integrated technology platform that will help us reach credit union members in a number of ways.”

Although LPL has always been a force in the banking channel with over 2,500 advisers in 800 institutions, the CUNA brokerage deal comes next. M&T Bank and BMO Harris agreed last year to bring approximately 285 advisors and $ 35 billion in client assets to LPL in 2021. With institutional moves posing more complications and often representing far more assets than the transition from standard practice, CUNA Brokerage is expected to complete the migration to BD, LPL’s RIA and custodial services early next year.

The company has been on a recruiting tear for several years: after two other announcements during the last week involving practices each managing over $ 1 billion in client assets, LPL has entered five of 13 teams of this size or larger companies changing this year in the IBD sector, according to Financial planningthe follow-up of the recruitment movements of the company. Over the past three years, the firm’s workforce has grown by over 1,600 net advisers to reach a record 17,672.

“We try to be the best possible partner for these advisors,” says Rich Steinmeier, president of LPL’s business development division. “We have a curtsy for advisers. What you see culminating now is this belief, plus a privileged position in the ecosystem to be able to invest in capabilities. “

In fact, adds Steinmeier, the company is only in the early stages of its recruiting success. LPL capacity to serve paid planners as an RIA custodian on the one hand to bank and credit union employees and advisers on the other, is the engine for the substantial growth of the company, explains recruiter Jodie Papike of Cross-Search.

“They literally tick every box in the financial services industry as to how advisors can affiliate with them,” says Papike. “It really covers all aspects of the market. “

The expanded reach of LPL’s recruiting has come at a great time for CUNA Brokerage and companies of its type looking for larger partners in an era of compliance and higher technology costs, said Gavin Spitzner of Wealth Consulting Partners in a report. E-mail.

“What this agreement tells us again is that conservation and clearing are largely commoditized, self-compensating businesses with a scale that can deliver this in combination with value-added technology, management of Practices and other supports based on growing an attractive economy while helping companies offload risk are well positioned to continue consolidating the industry, ”says Spitzner.

For his part, Comfort agrees with Spitzner’s view on market direction, although he says CUNA Brokerage provides relationship management, strategic planning and analysis to credit union advisors. data that goes beyond commodity services. Although he spent five years at LPL before joining CUNA Brokerage in 2017, he notes that the company spent around a year of due diligence with an outside consulting firm before choosing the No.1 IBD.

“This allows us to focus on what we really think are the unique components of our value proposition,” said Comfort. “Our deal with LPL was really personalized for what we need so that we can keep doing the things we’re really good at … We thought it could really shake things up and make a difference, that is, So that’s what’s really exciting. this.”


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