Large LPL branch adds Raymond James as another broker-dealer choice

In a highly unusual, if not unprecedented, move, a $5 billion branch office of LPL Financial with 200 advisers under its roof is adding a direct competitor to LPL, Raymond James Financial Inc., that its advisers can choose to use for brokerage services.

The branch operates under the title of Good Life Cos. and is based in Reading, Pennsylvania. Conor Delaney, the founder and CEO of Good Life, has been registered as a broker with LPL since 2012, two years before he opened a registered investment advisory firm, Good Life Advisors.

The service model for financial advisers has become increasingly fluid, with those working as advisers who charge clients fees and those who work as brokers and charge commissions overlapping into what the industry calls a “hybrid” adviser. In those cases, it’s common for businesses like Good Life to have a variety of custodians that advisers can use to hold assets.

Large RIAs, for example, are reshuffling their lineups of custodians. Another branch offices, Independent Financial Partners, broke with LPL a few years ago to launch its own brokerage, IFP Securities. 

But the retail brokerage environment is not nearly as fluid; retail advisers can only be registered with one broker-dealer at a time, although firms like Good Life can use other broker-dealers, but only if all the parties involved agree, according to industry executives.

There are also questions about compliance and supervision of sales of financial products for a dual brokerage firm, executives said.

It’s not clear what LPL thinks about this specific change and whether it has fully signed off on Good Life adding Raymond James as a broker-dealer choice for the firm’s advisers.

“LPL serves many types of practices as they evolve their businesses,” said an LPL spokesperson, who declined to comment specifically about the change at Good Life.

“We like the idea of being forward thinking and moving into things that haven’t been done before,” Delaney said in an interview Thursday morning. “We’re challenging the possibilities of what’s out there. We’ve been talking about a multi-broker-dealer platform for over a year, while the rest of the industry is talking about multi-custodians.”

“We don’t care who we’re working with as long as we’re providing advisers the best experience possible,” he said.

Good Life has had success in recruiting brokers and advisers from Waddell & Reed, where Delaney was registered before moving to LPL in 2012, with 80 advisers from Waddell & Reed moving to Good Life and using LPL as a broker-dealer. LPL recently acquired the retail brokerage’s advisers and assets.

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