NRP to Be New Division of LPL

As part of the acquisition of National Retirement Partners (NRP), NRP employees will join LPL Financial to will form a new division called LPL Financial Retirement Partners. 

LPL Financial Corporation announced Wednesday that its parent company, LPL Holdings Inc., will acquire certain assets from NRP and NRP’s advisers “will have the opportunity to join LPL Financial” (see “LPL Acquiring NRP“).

LPL Financial Retirement Partners will be led by NRP’s current CEO and president, Bill Chetney.

“This strategic acquisition will further enhance the capabilities and presence of LPL Financial in the group retirement plan space, while providing unique benefits for both NRP advisers who join LPL Financial as well as for existing LPL Financial advisers,” LPL said in the announcement of the deal. “LPL Financial and its advisers will benefit from enhanced capabilities and growth opportunities with respect to the group retirement plan space, as well as IRA rollovers and other retirement-related services and solutions.  At the same time, NRP advisers joining LPL Financial will benefit from the scale, resources and services offered by the LPL Financial broker/dealer platform, which will directly support the continued growth of their businesses.”

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and financial arrangements were not disclosed.

LPL, which has offices in Boston, Charlotte, and San Diego, recently filed for an initial public offering. The broker/dealer says it offers clearing and compliance services, practice management programs and training, and independent research to over 12,000 financial advisers, more than 750 financial institutions, and approximately 4,000 institutional clearing and technology subscribers.

National Retirement Partners 

National Retirement Partners began as 401k Advisors USA in the spring of 2003 and in 2005 changed its name. In 2006, Chetney told PLANADVISER his goal for NRP was to "create the largest network of top retirement advisers who can change for the better how Americans invest in the workplace. If and when we can do that, then the financial proposition will fall naturally into place” (see “Two Bills”).

Chetney had knowledge of the retirement plan landscape. His background included a stint in retirement plan recordkeeping, having helped to develop a proprietary 401(k) product for Reliastar Financial Corporation, which was later sold to ING Group. Other senior management with NRP from the beginning included Bill Cvengros, formerly CEO of PIMCO as chairman, and Bob Francis, now COO, who formerly ran ING's retirement business.

As NRP grew out of its 401k Advisors USA roots in 2006, the firm embarked on a growth-by-affiliation strategy (after the handful of “core” original firms, most of which are owned by NRP). The company also acquired Bryan, Ohio-based broker/dealer Oberlin Financial Corp. in 2007, renaming it NRP Financial (see “see "NRP Acquires Ohio B/D").

Chetney told PLANADVISER in late 2008 that NRP had gotten to the point where it owned 15% of firms and he thought that they might own 25% to 30% of them eventually. However, the acquisition model proved to be difficult in 2008 as external capital dried up and NRP saw itself selling back practices it had acquired and refocusing on the affiliation model instead.

Although Chetney said the company’s intent was to “stay independent for the foreseeable future,” and that “we’ve built this company on a foundation of being a strong, profitable operating company as opposed to something that is being built for sale,” he admitted at the time the acquisition strategy was not something in which investors were interested and even NRP had questions about how that might be valued (see “The Best-Laid Plans...”).

Last year, NRP announced its intention to recruit not just retirement plan advisers, but producing third-party administrators (TPAs) to become member firms and create the NRP National TPA Network (see "NRP Plans National TPA Network").