RBG and Triad Discuss Recently Confirmed Affiliation

Triad and Resources Investment Advisors say the recruitment of Retirement Benefits Group reflects the way retirement-focused advisers are seeking integrated practice management solutions and hands-on support from brokerage and custody service providers.

Triad Advisors LLC, subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc., this week announced the recruitment of Retirement Benefits Group (RBG) to its brokerage platform—an arrangement created and announced in collaboration with Resources Investment Advisors LLC.

Triad Advisors bills itself as a hybrid adviser-focused independent advisory and brokerage firm, while Resources Investment Advisors is a retirement plan-focused hybrid registered investment adviser (RIA) and office of supervisory jurisdiction (OSJ) operating on the Triad platform.

Retirement Benefits Group (RBG), a previous finalist for PLANADVISER’s Retirement Plan Adviser Multi-Office Team of the Year award, is known in the industry as a retirement plan-focused advisory firm with over $10 billion in assets under advisement. It will now operate on the Triad brokerage platform with Resources Investment Advisors as its “super-OSJ.”

Michael Castner, a founding principal at Retirement Benefits Group, and Nathan Stibbs, chief strategy officer at Triad, described the new arrangement in an interview with PLANADVISER. They emphasized the importance of RBG bringing a nationwide footprint to its new partnership with Triad and Resources Investment Advisors. The firm will continue providing consulting services and guidance to retirement plans through its 68 advisers and staff, located in 15 affiliated offices across the country.

Retirement industry observers have been waiting for an announcement like this since the middle of last year—when Independent Financial Partners announced it would be leaving broker/dealer LPL in 2019 to create its own brokerage platform. RBG was previously affiliated with LPL Financial, with Independent Financial Partners serving as its OSJ. As confirmed with this new announcement, RBG has decided to go with an established broker/dealer rather than move with Independent Financial Partners—or stay with LPL.

By way of background, Independent Financial Partners (IFP) had operated as an SEC-registered investment adviser and office of supervisory jurisdiction for LPL Financial for more than a decade. But in April 2018, the firm informed LPL of its intent to create its own broker/dealer, “to be up and running within the next 12 months.”

IFP said its decision was based on a desire to build “a state-of-the-art advisory platform centered on technology.” IFP said it was already building “a proprietary digital interface and community for the advisers and employees within its ecosystem.” The stated goal  was to build “an interface that not only intelligently integrates the many third-party software programs that independent financial advisers use to run their business, but also one that can perpetually adapt to change and quickly integrate with new and better technologies as they emerge.”

According to Castner, RBG benefited from its relationships with LPL and IFP, but the announcement that the two businesses were moving apart sparked a reassessment of RBG’s own needs and aspirations for growth. He confirmed that RBG will continue to support independent financial advisers under its current brand and leadership structure, and will formally affiliate with Resources Investment Advisors, which specializes in supporting independent financial advisers focused on employer-sponsored retirement plans and private wealth management.

“We had to make a decision that would please the majority of our advisers, and with that in mind we started talking to the major aggregators out there,” Castner recalled. “After a lot of spreadsheets and a lot of discussions, we made the decision to go with Resources and Triad. For our wealth advisers in particular, repapering is a challenge, but they are committed to the transition.”

Reflecting the vigorous recruiting and affiliation activity seen in recent years, Resources Investment Advisors itself only recently adopted Triad as its broker/dealer, in early 2017. Combined, the firms hope to work with RBG and others to “build one of the leading networks of corporate retirement plan-focused advisers in the country.”

In addition to leveraging the platforms and solutions offered by Resources, RBG will also utilize Triad’s independent RIA and hybrid brokerage services, the pair explained. They said this arrangement will position RBG advisers for sustainable practice growth in 2019 and beyond. Stibbs and Castner said retirement plan consulting teams like RBG are looking for strong partner firms that can “fully align around their needs in today’s highly complex retirement plan advice space.” They emphasized the importance of technology and support services when it comes to creating practice efficiency and driving growth in an increasingly competitive industry.

In a separate statement, Vince Morris, founder and president of Resources Investment Advisors, shared the same sentiment: “Today’s corporate retirement plan marketplace offers truly unique opportunities for well-resourced financial advisers to effectively support plan sponsors and plan participants in an evolving and highly complex landscape. Plan participants need more in-depth and sophisticated offerings to help them properly prepare for retirement, while sponsors need more comprehensive guidance, expertise and innovation from the advisers who support their plans.”