A newly independent team has left UBS Financial Services and joined one of the offices of LPL Financial’s supervisory jurisdiction, Gladstone Wealth Partners.
The 10-person practice, renamed Puzzle Wealth Solutions, is led by CEO John Klaas and COO David Millington. Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., Puzzle has approximately $ 1.2 billion in advisory and brokerage assets.
The addition of Puzzle is just the latest recruiting victory for Gladstone and its CEO, Richard Frick. Based in Chester, New Jersey, OSJ brought together 34 teams in 2020 after a merger with Financial Resources Group Investment Services made it a formidable company in terms of revenues and assets on the corporate RIA of LPL. This year Gladstone signed 31 workouts last week, says Frick.
During the pandemic, Klaas says her team realized they were being slowed down by the branch system, prompting them to explore other alternatives.
He says they considered creating an independent RIA, but decided to join an existing communications agency to help resolve oversight, compliance and administration issues.
âWith the support of LPL and Gladstone, we are able to resolve any issues for our customers. We have some very sophisticated issues that I think the cabling companies thought there was no way to solve, but Gladstone has been great at removing the root issues and connecting the right people, âsays Klaas.
He started in the industry in 1988 as a solo practitioner. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1990 and moved to UBS in 2007.
Although Klass says he has nothing but respect for UBS, he notes that there was a lot of “bloat” and “excess” to the spinning, claiming that the move allows him and his team, a more direct route to solving their customers’ problems.
A spokesperson for UBS declined to comment on the team’s departure for the time being.
Klaas says he chose Gladstone and LPL over other custodians because of their flexibility and collaborative nature.
âWe have a partner in Gladstone. It is a similar spirit in terms of growth and problem solving. They take care of the things I’m no expert at, and they do it well. And they allow me to go and solve my clients’ problems, âhe says.
Frick says many advisers are looking to become independent, noting that the wirehouse model is broken.
âWe are growing and we have structured ourselves around the independent model to support large teams who want to break up. This is what is somewhat important. They don’t have to take the risk of going it alone. They can affiliate with us and let us do whatever they don’t need to do themselves, âhe says.
Puzzle will use Gladstone’s hybrid RIA rather than LPL’s corporate RIA. Klass says this option is more appealing than being part of an enterprise platform.
âWe are here to help support [teams], whether it’s marketing, compliance, commissions, âsays Frick. âThey get all of our services that we provide to all of our advisors, so they don’t have to do everything themselves.