Cetera Financial Group, one of the top five broker-dealers in the country in producing reps, has purchased a giant registered investment advisory firm with $1.4 billion in assets, as B-Ds continue to make incursions into RIA territory.

Cetera has purchased the Retirement Planning Group, a Leawood, Kan., firm helmed by Kevin Conard. The firm has 1,825 client accounts and 40 employees, according to a Cetera press release. The firm was founded in 2004, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The firm’s Form ADV says that $1.15 billion of its assets are managed for 547 high-net-worth clients.

Broker-dealers are increasingly offering an RIA option to their reps so that they can run both fee and commission business. Some firms, like Commonwealth and LPL, have even distanced themselves from the name “broker-dealer” altogether. This also comes at a time when the number of reps licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is shrinking, declined from 3,726 at the end of 2017 to 3,394 at the end of 2021, according to Finra.

The broker-dealer space is also facing increasing regulatory pressure that squeezes margins, though the current interest rate environment has given the giant firms a huge reprieve: The money they make from cash sweeps has been a direct boost to their bottom lines.

Companies like Cetera have been investing in enterprise businesses, also known as branches or super-OSJs, which not only gives reps more ways to join but allows them another way to profit by direct ownership in a wealth management business. In February, Cetera announced that it had bought a minority stake in Kansas City-based Prosperity Advisors, a firm with $1.7 billion, following the purchase of a stake in CCR Wealth, a $2.5 billion AUM firm, last October.

According to press releases, the Retirement Planning Group offers tax solutions, payroll and book-keeping services as part of its wealth management package.

“We admire and embrace TRPG’s values and commitment to helping investors reach their version of financial well-being through all life stages,” said Mike Durbin, CEO of Cetera Holdings. “We welcome TRPG to Cetera and look forward to close collaboration and shared success for many years to come.”

Durbin, who joined Cetera Holdings as CEO last month after 15 years in various executive positions at Fidelity Investments, is expected to make his mark on the IBD network. “This acquisition," Durbin added, "is synergistic on many levels and represents our commitment to constantly identify and deliver multiple options that give advisors a depth of choice and flexibility to affiliate their business with Cetera as they see fit.”

(Correction: Kevin Conard's named was misspelled in an early version of this article.)