Ashworth Financial Group has become the first independent practice launched with the support of LPL Strategic Wealth Services, LPL Financial’s new affiliation model designed for wirehouse and employee advisors, the company announced yesterday.

Financial advisors Mike Ashworth, Steve Collie and Katheryn Gordon were formerly with Wells Fargo Advisors, where they managed approximately $300 million in brokerage, advisory and retirement plan assets.

Ashworth, the firm’s founder and managing director, entered the industry in 1998 right out of college.

According to a press release, LPL Strategic Wealth Services provided Ashworth’s business with personalized support from a dedicated launch team. Now that the business is in place, they maintain an ongoing relationship with a team of specialized partners that assist with the daily operation of the business, including office administration, technology support, marketing strategy and campaign execution, and financial management.

“The business management support is huge, especially having help to set up benefits and payroll services and having a CFO to create business strategies for the business and then keep us on track to our goals,” Ashworth said in the press release. 

He also credited LPL’s integrated technology as another driver of his move to the platform; specifically, the use of DocuSign’s e-signature capabilities to eliminate paperwork during the account transition process.

Rich Steinmeier, LPL Financial's managing director and divisional president of business development, said in an email reply that LPL Strategic Wealth Services brings together the benefits of custodian, broker-dealer and business platform partner in one solution.

“Advisors benefit by having one partner providing integrated service and support, and there are no out-of-pocket costs,” he said. “Clients also benefit by receiving one consolidated account statement. The relationship is supportive of the entire lifecycle of an advisor’s business.”

Steinmeier described some of the hurdles that many wirehouse and employee advisors typically face on the road to independence.

“Advisors most often cite the transition and the ongoing needs of running a small business as the biggest hurdles to going independent,” he said. “We are able to remove these hurdles by providing dedicated, personalized support to launch their business and transition their clients to LPL.”

Steinmeier said that to support the business startup, his firm also helps source real estate and office buildout, sets up technology and infrastructure for the entire practice, secures the human resources programs to support their human capital, and creates a brand for the business. 

Founded in 1989, LPL Financial is headquartered in Ft. Mill, S.C., San Diego and Boston.