“The LPL brand name and recognition already has really helped us in creating some new opportunities recently in conversations we’ve had with new advisors," said Jake Tomes, the founder of Level Four.
The firm originally was founded in 2000 to provide business development and consulting services to accounting firms and independent CPAs seeking to add wealth management to their accounting practices. It has since grown to 25 full-time, independent financial investment advisors and 25 accounting firms and independent CPAs offering investment advisory services. The firm has four retail offices: two in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, one in Austin and one in Irvine,, Calif.
In addition to affiliating with the LPL Financial broker-dealer platform, Level Four also plans to use LPL’s RIA platform as its principal custodian through its independent RIA firm, Level FourAdvisory Services.
“Today, significant changes are occurring throughout the wealth management industry,” Tomes said in a statement. “Along with the trend of financial advisors increasingly seeking independence, there is a growing movement, already dominant in many countries throughout the world, toward providing financial advice on a fee-for-service basis. We believe more of our advice will be priced on an hourly basis, on a project basis, or as part of a package of services. This shift also parallels a movement toward providing clients with a comprehensive suite of services, as in a family-office environment, wherein the client can receive not only wealth management but tax, estate planning, insurance and other financial consulting services.”
Bill Morrissey, an executive vice president of business development at LPL Financial, described Level Four as “a large sophisticated independent advisor firm.”
“From our perspective,” Morrissey added, “both LPL and Level Four are both philosophically well-aligned. I think the innovative technology of our hybrid platform is going to help them improve their efficiency.”
The firm’s name, Level Four, refers to the consulting work it does with advisors and CPAs to help them grow their business, according to Tomes.
“We really feel like advisors encounter a bunch of different stages in development,” Tomes says. “Level one is those advisors [who are] trying to develop basic operational processes in their practices. Our hope is that we can help advisors graduate to the next level through our curriculum. That level 4 advisor is really the visionary of that brand who is out rainmaking for his firm.”