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A $1.3B Financial Telesis Shop Switches B-Ds

Filed on Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A $1.3-billion 401(k) plan advisor (KPA) team just aligned with Independent Financial Group.

David Krasnow confirms that last month his Cleveland-based shop,Pension Advisors, switched broker-dealers from Financial Telesis, Inc.to IFG. Krasnow had worked with FTI for seven years.

Krasnow’s move comes as giant independent B-D LPL and former LPL retirement chief Bill Chetney are about to buy and transform FTI into a new super-OSJ and RIA called Global Retirement Partners (GRP).

Krasnow tells 401kWire that he “was a big fan of Jim Williams … and the way he ran FTI.”

“He [Williams] created a very warm culture,” Krasnow says. Yet he’s not moving over to LPL. “LPL just came off as being too big for me.”

Krasnow put out his own RFP of sorts, and with the help of consultantJodie Papike at Cross Search he found IFG. Krasnow praises IFG, which recently hired LPL veteran Jason Benham to oversee retirement plan efforts, as “very well-positioned to really just kind of take off in the years ahead in this space.”

“I just really like the culture of the place,” Krasnow says. “Before I got there, the three principals had made a conscious business decision that they really wanted to focus on retirement plan business.”

“I like being with an organization in growth mode,” Krasnow adds, pointing to IFG managing director David Fischer as someone he’s working closely with. “I can have an important voice.”

Krasnow’s Pension Advisors now works with more than 200 plans, including 401(k)s and 403(b)s as well as IRA rollovers. The firm offers 3(21) fiduciary services and has its own 3(38) product. Pension Advisors now has four offices — Atlanta, Georgia, Tampa, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as Cleveland, Ohio — with about 20 people total, including seven advisors.

“They each run their own business,” Krasnow says of the other branches. “We come together for economies of scale.”

And Krasnow says he’s in conversations with other advisors who are considering affiliating with Pension Advisors.

“We’ve created this blueprint,” Krasnow says. “We are soup-to-nuts the advisor on the plan.”

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