Common Questions about KMS

Who owns KMS Financial Services? 
KMS is an independently operated, wholly owned subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc., a member of the New York Stock Exchange since 1879.

How many advisors do you have and how many home office employees support them? 
KMS has approximately 350 advisors nationwide. Our downtown Seattle office has approximately 80 full-time employees, which results in a highly favorable 1:4 staff to advisor ratio. Nearly half of our employees have either Series 7 or Series 24 securities licenses.

Can you describe the “typical” advisor affiliated with KMS? 
KMS advisors are independent and experienced with an established book of business. Most are licensed for securities, insurance and investment advisory services. KMS also serves advisory-only licensed professionals and securities-only licensed professionals, plus advisors may maintain their own RIAs. The majority of KMS advisors conduct fee-based services as advisory representatives of the KMS corporate RIA. 

Women advisors comprise 22% of the total advisor team, which is among the highest rates in the industry. KMS President and CEO Erinn Ford is an industry-leading female financial executive who places special emphasis on recruiting exceptional women advisors.

Is KMS registered in all 50 states? 
Yes, KMS is licensed to offer securities and advisory services in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. KMS also serves as an insurance general agent in 48 states and Washington, D.C. 

What types of products and services comprise KMS business? 
In 2018, revenue generated by KMS advisors covered these broad categories:

55.0% advisory-based revenue

  • 44.5% advisor-advised asset management fees
  • 8.0% third-party advisory asset management fees
  • 2.5% financial planning fees

45% securities-based revenue

  • 19.5% mutual fund trail compensation
  • 12.0% variable annuity trail compensation
  • 7.0% variable annuity sales commission
  • 4.0% mutual fund sales commission

2.5 % securities brokerage (net of clearing charges)  

What is the total revenue and approximate client assets under administration for KMS? 
For 2018, KMS had total revenue of just over $120 million. KMS advisors oversee approximately $16.4 billion in total client investment assets. 

What are my options for custody & clearing services? 
We allow KMS advisors to direct where advisory assets are custodied, across the four leading platforms, to enable greater choice and assure clients who have specific custody and clearing requirements. Pershing, our primary custody partner, supports commission and fee-based accounts with seamless integration. Fee-based advisors can have a tailored custody environment to fit their style of portfolio management, average account size, performance reporting, and more. In order to maintain flexibility for clients, KMS also provides advisors with access to the Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity custody platforms.

Can I maintain my own insurance brokerage relationships? 
Yes. Variable, indexed and group annuity products must be placed through KMS. However, for other insurance lines, you can maintain the general agent relationships you prefer. Learn about our KMS affiliate Highland Capital Brokerage, representing dozens of leading companies for traditional life, long-term care, and disability-income products coverage. 

What primary technology services does KMS offer? 
We work with LaserApp, DocuSign, Morningstar Annuity Intelligence, Redtail Technology and Albridge Solutions. The website is your portal for information and business processing using our proprietary tool, Safe Box. 

What payout level can I achieve? 
You will start at a highly competitive payout rate based on demonstrated earnings, and payouts can reach as high as 96%. We can share a Commission Schedule with you, upon request.  

Can my colleagues and I operate as a producing group? 
Yes, our payroll system offers considerable flexibility to design and maintain overrides, splits, or other “group” arrangements.

Do I need a Series 24 (registered principal) to run my own office? 
No. The home office serves as the Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction (OSJ) at KMS. Our principal executive officers conduct timely reviews of transactions with the use of communication and imaging technology.

What are the ticket charges on transactions? 
Ticket charges generally are limited to transactions executed through Pershing LLC or the other custodial providers noted on our Products and Platforms page. There are no ticket charges on mutual fund or variable annuity transactions processed directly with the sponsor.

Does KMS charge monthly/annual “affiliation fees”? 
Yes. As described on the Commission Schedule Supplement, KMS charges individual advisors a $250 monthly fee. Advisors who are members of a rep group—and typically qualify for higher payout—each pay a $350 monthly fee. KMS also assesses advisors’ FINRA and state licensing fees, professional liability and bonding coverage, and electronic communications (email and social media) archiving. 

Does KMS offer incentives for advisors to help recruit their peers? 
Yes, we offer incentives to any advisor who is materially involved in bringing such individuals to the firm. 

Does KMS hold meetings for their advisors and investment advisory representatives? If so, am I required to attend?
All KMS advisors are encouraged to attend our meetings, but it is not required. KMS holds an annual conference as well as an annual Investment Symposium, both of which provide opportunities for in-person CE and compliance learning. KMS advisors also have access to conferences sponsored by KMS in collaboration with its sister Independent Advisory Brokerage (IAB) firms across the Ladenburg organization. KMS also conducts informal West Coast regional meetings to foster collaboration and connection with our advisors.   

The KMS annual compliance review is administered online via an on-demand tutorial, and it is required as part of the annual Firm Element Continuing Education that all advisors must complete annually.

How quickly can I be “up and running” with KMS? 
A dedicated transition manager will work directly with you to establish a realistic timeline for your onboarding and transition to KMS. Moreover, the KMS staff will process your licensing and account transfers on a timeline that works best for you, allowing for careful consideration of revenue continuity and communication with your clients. 

We look forward to a completely confidential discussion whenever you feel the time is right. Let us help you discover why a move to KMS might just be a game-changing catalyst for you and your practice.

For more information contact: Howard Englehart, VP of Business Development / (206) 441-2885 ext. 232 /

Your Practice. Our Commitment.