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RIA & Broker Dealer Roundup: April '24 Rep Movements, M&A Deals and Emerging Players

Hello

The registered investment advisor (RIA) industry remains a hotbed of activity, with significant developments reshaping its landscape every month. FINTRX, the leader in family office and RIA data intelligence, has compiled a new monthly series 'RIA & Broker Dealer Roundup' to examine the latest happenings in the RIA sector, highlighting notable advisor transitions, strategic mergers, acquisitions and the introduction of new firms throughout April 2024. 


Quick Hitters: Recent Developments in Wealth Management

Major Recruitment by UBS: UBS Wealth Management recruits the Bucher Group from Merrill Lynch Private Wealth, overseeing $700 million in Birmingham, Michigan.

RBC to Stratos Wealth Transition: The Reno Tahoe Wealth Group moves from RBC to Stratos Wealth Advisors in Reno, NV, managing $500 million.

Edward Jones to Kingsview Wealth Move: Greer A. Ducker, Lisa P. Rosenberg, and Jeff M. Champigny transition to Kingsview Wealth Management in Greensboro, NC, managing $205 million.

Wells Fargo Recruits from Morgan Stanley: The AGR Wealth Management Group joins Wells Fargo in Beverly Hills, managing $1.2 billion.

Merrill Lynch Hires from First Republic: Salvatore Tiano and John K. Smyth join Merrill Lynch, managing $3.5 billion previously with First Republic and J.P. Morgan.

UBS Enhances NY Team: James Herring and John Gaffney, formerly of Goldman Sachs, join UBS in Manhattan.

Significant Regional Recruitment: Janney Montgomery Scott and Stifel scoop up Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo teams managing a combined $1 billion in Delaware and Nebraska.

Citizens Financial Adds $5 Billion Team: Rick Gordon, Hugh Beecher, and Andrew Curto, previously with JPMorgan, join Citizens in San Francisco, focusing on ultra-high-net-worth clients.

Cresset Integrates $5 Billion Teams: Cresset acquires teams from JP Morgan Wealth Management and First Republic Bank in San Francisco, marking significant expansion.

Healthcare M&A Surge: Q1 sees significant M&A activity in the healthcare sector with $12 billion in transactions.

Creative Planning Acquires ML&R Wealth: Adds $2.2 billion in assets through its acquisition of ML&R Wealth Management in Texas.

EP Wealth Buys $1.2 Billion RIA: EP Wealth expands into California's Central Coast by acquiring Wacker Wealth Partners.

Arax Expands with $9 Billion Acquisition: Arax acquires U.S. Capital Wealth Advisors, strengthening its presence across major U.S. cities.

New NC-Based RIA: Howell Evans Neville, Michelle Shelly Robinson, and Colleen O’Donnell form Pines Wealth Management in Southern Pines, NC, managing approximately $500 million.

Cambridge Investment Launches RIA Division: Cambridge Investment Research targets RIA assets with a new division, Cambridge RIA Solutions.

tru Independence Debuts Mindset Wealth Management: A new firm in Indianapolis focuses on derivative overlay strategies in portfolio management.

MG Partners Private Wealth Formed: Christopher "Noah" Geoghegan and Tomohiko "Tom" Minami launch an independent practice supported by LPL’s Strategic Wealth Services in Hickory, NC.

Coho Partners Spin-Off: Aurdan Capital Management forms in Berwyn, PA with $425 million from Coho Partners' private wealth group.

 

Read on for more info...


Rep Movement

Father-Son Duo Overseeing $700 Million Splits From Merrill Private Wealth Team to Join UBS

UBS Wealth Management has successfully recruited the Bucher Group from Merrill Lynch Private Wealth in Birmingham, Michigan, a father-son team managing $700 million in client assets. Led by Matthew J. Bucher and his son, the team joins UBS as part of its strategy to enhance client services in the Ohio and Michigan markets. This move contributes to UBS's significant recruitment from Merrill, totaling $7.7 billion in client assets this year across multiple teams.

What You Need to Know:

→ The Bucher Group, led by Matthew J. Bucher and his son, transitioned from Merrill Lynch Private Wealth to UBS Wealth Management, bringing $700 million in client assets.
→ This team was part of The Locniskar Pursel Bucher Biddinger Group at Merrill, which managed a combined $4 billion and was highly ranked by Forbes.
→ UBS's acquisition of the Bucher Group is part of a broader trend of recruiting teams from Merrill, with UBS acquiring teams managing $7.7 billion in assets this year.

View FINTRX Profile >>

 

$500M Multi-Gen Team Joins Stratos Wealth from RBC

The Reno Tahoe Wealth Group, managing $500 million, transitioned from RBC Wealth Management to join Stratos Wealth Advisors in Reno, Nev. This team, led by Peter and Carla Bessette alongside Dan Roberts, sought independence and chose Stratos for its robust support in practice management and technology. Stratos Wealth Advisors, hosting 66 advisors and managing over $4 billion, provides a platform that aligns with the team’s growth and succession planning goals, with Fidelity as their primary custodian. This move marks Stratos's expansion into northern Nevada.

What You Need to Know:

→ The Reno Tahoe Wealth Group, managing $500 million, has moved from RBC Wealth Management to Stratos Wealth Advisors, marking their transition to independence.
→ The team consists of Peter and Carla Bessette, Dan Roberts, and additional associates, aligning with Stratos to enhance their long-term growth and succession planning.
→ This affiliation introduces Stratos's presence in northern Nevada, with Reno Tahoe Wealth Management as its first affiliate in the region.
→ Stratos Wealth Advisors, part of Stratos Wealth Holdings, supports 66 advisors and manages over $4 billion in assets.
→ Stratos is backed by Emigrant Partners, with the collective overseeing nearly $23 billion in assets, indicating significant financial backing and stability.

View FINTRX Profile >>

 

Edward Jones Trio Managing $205 Million Team Up at RIA in North Carolina

Three former Edward Jones brokers, Greer A. Ducker, Lisa P. Rosenberg, and Jeff M. Champigny, have transitioned to Kingsview Wealth Management, managing $205 million in client assets. The move comes after a year of exploring options and dissatisfaction with Edward Jones' business model changes. Kingsview, holding about $4.8 billion in assets, has been actively recruiting from Edward Jones, reflecting a broader trend of brokers moving to independent RIAs for more flexibility and growth opportunities.

What You Need to Know:

→ Three former Edward Jones brokers, Greer A. Ducker, Lisa P. Rosenberg, and Jeff M. Champigny, joined Kingsview Wealth Management in Greensboro, North Carolina, managing $205 million in assets.
→ The brokers left Edward Jones after exploring other firms for about a year, indicating a move towards greater autonomy in their practice.
→ Kingsview Wealth Management, where the trio moved, manages approximately $4.8 billion in client assets and has been actively recruiting from Edward Jones.

View FINTRX Profile >>

 

Wells Fargo Lands $1.2B Private Wealth Team From Morgan Stanley in Beverly Hills

Wells Fargo Advisors recently strengthened its recruiting and retention efforts by hiring a six-person private wealth team from Morgan Stanley in Beverly Hills. The AGR Wealth Management Group, led by advisors Lisa M. Amster, Gerald Gallagher, and Larry G. Roth, managed about $1.2 billion in client assets and generated $9 million in annual revenue. Their addition aligns with Wells Fargo's strategy to attract high-quality advisors, as emphasized by company executives during their recent earnings call. This move is part of a broader initiative to enhance Wells Fargo's wealth management services and market presence.

What You Need to Know:

→ Wells Fargo Advisors successfully recruited the AGR Wealth Management Group from Morgan Stanley, managing $1.2 billion in assets.
→ The team, led by Lisa M. Amster, Gerald Gallagher, and Larry G. Roth, adds significant wealth management expertise to Wells Fargo's Beverly Hills office.
→ This recruitment reflects Wells Fargo's renewed focus on attracting top talent, as emphasized by CFO Michael P. Santomassimo during the company's earnings call.

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Merrill Lynch Nabs $15-Million Team of Ex-First Republic Heavyweights in FL

Merrill Lynch has reinvigorated its broker recruitment efforts, successfully hiring a prominent team from First Republic, previously with J.P. Morgan Chase. The team, led by Salvatore Tiano and John K. Smyth, managed $3.5 billion in assets and brought in $15 million in revenue. This marks a significant move for Merrill, resuming aggressive recruitment with lucrative offers after a hiatus focused on internal growth. The team's banking and lending products expertise aligns with Merrill's cross-selling strategy across its platforms.

What You Need to Know:

→ Merrill Lynch has recruited a high-profile team from First Republic, previously with J.P. Morgan, managing $3.5 billion in assets.
→ Salvatore Tiano and John K. Smyth lead the new team, bringing substantial experience and client assets.
→ The recruitment follows a strategic pause at Merrill, where they previously focused on internal growth rather than external hiring.

View FINTRX Profile >>

 

UBS Swipes Advisor Duo from Goldman Sachs

UBS Private Wealth Management has strengthened its New York team by recruiting James Herring and John Gaffney from Goldman Sachs. Both advisors bring extensive experience in managing complex financial portfolios for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and will operate out of UBS's Manhattan office at 299 Park Avenue. Their arrival is part of UBS’s strategic efforts to enhance its client services and expand its presence in the New York market.

What You Need to Know:

→ UBS Private Wealth Management has recruited James Herring and John Gaffney from Goldman Sachs to their New York team.
→ Both advisors will work from UBS’s office at 299 Park Avenue, Manhattan, under the leadership of market directors Chris Amo and Bob Sorrentino.
→ Herring brings over 35 years of experience, including significant roles at Goldman Sachs managing high-net-worth executives and family offices.
→ Gaffney specializes in holistic wealth management solutions, having spent five years at Goldman Sachs focusing on family offices and private wealth clients.

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Janney Nabs $600-Mln Merrill Lynch Team, Stifel Scoops Up $400-Mln Wells Fargo Group

Regional firms Janney Montgomery Scott and Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. recruited two wirehouse teams managing a combined $1 billion in assets from Delaware and Nebraska. Janney welcomed a team from Merrill Lynch, led by Michael S. Koppenhaver, managing $600 million. They have rebranded to 'Shore to Shore Private Wealth' in Lewes, Delaware. Separately, Stifel hired Michael Robino from Wells Fargo Advisors, along with his team, managing $395 million. Both moves highlight the ongoing shift of significant assets and talent between major financial firms.

What You Need to Know:

→ Janney Montgomery Scott acquired a Merrill Lynch team led by Michael S. Koppenhaver, managing $600 million, renaming their practice 'Shore to Shore Private Wealth'.
→ Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. recruited Michael Robino and his team from Wells Fargo Advisors, who managed $395 million in assets.
→ The moves signify strategic expansion for Janney and Stifel in the Mid-Atlantic and Central Regions, respectively.

Janney Montgomery Scott FINTRX Profile >>
Stifel, Nicolaus & Company FINTRX Profile >>

 

Citizens Lands $5B Team from JPMorgan

Citizens Financial Group is expanding its wealth management capabilities in California by adding a new team of advisors in the San Francisco Bay Area, previously managing over $5 billion in assets at JPMorgan. The team, led by Rick Gordon, Hugh Beecher, and Andrew Curto, caters to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, focusing on entrepreneurs and real estate investors. This move aligns with Citizens' strategic growth in private wealth and banking services, offering integrated solutions to enhance client experiences in financial management.

What You Need to Know:

→ Citizens Financial Group bolsters its California wealth management division by integrating a top advisory team from JPMorgan, managing over $5 billion.
→ The team, led by Rick Gordon, Hugh Beecher, and Andrew Curto, specializes in serving ultra-high-net-worth clients including entrepreneurs and real estate investors.
→ Brendan Coughlin, Citizens' Vice Chair, highlighted the strategic growth and enhanced service capabilities brought by the new team.
→ The announcement follows the appointment of Paul Casey, formerly of Morgan Stanley, as the new head of wealth management.

 

Cresset Lands $5 Billion Wealth Team In San Francisco

Cresset, a U.S. wealth manager, has strengthened its San Francisco office by integrating two advisory teams, formerly with JP Morgan Wealth Management and First Republic Bank, managing around $5 billion in client assets. These teams, led by Dagny Maidman and including 15 financial professionals, join Cresset amid leadership changes and ongoing industry speculation about a potential sale of a stake in the firm. Cresset, known for its direct investment opportunities, was founded by Eric Becker and Avy Stein.

What You Need to Know:

→ Cresset acquired two advisory teams from JP Morgan Wealth Management, managing approximately $5 billion.
→ The teams include three lead advisors and 12 financial professionals, previously affiliated with First Republic Bank before its acquisition by JP Morgan.
→ Recent leadership changes at Cresset include Liz Nesvold’s move from Cresset president to the chair of Emigrant Partners.
→ Cresset, founded by private equity executives Eric Becker and Avy Stein, offers clients direct access to diverse investment opportunities.
→ There is ongoing speculation in the industry about a potential sale of a stake in Cresset.

View FINTRX Profile >>

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M&A Activity

Four Mega Mergers Helped Increase M&A in Q1

The first quarter of 2024 saw a notable increase in merger and acquisition activity, highlighted by 20 announced transactions including four mega mergers. This level of activity, which generated a total transacted revenue of $12 billion, is among the highest since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Noteworthy deals include Tenet Health's sale of California hospitals and acquisitions involving Northwell Health and the University of Minnesota. These developments indicate a robust recovery in M&A activity, with significant contributions from academic and health systems across various regions.

What You Need to Know:

→ Q1 saw 20 M&A transactions in the healthcare sector, the most robust first quarter since 2020, fueled by four mega mergers.
→ Significant mergers include Tenet Health's sale of hospitals generating around $1 billion in revenue and acquisitions by Northwell Health and the University of Minnesota.
→ The average seller size in these transactions was $598 million, maintaining historically high levels.
→ Academic and health systems played major roles as acquirers, indicating a trend toward consolidation in the healthcare sector.

 

Creative Planning Adds $2.2B RIA

Creative Planning has acquired Texas-based ML&R Wealth Management, a firm overseeing $2.2 billion in assets, in its first acquisition of the year. ML&R, previously part of Maxwell Locke & Ritter, operates out of Austin and Round Rock and brings 18 employees, including six advisors, to Creative Planning. This acquisition aligns with the firm's growth strategy through acquisitions, having added several firms last year. Stuart Smith of ML&R highlighted the benefits of enhanced financial services and technology through the merger.

What You Need to Know:

→ Creative Planning acquires Texas-based ML&R Wealth Management, marking its first deal of the year.
→ ML&R, previously owned by accounting firm Maxwell Locke & Ritter, manages $2.2 billion in assets.
→ The acquisition added 18 ML&R employees to Creative Planning, including six advisors.
→ Stuart Smith, lead partner at ML&R, emphasized the acquisition's enhancement of financial services and technology.
→ Creative Planning's growth strategy includes multiple acquisitions, having absorbed firms with substantial assets in 2023. 

View FINTRX Profile >>

 

EP Wealth Buys $1.2bn California RIA

EP Wealth Advisors has expanded its presence in California by acquiring San Luis Obispo-based Wacker Wealth Partners, bringing $1.2 billion in assets and all 22 team members into EP's fold. Ryan Caldwell, former CEO of Wacker, joins EP as regional director for Central California. This acquisition is part of EP's broader growth strategy, marked by its 31st acquisition since partnering with Wealth Partners Capital Group in 2017. EP now manages over $22.3 billion across 30+ offices in 12 states.

What You Need to Know:

→ EP Wealth Advisors acquires Wacker Wealth Partners, a firm with $1.2 billion in assets, expanding into California's Central Coast.
→ The merger includes all 22 members of Wacker Wealth Partners, integrating substantial experience and regional expertise.
→ Ryan Caldwell, former CEO of Wacker, steps in as EP’s regional director for Central California, with Bryan Krill as associate regional director.
→ EP Wealth Advisors, backed by Berkshire Partners, now operates more than 30 offices across 12 states with over $22.3 billion in managed assets.

View FINTRX Profile >>

 

Arax Adds $9B with Texas Acquisition

Arax has significantly expanded its wealth management capabilities by acquiring Texas-based U.S. Capital Wealth Advisors, now managing over $16 billion. The merger enhances Arax’s offerings with comprehensive financial services for high-net-worth clients and broadens its reach in major U.S. cities. This move strengthens Arax’s position, backed by RedBird Capital Partners, and aligns with its strategy of providing sophisticated, client-centric financial solutions. The acquisition is part of Arax's ongoing growth, following other significant deals earlier in the year.

What You Need to Know:

→ Arax acquired U.S. Capital Wealth Advisors, boosting its assets under management to over $16 billion.
→ The merger adds extensive services tailored for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients across key U.S. cities including Houston, Austin, Dallas, and New York City.
→ U.S. Capital Wealth Advisors will continue to operate under its existing brand within the Arax platform, maintaining its core operations.
→ Key figures in the merger include Arax CEO Haig Ariyan and USCWA co-managing partner Pat Mendenhall, emphasizing a unified vision and client-centric approach.
→ The merger is part of Arax's strategic growth, following a significant acquisition earlier in the year and bolstered by backing from RedBird Capital Partners.


Independent Firm Launches

North Carolina Trio Ditch Merrill for Own RIA

Three former Merrill Lynch advisors, Howell Evans Neville, Michelle Shelly Robinson, and Colleen O’Donnell, have launched Pines Wealth Management in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Previously managing almost $500 million at Merrill Lynch, they operate under their own RIA, just six miles from their former office. The new firm, which was approved by the SEC in March, offers financial planning and portfolio management services, affiliating with Schwab Advisor Services for custodial and software support.

What You Need to Know:

→ Howell Evans Neville, Michelle Shelly Robinson, and Colleen O’Donnell, former Merrill Lynch advisors, have founded Pines Wealth Management in Southern Pines, North Carolina.
→ The new RIA, located just six miles from their former Merrill Lynch office, managed approximately $500 million in client assets while at Merrill.
→ Pines Wealth Management, approved by the SEC in March, aims to reach $100 million in assets within four months.
→ Schwab Advisor Services provides custodial and software support.

 

Cambridge Investment Research Chases RIA Assets

Cambridge Investment Research is expanding its offerings by launching Cambridge RIA Solutions, a division to attract RIA assets. This move caters to the growing demand for fee-based advisory services and demonstrates Cambridge's commitment to providing comprehensive solutions tailored to diverse business models. Leveraging its infrastructure and technology, Cambridge aims to support RIAs seeking a flexible platform to grow their practices, reflecting its proactive approach to meeting industry trends and advisor needs.

What You Need to Know:

→ Cambridge Investment Research launches Cambridge RIA Solutions, a new division to attract RIA assets.
→ This move reflects Cambridge's response to the increasing demand for fee-based advisory services among financial advisors and clients.
→ Leveraging its existing infrastructure and technology, Cambridge aims to offer a flexible platform for RIAs seeking growth opportunities.

 

tru Independence Launches Mindset Wealth Management

tru Independence, managing around $12.5 billion in assets, has launched Mindset Wealth Management in Indianapolis. This follows the addition of six advisory teams last year, enhancing their portfolio by over $4 billion. Its founders, formerly with Sheaff Brock Investment Advisors, aim to innovate in portfolio management using derivative overlay strategies. They partnered with tru Independence for its advanced technology and service platforms, aiming to enhance client outcomes with a focus on efficient, technology-forward solutions. 

What You Need to Know:

→ Tru Independence collaborates with financial advisor Tony Maffeo to launch Mindset Wealth Management, a new venture in the wealth management sector.
→ The launch of Mindset follows tru Independence's successful onboarding of six new advisory teams last year, representing over $4 billion in assets.
→ Mindset was founded by former colleagues at Sheaff Brock Investment Advisors—Peter Bjelopetrovich, Seth Hickle, James “Louie” Humphries, and Mark Vandygriff.
→ The firm will focus on derivative overlay strategies in portfolio management, particularly for clients with low-cost basis stock positions.
→ Mindset's decision to partner with tru Independence was influenced by tru’s advanced technological support, including the Experience As a Service (EAS) platform and truView technology, aiming to enhance operational efficiency.

 

MG Partners Private Wealth launches with support from LPL Strategic Wealth Services

LPL Financial LLC has announced the launch of MG Partners Private Wealth, an independent practice by Christopher "Noah" Geoghegan and Tomohiko "Tom" Minami, formerly of Truist, managing $435 million in assets. Based in Hickory, N.C., the duo brings over 50 years of wealth management experience, specializing in services for high-net-worth clients. They are supported by LPL's Strategic Wealth Services, which provides business and technological support to foster the growth and autonomy of independent practices. 

What You Need to Know:

→ Financial advisors Christopher “Noah” Geoghegan and Tomohiko “Tom” Minami have launched MG Partners Private Wealth, an independent practice, after transitioning from Truist where they managed about $435 million in assets.
→ Geoghegan and Minami bring over 50 years of combined experience.
→ The MG Partners Private Wealth team plans to utilize LPL’s resources for high-net-worth clients, including advanced estate planning and a comprehensive investment platform to handle complex financial situations.

 

Coho's Private Wealth Team Spins Out Into $425M Aurdan

The team from Coho Partners' private wealth group is establishing Aurdan Capital Management in Berwyn, PA, after receiving RIA approval. This new firm starts with $425 million in assets and 105 client relationships. Founders Eric Hildenbrand and Steven Mills, alongside their team, decided to spin off due to differing needs between Coho's institutional and private clients. Aurdan will maintain a focus on comprehensive financial planning, adding modern tools and expanding services to include areas like 401(k) management, catering to a client base of business owners and high-net-worth individuals.

What You Need to Know:

→ Coho Partners' private wealth team forms Aurdan Capital Management, an independent firm with $425 million in assets.
→ Founders Eric Hildenbrand and Steven Mills decided to spin off due to diverging needs between Coho's institutional and private wealth clients.
→ Aurdan will utilize modern tools like Orion Advisor Solutions and expand its investment offerings while keeping Coho’s strategies as a core component.
→ The firm focuses on high-net-worth clients and plans to add services such as 401(k) management, particularly catering to business owners.
→ Aurdan is named as a tribute to the founders' mothers, reflecting their mission to be stewards of family capital across generations.

View FINTRX Profile >>


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