Transitions, Transactions & Promotions: Oppenheimer Names New President and More

Michael Madden, Contributing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Final Months of 2021 Conclude with Flurry of Activity Across M&A, FA Recruiting and Executive Leadership Updates

Reviewing news coverage of industry activities and company announcements over the past two months, and it’s clear that three trends are intensifying:  First and foremost, the volume and pace of M&A transactions are, if anything, continuing to accelerate.

We foresee plenty of acquisition and recruiting action on the horizon.

Third, financial services firms of all sizes are continuing to bring aboard new executive talent while also promoting from within.

Next, the ongoing pandemic has not put a crimp in the ongoing financial advisor recruiting wars between firms.  If anything the movement of financial advisors of all business models has hit a new frenetic level, with dual registrant and “pure play” RIA aggregators showing little restraint in the resources they are willing to expend to win the recruiting wars for this year – And beyond.

In our inaugural Transitions, Transactions & Promotions section, we bring you a curated selection of our top five favorite media clips that cover each of these areas of activity, ranked in order of strategic importance by our editorial team – And why it matters.

  1. Oppenheimer names investment banking leader Robert Lowenthal President
Robert Lowenthal, President, Oppenheimer

Lowenthal’s appointment to this newly-created position “recognizes his leading role at the firm where he has built and led multiple business divisions; established the core infrastructure and systems to support accelerated performance and scale; developed the global talent base to create effective teams throughout the firm; and played a central role in driving the firm’s strategy for growth.”

Why it matters:  Global firms like Oppenheimer that straddle institutional financial services – such as capital markets, M&A and public debt – and high net worth financial services like wealth management – appear well-positioned to grow significantly by tapping into the synergies between these two sides of the industry.

To read the November 30, 2021 article by Karen DeMasters of FA Magazine, click here.

  1. LPL Financial recruits $13 billion in 2021 Q3 across multiple channels

“LPL Financial has been adding advisors via Strategic Wealth Services, its W-2 employee model and its relaunched RIA custody offering.  LPL Financial reported $13 billion in recruited assets during the third quarter, up 24% from a year ago, bringing its trailing-12-month recruited assets to $83 billion, more than double a year ago. Advisor head count reached 19,627, up 513 from the second quarter of 2021 and 2,459 from a year ago.”

Why it matters:  Wealth management firms that have traditionally approached the industry from the independent channel are more aggressively launching and expanding their own W-2 employee-advisor channels to augment their growth.  Long-term, this could result in greater convergence between the independent and employee channels for wealth management.

To read the November 1, 2021 article by Diana Britton of WealthManagement, click here.

  1. Mariner Wealth Advisors acquires RTS Private Wealth

Mariner Wealth Advisors, a national wealth advisory firm, is acquiring Robinson, Tigue, Sponcil Private Wealth Management (RTS), a Phoenix, AZ-based wealth management firm that will become Mariner’s second office in the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area. This is the firm’s 10th announced acquisition since the beginning of the year.  Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Mariner has approximately $50 billion in assets, was advised in this transaction by Echelon Partners, the RIA-focused M&A advisory investment bank, according to sources in the M&A advisory community. 

“Put me in, coach!” – Private Equity Capital

Why it matters:  Mariner Wealth Advisors is backed by private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, and the firm’s addition of $15 billion in AUA for 2021 alone, with M&A driving much of this growth, shows how the trillions of dollars in private equity capital that had largely been sitting on the sidelines vis-à-vis the independent wealth management space in prior years has definitely entered the playing field.

  1. Pershing acquires direct indexing business Optimal Asset Management

“Pershing is getting into the direct indexing business. The high-end RIA custodian revealed on Thursday it plans to acquire Optimal Asset Management.  Pershing, which is a division of BNY Mellon, plans to integrate Optimal Asset Management into its recenly unveiled business line, Pershing X, which is intended to give RIAs a single end-to-end technology stack.”

Why it matters:  While direct indexing businesses aren’t exactly awe-inspiring as centers of innovation, the fact that one of the nation’s most successful custodians is acquiring a leading business in this space as part of a broader vision of helping RIAs seamlessly connect disparate sources of technology and data is a sign of the times.

To read the December 2, 2021 article by Ian Wenik of CityWire, click here.

  1. ComplySci acquires National Regulatory Services to create 

“Regulatory technology and compliance solutions provider for the financial services sector, ComplySci, acquired National Regulatory Services (NRS) in a transaction announced on October 21.  NRS is an advanced provider of compliance consulting services and technology solutions with over three-decades supporting investment advisers, broker-dealers, hedge funds, private equity firms, insurers and other financial services firms.”

With lower regulatory and compliance costs, regtech is soaring to new heights!

Why it matters:  Regtech continues to attract investment from private equity and venture capital firms, and new business from wealth management firms, private equity firms, hedge funds and asset managers who see opportunities to leverage technology to reduce compliance and regulatory costs while continuing to grow on a scalable basis.  Expect much more dealmaking in this space in the weeks and months to come.

To read the October 31, 2021 article by Cindy Taylor of Digital Wealth News, click here.

Have an M&A deal, financial advisor recruiting or executive leadership move you want to share with us?  Email the news to us at

Michael Madden is Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report

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