Transitions, Transactions & Promotions: CI Financial’s Continued Canadian Invasion of America and More

Julius Buchanan, Senior Contributing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

M&A Activity in Double-Digit Billions, Robust Advisor Recruiting Keeps Pace, Cetera Promotes Tim Stinson and Strategic Alliances Emphasize AI and Private Credit 

Machine learning – a game changer.

We’re excited to deliver a new installment of Transitions, Transactions & Promotions, our regular column compiling the most prominent recent stories of recruitment, M&A, strategic alliances, promotions and people moves across the industry with a clear explanation of why each story matters. 

Before we dive into the details, here’s a quick overview of activity in late December and January:

  • Advisor recruitment for IBDs and corporate RIAs maintained a brisk pace through the holiday season, as LPL and Advisor Group announced multiple recruitments tallying to large asset sums.
  • M&A welcomed 2022 with fireworks. When you’re used to talking in millions, eye-watering numbers like $24 billion or C$9 billion look like typos at first glance – but CI Financial’s acquisitions reach dizzying heights. 
  • Finally, the strategic alliances we cover in today’s column reveal the strength of two trends in wealth management: artificial intelligence and private credit investment. 

Without further ado, let’s examine these in turn.

Advisor Transactions 

1. LPL Recruits Elite Financial Network, McLaughlin Asset Management and Sterling Wealth Group

LPL Financial dominates the market with recent recruiting moves, including these sizeable recruits: Elite Financial Network with $1 billion in assets, McLaughlin Asset Management with $600 million in assets, which aligned with Gladstone Wealth Partners in the move, and Sterling Wealth Group, with $390 million in assets. Press releases show LPL recruited many other smaller firms at the same time.

In recruitment, you’re not just hiring people – you’re sowing the seeds.

Why it matters: LPL crossed into 2022 with strong recruitment of advisory firms to its broker-dealer, corporate RIA and custodial platforms, placing it among the top recruiting IBDs in the industry currently. 

For more information, view the press releases here, here and here.

2. Advisor Group Welcomes Multiple Advisors Totaling over $1 Billion in Assets 

Advisor Group had a banner month according to their press releases. In January they announced multiple financial advisor recruitments totaling over $1 billion in assets, including Columbia Capital Partners of South Carolina with $125 million in assets, Matt Feehan and Jon Shore with over $186 million in assets, Gerald Kleber, Dustin Carr and Tad Lyle with a combined $481 million in assets and Kelcie Schiraldi, Jonathan Macko and Nick Hunzinger, with combined assets over $231 million. 

Why it matters: Advisor Group’s strategy of recruiting through multiple, unique broker-dealers and various OSJs produces success. Spurning the one-size-fits-all approach for the we’ve-got-something-for-you approach and recruiting individual advisors rather than just firms yields results and tallies large asset numbers for Advisor Group. 

For more information, see the press releases here, here, here and here.

3.  Kingswood U.S. Recruits $295 Million in Total Client Assets with Addition of Seven Independent Financial Advisors and Practices

Kingswood U.S. welcomed seven new advisors to their network totaling $295 million in client assets including Austin-based Donald Kuhs, Fullerton, California-based Paul Lee and Namhee Park, San Diego-based Barry Waxler, Anthony Nardi of Rye Brook, New York and Cynthia A. Pulver and John David Jensen of American Fork, Utah. 

If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.

Why it matters: Not all IBDs and corporate RIAs fit the juggernaut weight class, and at WSR we cover the smaller ones when they make big moves, like Kingswood U.S., which with these recruitments totaling $295 million in assets displays rapid growth relative to its total of $3 billion in assets. With growth percentages in this range, Kingswood won’t stay small for long.

For more information, the press release is here.

4. LaSalle St. Recruits Two Independent Wealth Management Firms From LPL Financial and Securities America

LaSalle St. announced the recruitment of Wilmington, Massachusetts-based Brisbois Capital, with $90 million in assets from Securities America and Associates Group of Chicago, with $70 million in assets from LPL. The heads of both Brisbois Capital and Associates Group emphasized personal aspects such as relationships, access to leadership and the IBD’s knowledge of the firm’s business among reasons why they chose LaSalle.

Why it matters: Though much larger than Kingswood U.S., with over $12 billion in assets LaSalle St isn’t one of the LPL or Cetera-sized mega-firms, but the firm continues to succeed in recruiting more advisors to its platform.  LaSalle St’s recruiting momentum clearly suggests that the future of the industry doesn’t belong solely to the mega-firms in the industry, and that being nimble and offering accessibility to senior home office leaders still goes a long way in the recruiting wars.

To learn more, see the press release here.

Mergers & Acquisitions

5. Hightower Acquires TC Wealth Partners and Trust Company of Illinois

Estate planning: It’s not about your wealth – it’s about your stewardship and legacy.

Hightower announced its acquisition of TC Wealth Partners, a wealth management, trust and retirement plan services company based in Chicago and Downers Grove, Illinois, overseeing approximately $1.65 billion in assets. Hightower also acquired Trust Company of Illinois, a TC Wealth subsidiary, which delivers trust and estate planning, administration, guardianship, executor and co-executor services and retirement plan services.

Why it matters: Aside from the large size of the acquisition, which reflects the momentum of wealth management M&A as we cross into 2022, the trust company subsidiary acquisition strengthens Hightower’s trust and estate services available to advisors across its sizeable network. In the retirement planning space, trusts and estates planning is the logical next tool in the holistic advice toolbox.

For more information, view the press release here

6. CI Financial Acquires U.S. and Canadian Firms

“Lead” by example instead of “living” by example.

CI Financial recently completed the acquisition of Northwood Family Office, which manages  approximately C$2.2 billion of investment assets and C$9 billion of family net worth, Columbia Pacific Wealth Management, with $6.4 billion in assets, and four other RIAs with a combined total of approximately $24 billion in assets: Bluestein, CPWM, Gofen and Regent Atlantic

Why it matters: The staggering numbers speak for themselves and represent ongoing M&A activity, not just a one-and-done spike. In 2021, Canada’s CI Financial expanded its U.S.-based assets by $90 billion, making U.S. wealth management the largest business line within CI, with the stated goal of becoming the leading private wealth firm in the United States. Look for CI Financial to establish itself firmly within the American wealth management space.

To learn more, the press releases are here, here and here.

Promotions & People Moves

7. Cetera Appoints Tim Stinson to President of Cetera Advisor Networks

Get promoted not for doing your job well but by demonstrating your potential to do more.

Cetera Financial Group announced that Tim Stinson, formerly Head of Wealth Management, will assume the role of President of Cetera Advisor Networks, while the previous President and CEO of Cetera Advisor Networks, Tom Taylor, will serve as Chief Sales and Growth Officer and in an advisory role to Cetera Advisor Networks. A part of the multi-faceted Cetera organization, Cetera Advisor Networks supports super OSJs, producer groups, financial institutions and networks of professionals.

Stinson also leads a new Executive Management Committee for Cetera Advisor Networks.

Why it matters: Tim Stinson has proven himself over seven years at Cetera and this move brings a fresh and industrious executive to lead Cetera Advisor Networks while maintaining Tom Taylor’s years of experience through an advisory role. The creation of the Executive Management Committee could indicate a renewed emphasis by Cetera on growth and expansion for Cetera Advisor Networks. 

For more information, see the press release here.

Strategic Alliances & Partnerships

8. Kingswood U.S. Partners with Briarcliffe Credit Partners as Flagship New York City OSJ

Kingswood U.S. announced a strategic alliance with Briarcliffe Credit Partners serving it as an OSJ and as part of this relationship Briarcliffe, a placement agency exclusively dedicated to private credit, will provide access to private credit opportunities for Kingswood U.S.’s affiliated financial advisors.

Why it matters: Private credit is booming because it creates opportunities for income, capital growth and risk management outside of publicly traded stocks and bonds. For investors concerned about volatility or low yields in traditional markets, private credit provides a very popular solution. As client expectations grow, financial advisors must find ways to give clients access to these instruments.

To learn more, view the press release here

9. Docupace and JIFFY.ai Partner to Bring Next Generation Automation to the Back Office

Docupace, a provider of cloud-based fintech digital operations software and JIFFY.ai, a provider of end-to-end intelligent automation applications, announced their joint development of a suite of automation solutions leveraging on intelligent document processing, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, as well as machine learning and advanced analytics to deliver benefits at scale across enterprise operations.

Why it matters: As advancing technology blurs the lines between back and front office and firms look to cut costs by automating as many processes as possible, intelligent automation, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, provides the next step in the evolution of automating and interlinking processes. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have reached a stage of maturity that allows for their deployment across fintech solutions, meaning competition will soon demand advisors use these tools. 

For more information, see the press release here.


Julius Buchanan, Senior Contributing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at jbuchanan@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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