Transitions, Transactions & Promotions: Advisor Group and Mariner Acquisitions Reach Dizzying Heights

Acquisitions in the Billions for IBDs, Direct Indexing and Advisor Support Services, New C-suite Officers and Top Execs Appointed and Advisor Recruiting Maintains Pace

Julius Buchanan, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

With the end of the month upon us, we’re excited to deliver the newest installment of our Transitions, Transactions & Promotions column, covering the latest in M&A activity, promotions, people moves and advisor recruiting.

While strategic partnerships slowed during the past month, late June through July brought strong M&A activity, brisk recruiting and prominent people moves.

  • This month, Advisor Group and Mariner made acquisitions in the double-digit billions, and LPL and First Trust joined in the action. What’s on their shopping list? Broker-dealers, advisor support services and direct indexing capabilities.

Also, as previously mentioned in our coverage of the ECHELON and DeVoe quarterly deal reports, RIA acquisitions in the wealth management space have surged forward, a fact demonstrated by Wealth Enhancement Group’s andSanctuary Wealth’s recent acquisitions.

  • Undaunted by financial market weakness, advisor recruitment transactions continued at a strong clip, with Ameriprise, Cetera and Kingswood U.S. (recently covered) recruiting across a wide range of advisors from small firms to wirehouse breakaways to financial institutions.

Without further ado, the details are here:

Advisor Transactions

1. Ameriprise Wins $1.7 Billion Wirehouse Breakaway, Two Other Recruits

Ameriprise recruited Baytown, Texas-based Jennifer Marcontell and her team from Edward Jones. Taking the name Marcontell Wealth Management, the team will continue to focus on approximately 450 high net worth client families. In addition, the firm recruited Virginia Credit Union’s $335 million wealth management program and Florida and Connecticut-based Coastal Group, with $165 million in assets.

Recruiting through diversity!

Why it matters: Ameriprise demonstrated the ability to come out on top in recruiting across a wide range of acquiree sizes and specialties. Notably, Ameriprise’s National Women’s Recruiting Director helped persuade Marcontell, which makes the case for diversity in a firm’s recruiting staff to speak to the needs of diverse advisors.

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

2. Cetera Recruits Multiple Advisors and a Bank

Cetera Financial Advisors recruited an Eatontown, New Jersey-based branch office, formerly of National Securities, led by Michael Bergin, with $250 million in assets and two advisory teams with combined assets of $600 million – Twin Cities-based Mark Nakamitsu’s team and Birmingham, Alabama-based Rick Farrar’s team. In addition, the firm onboarded Milwaukee-based PyraMax Bank to Cetera Financial Institutions from LPL.

Why it matters: Though always showing strong in the recruiting battles, sometimes LPL loses advisors to another firm. PyraMax is the third recruit for Cetera Financial Institutions this year. This is a strong month for Cetera recruiting and follows on the heels of the $1 billion Harvest Wealth recruitment a month ago.

To find out more, see the press releases here, here and here.

3. Atria Subsidiary Brings Aboard $252 Million PNW Firm

Forster Financial, a financial practice located in Spokane, Washington, has joined Atria’s Cadaret Grant & Co., Inc. Firm President and CEO Robert Forster, AIF®, brings three additional financial professionals and over $250 million in assets under administration to the Atria wholly-owned subsidiary. The firm left Securities America, an Advisor Group subsidiary.

Why it matters: Atria’s award-winning technology was cited by Forster as a significant driver to join the firm, but the “human touch” made the final decision clear. “The technology here is a game changer, but the personal touch and culture of partnership at Atria and Cadaret Grant is what’s completely differentiated,” Forster said in a release. “Instead of dealing with systems and phone queues, we’re working with a team of people. We’re not just a number anymore.”

Learn more at the press release.

Mergers & Acquisitions

4. Advisor Group Continues Strategic Growth with Acquisition of American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc.

With the backing ofReverence Capital Partners,Advisor Group announced an agreement to acquire Holbrook, New York-based independent broker-dealer American Portfolios Financial Services with approximately $40 billion in client assets and supporting approximately 850 financial advisors. This announcement follows shortly after Advisor Group’s previous announcement of its acquisition of financial institution-focused broker-dealer Infinex.

The firepower of capital!

Why it matters: We often hear of “aggregators” in the industry, but the word usually refers to RIA aggregators. With the financial firepower of Reverence Capital, Advisor Group is rapidly becoming the independent broker-dealer aggregator. With several IBDs already within the corporate family and awaiting two more to join, one must ask if Advisor Group has any intention of slowing down.

To learn more, view the press release.

5. LPL Financial to Acquire Boenning & Scattergood

LPL Financial announced the acquisition of the Private Client Group business of West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based broker-dealer and corporate RIA Boenning & Scattergood, with approximately $5 billion in client assets and serving approximately 40 advisors. Boenning will join using LPL’s employee advisor model and retain its own brand.

Shopping for a broker-dealer?

Why it matters: Advisor Group isn’t the only industry mega-firm to go shopping for broker-dealers. In fact, ECHELON Partners’ recent RIA deal report indicated a trend of larger IBDs acquiring smaller ones.

It’s noteworthy that the firm onboarded through LPL’s employee advisor model, marking a significant expansion of that model within LPL and proving that larger groups of advisors may welcome the model.

To find out more, see the press release.

6. First Trust Capital Partners, LLC to Acquire Direct Indexing Firm Veriti Management LLC

First Trust Capital Partners announced its acquisition of Veriti Management, expected to close at the end of July. As a provider of customized direct indexing services, Veriti is expected to bring tax-aware, values-based direct indexing to First Trust’s advisor toolkit. As of May 31, First Trust had $203 billion in assets under management or supervision.

Why it matters: First Trust’s advisors gave feedback that clients wanted customization for their portfolios, and Veriti provides that solution through direct indexing. Veriti’s direct indexing aims at tax efficiencies, tax loss harvesting, ESG considerations, risk appetite, capital gains management and more, exemplifying one of wealthtech’s themes – bringing formerly high net worth services to the masses.

For more information, see the press release.

7. Mariner Wealth Advisors Continues its Expansion with the Acquisition of The Financial Services Network

Mariner Wealth Advisors will acquire The Financial Services Network, which provides administrative, consulting, compliance and operational services for over 400 financial advisors with $26 billion in assets. Mariner will leverage the acquisition to expand the reach of its affiliate Mariner Platform Solutions, a provider of back-office resources to independent advisors. The Financial Services Network, which will rebrand as Mariner Advisor Network, will continue its relationship with LPL Financial.

We’ve caught a big one!

Why it matters: The acquisition of a $26 billion firm with 400 advisors dwarfs the much smaller Mariner Platform Solutions, with $2.6 billion and 66 advisors, evidencing a strong commitment by Mariner to the business model of providing services to independent advisors who want to focus primarily on the front end of their business. It’s also a win for LPL, which will continue to serve this sizeable group of advisors.

To learn more, see the press release.

Promotions & People Moves

8.  KESTRA HOLDINGS WELCOMES SEASONED EXECUTIVE CHRIS MACLAUGHLIN AS CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

Kestra Holdings appointed Chris MacLaughlin as its new Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President. MacLaughlin will oversee Kestra’s marketing initiatives across websites, social media, industry events and public relations and is tasked with placing and monitoring goals across the company and ensuring a consistent narrative.

Specifically, she will direct the marketing team in building a B2B lead generation engine within her first six months at the firm.

Why it matters: MacLaughlin’s arrival marks a major marketing push at Kestra, and the immediate target of establishing a lead generation engine demonstrates a desire to serve advisors with practical marketing tools, as well as the increasing role technology plays in marketing in the financial advisory space.

To learn more, view the press release.

9. Compliance Risk Concepts Expands Leadership Team to Support Strategic Growth

Compliance Risk Concepts (CRC) hired Jonathan Telfair, formerly the Application Manager and Principal Examiner of the FINRA Membership Application Program, as its Associate Director of Broker-Dealer Registration. To keep pace with growth and demand for compliance services, the firm has added more than a dozen professionals since 2020.

The firm also hired Darren Norwood as Associate Director of Engagement and promoted Kaitlyn Gibbs to Associate Director of Investment Advisory Engagement Management and Regulatory Research.

Why it matters: As compliance requirements soar in wealth management, firms increasingly need help to manage the compliance burden, form adequate systems and make the best decisions – virtually guaranteeing business growth and staff expansion for firms like CRC. And of course, hiring Telfair directly from FINRA provides CRC with an inside track.

To find out more, see the press release.

10. Stratos Wealth Partners Names Alexandra Wlassowsky Managing Director, Business Development

A great place to recruit!

Stratos Wealth Partners appointed Alexandra Wlassowsky to Managing Director, Business Development, with responsibility for recruiting in the San Francisco Bay area. Previously, Wlassowsky served as Senior Vice President, Regional Brokerage Manager at Wells Fargo Advisors and managed teams of advisors at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Why it matters: With extensive experience leading teams of advisors in the Bay Area, Wlassowsky is perfectly suited to recruit advisors there. Her arrival at Stratos shows the firm’s eagerness to grow in and bullishness on Northern California, as well as confidence that they can successfully recruit large numbers of wirehouse breakaways.

To learn more, see the press release.


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


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