Transitions, Transactions & Promotions: SageView, Journey Strategic Wealth Acquire Women-Led Practices

Chris Latham,
Deputy Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

A Huge New Hybrid RIA Emerges, Women-Led Firms Conduct Strategic M&A And Three Big Firms Make Executive Promotions From Within

The deals in this month’s Transitions, Transactions & Promotions column back up industry findings that RIAs are among the strongest subsectors in M&A. According to Fidelity, 155 RIA deals occurred in the first eight months of 2022, up 35% from the same period last year.

Indeed, advisor transactions and M&A entered autumn with no discernable fall in deal momentum. Stratos Wealth Advisors and Cetera Financial Group recruited practices while Concurrent Advisors established its hybrid RIA. For M&A, in addition to Hightower, we feature Journey Strategic Wealth and Lakeview Wealth Management – two women-led firms each involved in distinct deals.

No discernible fall in deal momentum

We recap strategic partnerships where Independent Advisor Alliance took a minority stake in GenWealth Financial Advisors and Private Advisor Group announced a tuck-in deal with AK Financial Group.

In promotions and people moves, three firms made high-profile executive changes. Prospera Financial Services appointed as President Tarah Williams, who already served as Chief Operating Officer – a role that she will keep. Concourse Financial Group also appointed former COO David Perry to Chief Executive Officer as Doyle Williams, the former CEO, became Chief Marketing Officer of Concourse’s parent company, Protective Life.

Our entries add fresh perspective to some stories we’ve published over the past few weeks and look into new developments that we explore for the first time. Here are the details:

Advisor Transactions

1. Stratos Wealth Advisors Recruits Kenneth J. Gimbel, With $400 Million In AUM

Beachwood, Ohio-based Stratos Wealth Advisors recruited Kenneth J. Gimbel, a Chicago-based advisor most recently at CIBC Private Wealth Management who oversees more than $400 million in assets under management (AUM) and has over 50 years of industry experience. He specializes in customizing asset management programs for large and complex trusts and investment relationships.

Why it matters: Gimbel was a partner at Geneva Investment Management before CIBC acquired it in 2017 and served ultra-high-net-worth clients at Harris Bank’s Wealth Group for 15 years. He brings deep institutional knowledge that can help Stratos operations, along with a healthy amount of client assets.

Stratos Wealth Advisors, part of Stratos Wealth Holdings, oversees more than $2.2 billion in advisory assets. The Stratos family of companies – which also includes Stratos Wealth Partners, Stratos Wealth Enterprises and Fundamentum – collectively oversees $21 billion in assets.

To learn more, view the press release here.

2. Cetera Recruits $3 Billion Burrows Capital Advisors Via Totus In Texas

Cetera Financial Group recruited League City, Texas-based Burrows Capital Advisors through an affiliation with The Woodlands, Texas-based Totus Wealth Management. Burrows Capital Advisors, which oversees more than $3 billion in assets under administration (AUA), had been with Hilltop Securities. 

Elite service

Why it matters: This is an example of a major firm demonstrating its value to strategically important organizations that it serves. Totus supplies back-office support to its network partners, which consist of approximately 10 wealth management teams. Entities such as Totus can be successful without having easily recognizable brand names, while firms such as Cetera can fill that gap in their arsenal and help attract valuable advisors. As of Dec. 31, Cetera had approximately $122 billion in AUM and $353 billion in AUA.

To learn more, view the press release here.

3. Concurrent Advisors Exits Raymond James To Form $12.7 Billion Hybrid RIA

Tampa, Florida-based Concurrent Advisors is restructuring as a multi-custodial hybrid RIA after ending its independent affiliation with Raymond James. Serving 145 advisors in 66 offices with $12.7 billion in AUM, Concurrent aims to reach $15 billion in AUM by the end of 2023.

Why it matters: A need for affordable, scalable technology fueled this culmination of gradual steps toward independence for Concurrent Co-founder Mike Hlavek. He spent nearly nine years at Raymond James and before that spent nearly 15 years at Morgan Stanley. Hlavek cited integrations with market-leading planning tools, trading solutions, TAMPs, alternative platforms and CRMs as benefits of restructuring.

The firm, which was founded in 2016 and has 38 operations staff, has a partnership with Merchant Investment Management for capital and strategic resources.

To learn more, view the press release here.

Mergers & Acquisitions

4. SageView Advisory To Acquire $415 Million Women-Led Lakeview Wealth Management

The Newport Beach, California-based RIA SageView Advisory Group is acquiring Lakeview Wealth Management, a six-woman team that oversees approximately $415 million in client assets from Deer Park, Illinois. The transaction is expected to close by Dec. 1.

Making progress in a
male-dominated industry

Why it matters: Woman-led advisor practices and all-woman teams of advisors in particular remain rare. Lakeview is led by Judy VanArsdale and Lisa VanArsdale. The team had been affiliated with LPL Financial prior to the deal. This also is SageView’s seventh deal since the private equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners took a majority stake in January 2021. SageView has over 30 offices nationwide and approximately $13.6 billion in discretionary AUM.

To learn more, view the press release here.

5. Journey Strategic Wealth Brings On Three Advisory Teams With $210 Million In Assets

Woman-led Journey Strategic Wealth (JSW) is adding three teams with six advisors, representing a combined $210 million in new AUM for the boutique financial advisory firm. Richmond, Virginia-based Mark Newfield, Seattle-based Laurie Adams and traveling advisor Kathleen Barlow bring their practices to JSW, which itself has offices in Summit, New Jersey, and Alamo, California. Newfield’s team also includes advisor Angela Lessor, financial planner Melissa Clark and operations leader Danielle Handshaw.

Why it matters: Penny Phillips, President and Co-Founder of JSW, has a prominent social media presence among financial advisors and she recently spoke at the Future Proof wealth technology festival. Prior to this set of deals, her 12-member team already had a nearly even split of men and women. JSW is fully acquiring the business from Adams. JSW is partially acquiring Barlow’s and Newfield’s businesses, with plans to fully acquire them within the next three years. Prior to the deals, JSW had approximately $2.6 billion in AUM.

To learn more, view the press release here.

6. Hightower Facilitates $102 Million Sub-Acquisition For Fairport Wealth In New Jersey

Hightower facilitated the sub-acquisition of the Princeton, New Jersey-based firm Optimal Portfolio by Fairport Wealth, a Hightower business based in Cleveland. Yu Oen leads Optimal Portfolio, which has approximately $102 million in AUM and serves approximately 50 high-net-worth clients.

Hightower aims higher through sub-acquisitions

Why it matters: Hightower has shown that it can make deals easy for advisory businesses with attractive value propositions. This is the fourth sub-acquisition since 2019 for Fairport Wealth, which now has approximately $3.4 billion in AUM. The Hightower M&A team provided sourcing, valuation, deal structuring, due diligence, legal and regulatory, pre- and post-close integration, and capital resources for the transactions.

As of June 30, Hightower had approximately $108.4 billion in AUM, $132.6 billion in AUA and over 131 advisory businesses nationwide.

To learn more, view the press release here.

Strategic Partnerships

7. Independent Advisor Alliance Invests In $763 Million GenWealth Financial Advisors

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based hybrid RIA firm Independent Advisor Alliance (IAA) took a minority stake in Bryant, Arkansas-based GenWealth Financial Advisors. Founders John Shrewsbury and Janet Walker lead GenWealth, which has over $763 million in client assets, 40 employees and offices in Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

Why it matters: IAA, which supervises over $15 billion in assets, is in due diligence for two additional minority stake acquisitions, and in the last three years completed four M&A transactions and helped its network of independent advisors complete 12 other M&A deals, according to a spokesperson. IAA also has an in-house Director of M&A and Certified Valuation Analyst, Kyle Campbell, who played a central role in the GenWealth deal. IAA will enable GenWealth to leverage its platform capabilities, advisor support services, technology and scale.  

To learn more, view the press release here.

8. Private Advisor Group Brings On $1 Billion AUM AK Financial Group

Irvine, California-based AK Financial Group, which has a 25-member team that oversees more than $1 billion in AUM, is joining the Morristown, New Jersey-based RIA Private Advisor Group. The firms expect to complete the transition by the end of the year. It has been described as a “tuck-in” where AK Financial Group receives back-office support from Private Advisor Group while maintaining operations as its own brand.

LPL keeps assets and talent
on its platform

Why it matters: Private Advisor Group gains a proven business leader with extensive experience across nearly all types of market cycles, while LPL Financial keeps assets and talent on its platform. AK Financial Group Founder and President Andrew C. Karlinski, who has been in the financial services industry since 1976, will become Managing Director West Region of Private Advisor Group. Advisors of both firms are affiliated with LPL as their broker-dealer. As of Dec. 31, Private Advisor Group had more than $33 billion in AUM.

To learn more, view the press release here.

Promotions & People Moves

9. Prospera Financial Services Appoints COO Tarah Williams As Its First President

Tarah Williams, Prospera President and COO

The Dallas-based independent broker-dealer Prospera Financial Services appointed its Chief Operating Officer Tarah Williams to the newly created position of President. She will retain her position as COO and report to Co-CEOs and Managing Partners Tim Edwards and David Stringer. As president, Williams will lead day-to-day operations as well as work with Edwards and Stringer on achieving Prospera’s strategic growth objectives.

Why it matters: Williams represents the growing trend of women executives who are rising up the ranks of major wealth management firms. She has 26 years of industry experience and has been with Prospera for 15 years. Prior to joining Prospera, Williams was President, FA Recruiting Services, at First Clearing, a clearing and custody platform that is a third-party partner of Prospera. The IBD has approximately $14.5 billion in AUM and 94 locations nationwide.

To learn more, view the press release here.

10. Concourse Appoints David Perry CEO, Doyle Williams Becomes CMO Of Protective

Concourse Financial Group appointed David Perry to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Perry had been serving as Chief Operating Officer since the company launched in July 2021. Doyle Williams, the former CEO, was appointed Chief Marketing Officer of Concourse’s parent company, Protective Life, which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Dai-ichi Life Holdings.

David Perry, Concourse CEO

Why it matters: Behold proof that some large firms still reward loyalty. Perry previously was a vice president at Protective where he played key roles in operational risk and corporate strategy development, and consolidating Protective’s distribution companies which evolved into Concourse.

Before serving as Concourse CEO, Williams was Senior Vice President of Distribution Companies at Protective. Concourse has over 450 affiliated financial professionals and approximately $14 billion in AUA, according to a spokesperson. As of Dec. 31, Protective reported approximately $132 billion in assets.

To learn more, view the press release here.

Chris Latham, Deputy Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at clatham@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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