Transitions, Transactions & Promotions: Mercer Acquires $5 Billion Regis As DeVoe Updates M&A Forecast

Chris Latham, Deputy Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

DeVoe & Company Sees 2022 Deal Flow Surpassing 2021, Mercer Advisors Acquires $5 Billion Regis Management Company, WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Winners Close Out Year With Acquisitions And More 

Our final 2022 edition of Transitions, Transactions & Promotions features activity by a wide range of wirehouses, leading independent broker-dealers and large RIAs, including by a couple winners of our inaugural WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards. But first, here’s some important new data on industry M&A activity:

According to DeVoe & Company, the number of transactions for 2022 through Dec. 6 is 242, slightly above last year’s full-year total of 241. Thirty-nine deals posted in the fourth quarter as of Dec. 6, compared with 59 transactions in Q4 as of the same date in 2021. This 34% decline still is far higher than what the October and November numbers indicated.

Carefully planned exit.

DeVoe & Company forecasts approximately 260 transactions for the year, an 8% increase over 2021. David DeVoe, Founder and CEO of DeVoe & Company, also discussed the trends while onstage at the MarketCounsel Summit this week.

And now onto our entries, which 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. LPL Financial Recruits $650 Million Financial House From Lincoln Financial

LPL Financial recruited Centreville, Delaware-based Financial House from Lincoln Financial. Joseph Biloon, Robert Griesemer and Emily Woodson lead the 12-member team that oversees approximately $650 million in advisory, brokerage and retirement plan assets.

Why it matters: “Financial House was founded primarily as an insurance and planning firm, but that’s changed over the years. We now offer more comprehensive, complex investment strategies and planning, so working with an insurance-based partner no longer suited our business model,” Griesemer said in the press release. 

“We looked at different opportunities and spoke with friends and colleagues in the industry to get their perspective. At the end of the day, we recognized LPL would provide us with more independence and flexibility to grow our practice as we see fit.”

To learn more, view the press release here.

2. Merrill Lynch Wins Team From Citi, Loses Billion-Dollar Advisor To Morgan Stanley

Advisors coming and going

A team of four advisors serving clients in New York and Connecticut left Citi Private Bank for Merrill Lynch, and an advisor serving clients in the New York metro area left Merrill Lynch for Morgan Stanley, according to Finra’s BrokerCheck website.

Why it matters: As wirehouses push for ever-higher production levels, billion-dollar practices that once were signs of extreme success are becoming commonplace, and wirehouses can now accept losing such advisors because they can replace them with ease. The four advisors who joined Merrill – Frank FalcoJohn HuberKevin Condon and Alexandra Maksimow – oversee approximately $1 billion in assets, according to an article on Nasdaq.com. 

The advisor who joined Morgan Stanley – Roei Gigi – also oversees approximately $1 billion in assets under management (AUM), according to Forbes.

To learn more, view the Nasdaq.com article here and the Forbes profile here.

3. First Republic Recruits $972 Million, Eight-Person Team From Wells Fargo Advisors

Eight financial professionals based in Palo Alto, California, left Wells Fargo Advisors for First Republic Investment Management, part of First Republic Bank. They reportedly oversaw $972 million in assets at Wells Fargo and the five leading advisors have approximately 75 years of combined industry experience.

Powerful additions to the team

Why it matters: First Republic is a middle market bank with large ambitions. It has made over a dozen recruitment announcements so far in 2022. As we covered last month, the company also recruited a five-member team led by Marc Koch and Christopher Walters, who were previously Executive Directors at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management. The team, which operates in New York and Connecticut, reportedly oversees approximately $500 million in assets.

To learn more, view the press release here.

4. tru Independence Adds $250 Million Invenio Wealth Partners In Florida

Dogra rises to the top.

Portland, Oregon-based tru Independence added Coral Gables, Florida-based Invenio Wealth Partners to its platform, gaining a team that oversees approximately $250 million in assets. Invenio’s co-founders are CEO Joe Fernandez, Chief Investment Officer Christina Hudson and Managing Director Johanna Arbelaez-Pérez.

Why it matters: Fresh leadership may have invigorated tru Independence, which prides itself on providing advisors with access to turnkey technology infrastructure and in-house C-suite level personnel. In February, Amit Dogra joined as President and COO. 

The firm has approximately $9 billion in assets on its platform and has seen the addition of over $1 billion in assets this year. In November, tru Independence also added Channel Wealth, a firm managing approximately $650 million in assets from Santa Barbara, California.

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

Mergers & Acquisitions

5. Mercer Advisors Acquires $5 Billion Regis Management Company

Serving elite clientele

Denver-based Mercer Advisors acquired Regis Management Company, a San Francisco and Menlo Park, California-based firm with approximately $5 billion in assets under management and advisement. Regis serves ultra-high net worth individuals, multigenerational families, foundations and endowments. 

Regis will leverage Mercer’s family office services, which include estate planning, tax consulting and return preparation, as well as trustee services. Berkshire Global Advisors served as the exclusive financial advisor to Regis.

Why it matters: This deal, announced on Dec. 1, suggests that Mercer is on a roll in Q4 with huge acquisitions. As we covered in October, Mercer also recently acquired San Ramon, California-based Goldstein Munger + Associates, which has an AUM of approximately $1 billion. 

DeVoe and Company advised Goldstein Munger + Associates on M&A for the transaction. Mercer, which is majority owned by private equity firms Oak Hill Capital and Genstar Capital, oversees more than $37 billion in client assets and has more than 90 offices nationwide.

To learn more, view the press release here.

6. SageView Acquires Horsetooth Financial, Closes Lakeview Deal

Horsetooth strides to SageView

Newport Beach, California-based SageView Advisory Group acquired Horsetooth Financial, a Fort Collins, Colorado-based team that provides fee-based asset management, coordinated estate planning and insurance services. Michael Hall, who founded Horsetooth in 1991, has more than 38 years of financial services experience. SageView has over 30 offices nationwide and approximately $3.5 billion in wealth AUM.

Why it matters: This is the eighth deal that SageView has announced since July 2021. The RIA, which has a partnership with the private equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners, also completed the previously announced acquisition of Lakeview Wealth Management, a women-led team based in Deer Park, Illinois, that oversees approximately $415 million in assets. 

SageView recently won two WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards, for Boutique Deal of the Year and Retirement Plan Advisory Firm of the Year.

To learn more, view the press release here.

Strategic Partnerships

7. LPL’s Institution Services To Support $4.4 Billion Commerce Financial Advisors

Strong support structure

LPL Financial struck a deal with Commerce Bank, a subsidiary of Commerce Bancshares, for LPL’s Institution Services platform to assume support for Commerce Financial Advisors, which has nearly 30 advisors and approximately $4.4 billion in brokerage and advisory assets. Its advisors are based in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. Commerce Bancshares is a publicly traded holding company with $32.6 billion in assets.

Why it matters: This deal represents a new key strategic partnership for both companies, and it is among the many reasons why we chose LPL Financial President and CEO Dan Arnold as the WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Person of the Year

St. Louis-based Commerce Financial Advisors provides investment strategies including custom portfolios and managed accounts, IRAs and annuities, life insurance and estate planning, as well as succession planning and employee benefits solutions for small business.

To learn more, view the press release here.

8. Former Morgan Stanley Advisors Launch $5 Billion Dynasty-Backed Nordwand Capital

Nimble and responsive

A team of five financial professionals, three of whom previously worked in the wealth management business of Morgan Stanley, launched the multi-family office and investment firm Nordwand Capital in Radnor, Pennsylvania. The team has approximately $5 billion in client assets and a presence in New York and Boston, according to the press release.

Why it matters: Nordwand operates as an RIA on the Dynasty Financial Partners platform and uses Fidelity Brokerage Services as its custodian. Dynasty, not Nordwand, issued the press release, and John Phillips, Head of Platform Sales at Fidelity Institutional, is quoted in the press release. Such visible support at the outset from prominent strategic partners suggests that Nordwand is positioned to become an industry player to watch in 2023.

To learn more, view the press release here.

Promotions & People Moves

9. Smarsh Appoints New CFO And Chief People & Diversity Officer

Kim Crawford Goodman, CEO, Smarsh

Smarsh, a digital communications compliance and intelligence provider for organizations including financial services firms, appointed Mike Cagle as Chief Financial Officer and Leander LeSure as Chief People & Diversity Officer. They will focus on helping guide the regulatory technology (regtech) and software company through its next phase of growth. 

Nine of the top ten multinational investment banks are among the more than 6,500 customers worldwide that Smarsh serves, as are U.S.-based broker-dealers and RIAs.

Why it matters: In June, Smarsh appointed Kim Crawford Goodman as Chief Executive Officer. In October, Robert Cruz, Vice President, Information Governance & Strategic Alliances, was named the WSR Pathfinder Awards Hispanic Wealthtech Leader Of The Year. This makes Smarsh one of the few major fintech companies led by a Black woman and whose C-suite consists of numerous executives with diverse backgrounds.

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

10. AAAA Appoints Stifel Executive Alex David Incoming Chairman Emeritus

Alex David, President and CEO, Stifel Independent Advisors

The Association of African American Financial Advisors (AAAA), a non-profit organization for African American wealth management professionals, announced the appointment of Alex David, President and CEO of Stifel Independent Advisors, as its incoming Chairman Emeritus. AAAA Founder LeCount Davis will transition to a chief advisory role but remain Chairman Emeritus and a member of the Board of Directors in 2023.

Why it matters: This appointment and transition involves two noteworthy leaders in the wealth management industry. The first African American to earn the CFP designation, Davis founded AAAA in 2001 to address the needs of African American financial professionals. 

David leads the wealth management division of Stifel, a publicly traded company founded in 1890 whose market capitalization exceeds $6 billion. The incoming Chairman Emeritus will provide strategic guidance to the AAAA as it implements the next stage of its vision for a more equitable industry.

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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