WSR Recognizes Top 5 FA Recruiting Firms

Julius Buchanan, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

WSR Names Bridgemark, Cross-Search, Diamond, FA Match And Terrana As Top Recruiting Firms In Wealth Management

Our industry boasts many excellent in-house recruiters, and we regularly highlight Recruiters of the Month from among their ranks, but there is also a group of elite specialist recruiting firms primarily or exclusively focused on advisor recruitment. This week, WSR honors the most exemplary and influential among that group as the Top 5 FA Recruiting Firms.

These boutique firms formed around the expertise of one or two executives with extensive experience in wealth management and consulting, and in all of them the founders still play a significant role in the firm’s business. 

Though small, these firms punch far above their weight class, with executives frequently sought as speakers for events and conferences and as thought leaders in the media, and known personally by hundreds of C-suite executives and countless advisors.  

To determine the top leaders in this unique and influential space in our industry, we looked at the years in the industry of the firm, founders and key consultants, their experience and track record and their reputation and recognition in the wealth management industry.

This invitation-only recognition goes to the following firms, listed in alphabetical order. Please join us in congratulating them. 

1. Bridgemark Strategies

Jeff Nash,
Co-Founder & CEO,
BridgeMark Strategies

Founded by three-decade industry veteran Jeff Nash in 2017 and built on Nash’s previous experience in consulting and 14 years at LPL Financial in various leadership roles, including SVP of Business Development and SVP of Business Consulting, Bridgemark Strategies has over 120 selling agreements with firms and has collected research on over 200 firms.

Bridgemark provides services in consulting, recruiting and M&A, as well as broker-dealer searches for financial institutions. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm uses a three-criteria system to place advisors that it calls, “Feel, Fit and Financials,” encompassing the cultural feel of the potential match, the fit of business alignment between firms and whether the deal produces a good financial outcome.

“We have worked closely with Jeff Nash and Bridgemark Strategies for years,” said John Pierce, Head of Business Development at Cetera Financial Group. “They are valuable partners that take a holistic approach to solving the unique needs of their clients with a focus on the best interests of the financial professional. Bridgemark is a true partner to Cetera in an industry where there are many vendors. I am personally thrilled that Bridgemark has received the industry recognition they deserve.”  

Larry Papike, Founder, Cross-Search

2. Cross-Search

Encinitas, California-based Cross-Search, founded by Larry Papike in 1989, has successfully placed over 3,500 financial advisors. The firm focuses on the IBD space and has collected due diligence on over 100 IBDs. In addition to advisor recruiting, the firm has also consulted on 17 broker-dealer acquisitions and provides executive search services.

Jodie Papike, President, Cross-Search

Prior to Cross-Search, Larry Papike founded and grew IBD Sentra Securities from one to 410 representatives in eight years as its Executive Vice President. Larry Papike’s daughter, Jodie Papike, joined Cross-Search in 1997 and now serves as President. 

Commenting on the firm, Kevin Beard, Chief Growth Officer & Founding Partner at Atria Wealth Solutions, said, “Unlike other third-party recruiters, Jodie Papike focuses on cultivating the relationships between a firm and the financial professional she’s working to support. Jodie, and her father, Larry, have played a significant role in my career and remain fantastic partners to Atria.”

3. Diamond Consultants

Mindy Diamond, CEO, Diamond Consultants

Founded by CEO Mindy Diamond in 1998, Diamond Consultants’ 15-person team advises independent firms in M&A transactions, recruiting, succession planning and consulting, engaging across a broad array of firms including IBDs, traditional brokerages, RIAs, banks, multi-family offices and custodians.

Diamond Consultants maintains a network of 400 firms and describes its recruiting process as “firm agnostic.” 

“In an increasingly crowded field, Mindy and her team stand out for how much they care about advisors,” said Neil Turner, Co-Founder, Co-CEO and Managing Partner of NewEdge Advisors. “They are true consultants whose first objective is to educate advisors and to ensure they find the right affiliation model. For them, relationships are typically lifelong versus the ‘one-time’ transaction approach becoming all too common elsewhere.”


4. FA Match

Ryan Shanks, Co-Founder & CEO, FA Match

Founded in 2018 by CEO Ryan Shanks and Chief Technology Officer Eric Savage, FA Match takes a unique approach to pairing advisors with firms – incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into its Advisor Match platform based on data given by an advisor in a 10-minute survey regarding its size, resources, compensation structure and transition support requested.

The platform notifies the advisor of the matches, seeks permission to share data and schedules calls. FA Match follows initial success with assistance in negotiating. The AI also takes into account parameters such as DEI programs, cryptocurrency resources and long-term equity and growth opportunities.

The firm charges a fee to RIAs, OSJs, broker-dealers and other firms on its platform, and also provides outsourced recruiting services. 

With over 22 years of experience, Shanks previously worked at two IBDs managing recruiting and succession strategies and founded Finetooth Consulting in 2006, which provided succession planning, outsourced recruiting and transition consulting.

“Ryan serves as a strategic partner, and the work we’ve done in the past has led to beneficial engagements for our firm and the advisors he represents,” said Arthur Ambarik, CEO of Perigon Wealth.

5. Terrana Group

Michael Terrana, President & CEO, Terrana Group

Founded by President & CEO Michael Terrana in 1992, Chicago-based Terrana Group has played a role in transferring over $65 billion in client assets. 

Terrana Group’s 15-person team advises on business development, recruiting, M&A and succession for broker-dealers, RIAs, custodians, banks and financial advisors. Placing an emphasis on relationships, the firm conducts an extensive pre-screening process to vet financial advisors and determine the ideal fit.

With advisors, Terrana Group employs a dual “consultant and coach” methodology throughout the transition process, with a focus on personal and professional growth and benefit to the advisor’s practice.

“Terrana Group has placed over 3,000 financial advisors during the last 30 years,” according to Michael Terrana. “Using a consultive approach addressing needs and identifying the right platform and firm culture helps solidify the successful future for each individual advisor candidate. This attention to detail provides good matches and big wins for client firms.”

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

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