Transitions, Transactions & Promotions: Recruitment And M&A Frenzy!

Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Covering Developments Involving Advisor Group, Commonwealth, CI Financial, Dynasty, Prospera, Atria, Savant, Stratos, Hightower, Cresset, Coldstream And Sanctuary

In a surprising burst of recruitment and M&A frenzy, this edition of Transitions, Transactions & Promotions captures several instances of the same firms making multiple announcements over the past month.

Advisor Group recruited Delich Wealth Management and Silverberg Wealth Management. Commonwealth recruited KMJ Financial Group and Pinnacle Private Wealth. CI Financial agreed to sell its minority stake in Congress Wealth Management, as well as 20% of its entire U.S. wealth management business. Dynasty Financial Partners also helped launch Precedent Wealth Partners and Premier Path Wealth Partners.

And that’s not all! We also feature deals involving Prospera Financial Services, Atria Wealth Solutions, Savant Wealth Management, Stratos, Hightower, Cresset, Coldstream Wealth Management and Sanctuary Wealth. Here are the details:

Advisor Transactions

1. Delich Wealth Management And Silverberg Wealth Management Join Advisor Group

New Brighton, Minnesota-based Delich Wealth Management joined Advisor Group from RBC Wealth Management, bringing $250 million in client assets to Financial Dimensions Group, which manages over $4.2 billion in assets across more than 60 financial professionals. Westlake Village, California-based Silverberg Wealth Management joined Advisor Group from Cetera, bringing $212 million in assets to NWF Advisory Group (NWF), another large team affiliated with Royal Alliance.

Tom Delich, Founder, Delich Wealth Management

Why it matters: Delich Wealth Management is Advisor Group’s first recruitment announcement since the company announced its comprehensive rebranding initiative. Advisor Group – which encompasses over 11,000 financial advisors – plans to transition from its current multi-brand network model to a single, rebranded entity under a simplified operating structure and will unify eight wealth management firms currently part of the Advisor Group network into one structure.

“We are excited to partner with Financial Dimensions Group and look forward to all the benefits of being part of Advisor Group,” Delich Wealth Management Founder Tom Delich said in a press release. “After conducting our due diligence, we felt that NWF, with the backing of  Advisor Group, was by far the best choice,” Silverberg Wealth Management President Marcus Silverberg said in a press release.

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

2. KMJ Financial Group And Pinnacle Private Wealth Join Commonwealth

Whitehall, Pennsylvania-based KMJ Financial Group, which oversees approximately $121 million in assets, joined Commonwealth Financial Network from the Advisor Group affiliate American Portfolios. Kimberly, Wisconsin-based Pinnacle Private Wealth, which has $220 million in assets, joined Commonwealth from Associated Investment Services.

Jake Ruggles, Managing Partner, KMJ Financial Group

Why it matters: Commonwealth has more than 2,100 independent advisors who oversaw more than $242.9 billion in assets as of Dec. 31. Last year, Commonwealth brought in $11.2 billion in new client assets from 270 new advisors. KMJ consists of Managing Partners Kirk Brown and Jake Ruggles, who work alongside wealth advisor Dan Fratantoro and operations director Brenda Mishko. Pinnacle consists of Senior Partners Todd Funk and Kelly Watzka, along with Senior Client Relationship Managers Kristy Schreiber and Patti Hohn.

“Once we realized it was our time to make a move, our search focused on finding a partner with top-notch support, a boutique-like feel, and client-centric values – and we found that at Commonwealth,” Ruggles said in a press release. “At Commonwealth, we found that aligning with another independent firm would allow us to choose our own path forward while also receiving the freedom and support we need to expand our retirement plan offering,” Funk said in a press release.

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

3. Prospera Recruits Southwest Florida-Based Howell Wealth Advisors

Josh Howell, Managing Director, Howell Wealth Advisor

Prospera Financial Services announced an association with Punta Gorda, Florida-based Howell Wealth Advisors, with $215 million in client assets. Josh Howell, the Managing Director of Howell Wealth Advisors, and Relationship Manager Liz Fisher will join Prospera from Wells Fargo Financial Network. Howell’s firm provides tax-efficient retirement, estate and wealth planning with a range of investments designed to minimize risk and provide long-term flexibility.

Why it matters: Prospera has increased revenue 113% over the past five years, growing both organically and through M&A. It currently supports 163 advisors in 94 locations with $16 billion in assets under management (AUM). In November, Prospera recruited Twin River Wealth Management, with $180 million in assets. The firm places emphasis on its 2:1 representative to home office personnel ratio and advisor feedback to support advisors.

“Our decision to join Prospera was based on a combination of things, primarily their culture of service: their commitment to their service training program made me realize that Prospera prioritizes satisfactory customer service – demonstrated by their response times being virtually immediate,” Howell said in the press release. “Throughout our due diligence, I felt that gold level service through every interaction, whether I was on the phone with one of the employees or walking through the office meeting and talking to employees.”

To learn more, view the press release here.

Mergers & Acquisitions

4. Savant Nears $20 Billion With Acquisition Of $1.5 Billion Domani Wealth

Rockford, Illinois-based Savant Wealth Management acquired Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Domani Wealth, which has approximately $1.5 billion in AUM. This pushes Savant’s AUM to approximately $19.5 billion. The RIA has 32 offices across 11 states. Domani Wealth has four offices in Central Pennsylvania. Savant plans to accelerate acquisitions and achieve three-to-five times growth over the next five years.

Why it matters: The deal is Savant’s fourth acquisition of the year. In February, it acquired the Atlanta-based RIA Capital Directions, which has approximately $3.3 billion in AUM and 25 employees. That same month, Savant appointed Patrick Lawlor Head of Mergers and Acquisitions. Lawlor previously served as President and Head of M&A at The Mather Group, a Chicago-based RIA.

“Domani Wealth is well-known in Central Pennsylvania, with deep roots in its communities and a reputation for technical expertise and a team approach,” Savant CEO Brent Brodeski said in the press release. “Domani’s culture directly aligns with Savant’s focus on excellence, integrity, lifelong learning and respect. As we continue to expand our footprint in the Mid-Atlantic region, we found this partnership to be a natural fit.”

To learn more, view the press release here.

5. CI Financial To Sell Stake In Congress, And 20% Of U.S. Wealth Management Unit

In late April, Canada-based CI Financial agreed to sell its minority stake in Boston-based Congress Wealth Management, which has 64 staffers across offices in several U.S. cities and $5.1 billion in AUM as of Dec. 31, to Audax Private Equity. Two weeks later, CI Financial agreed to sell a 20% minority investment in its U.S. wealth management unit for approximately $1 billion to a group of institutional investors including a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Bain Capital, Flexpoint Ford, Ares Management funds and the State of Wisconsin.

Paul Lonergan, President, Congress Wealth Management

Why it matters: CI Financial first invested in Congress in the third quarter of 2020, holds its stake through U.S. subsidiary CI Private Wealth and received a return of approximately three times its initial investment. Audax Private Equity’s other current financial services portfolio investments include Vancouver, British Columbia-based Harbourfront Wealth Management and the Chicago-based investment bank Stout. For the 20% minority stake sale of CI US, RBC Capital Markets served as exclusive financial advisor to CI Financial.

“The investment from CI was extremely productive and we are exiting on the best of terms,” Paul Lonergan, President of Congress Wealth Management, said in a press release. “We have retained majority ownership of CI US while partnering with world-class investors and adding new directors at CI US,” William Holland, Chairman of the CI Board of Directors, said in a press release.

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

6. Atria Wealth Solutions To Acquire Grove Point Financial From Kestra Holdings

Atria Wealth Solutions agreed to acquire Grove Point Financial and its subsidiaries from Kestra Holdings in the second half of 2023. Rockville, Maryland-based Grove Point was acquired by Kestra in 2017 and currently serves approximately 400 independent financial professionals with $15 billion in client assets. Atria’s field-based practice management consultants, in-branch recruiting support and national and regional events will become accessible for Grove Point’s financial professionals.

Doug Ketterer, CEO & Founding Partner, Atria Wealth Solutions

Why it matters: Atria’s subsidiaries include Cadaret Grant, NEXT Financial Group, Western International Securities, SCF Securities, CUSO Financial Services and Sorrento Pacific Financial. In the first quarter of 2023, Atria recruited two teams with over $220 million in assets to Cadaret Grant and appointed Kevin Mummau and Brian Bichler as Co-Heads of its Financial Institution channel, managing San Diego-based subsidiaries CUSO and Sorrento. Atria also brought aboard Bill Morrissey, former Divisional President at LPL Financial, late last year.

“Our combined organization will make us stronger as we continue to support and meet the ever-growing demands of financial professionals and their clients,” Doug Ketterer, Atria’s CEO and Founding Partner, said in the press release. “What is of critical importance in any partnership is fit – both cultural and strategic. This is very much true of our new relationship with Grove Point – the cultures, priorities and philosophies of our firms could not be more aligned, and our ability to grow and deliver a differentiated experience has never been more certain.”

To learn more, view the press release here.

Strategic Partnerships

7. Stratos Launches Private Wealth Division, BWM’s Jeff Brown Named President

Stratos Wealth Enterprises, which collectively oversees $22.8 billion in brokerage and advisory assets, announced the launch of Stratos Private Wealth as part of its ongoing expansion of services for ultra-high net worth clients. Stratos will increase its investment in BWM Financial, to acquire a majority stake in the San Diego-based firm. As a result, BWM Financial will rebrand as Stratos Private Wealth. Jeff Brown, the CEO and Founder of BWM Financial, will assume the role of President at Stratos Private Wealth.

Why it matters: Stratos Private Wealth, a division of Stratos Wealth Partners, will be responsible for marketing wealth management services. The business unit will actively seek opportunities for growth within the Stratos network and beyond.

Jeff Brown, President, Stratos Private Wealth

Stratos Wealth Holdings is a family of companies that supports financial advisors across various business models and affiliations. Its entities include Stratos Wealth Partners, Stratos Wealth Advisors, Stratos Wealth Enterprises, Stratos Private Wealth and Fundamentum. As of March 31, the Stratos network consisted of 341 advisors and planners across 28 states.

“We have had a long-standing and successful partnership with Stratos that allowed my firm to grow,” Brown said in the press release. “I love working with Stratos’ executive team and our firms are well-aligned in culture, so it made sense to create a new entity that provides an aligned client experience that provides comprehensive wealth management services that address legal and tax issues as well as financial planning needs.”

To learn more, view the press release here.

8. Hightower Invests In TEN Capital, Fairport Wealth Appoints Chief Wealth Officer

Hightower made a strategic investment in TEN Capital Wealth Advisors, which oversees $1 billion from Seattle and Spokane, Washington. TEN Capital serves business owners, executives and multigenerational families. Separately, the Cleveland-based Hightower team Fairport Wealth appointed Mike Drennen as its new Chief Wealth Officer. Drennen previously served as an Executive Director on the Advisor Engagement team of Hightower.

Bob Oros, CEO, Hightower

Why it matters: As of March 31, Hightower had assets under administration (AUA) of $148.2 billion and AUM of $119.9 billion. The company has 131 advisory businesses in 34 states and the District of Columbia. TEN Capital, which has 13 team members, aims to build on its regional influence and expand its footprint. Drennen will lead a cross functional team, overseeing the advice, growth, marketing and training functions. Fairport has five offices, more than 50 employees and serves nearly 2,000 households.

“TEN Capital has a vibrant culture that aligns perfectly with our focus on ‘well-th’ and putting relationships at the center of financial decision making,” Hightower Chairman and CEO Bob Oros said in a press release. “Mike brings tremendous experience in supporting advisors and empowering them with the counsel and resources needed to grow their practices while inspiring families,” Fairport Wealth CEO Matt Logar said in a press release.

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

9. Dynasty Helps Launch Precedent Wealth Partners And Premier Path Wealth Partners

San Antonio-based brothers Harold Williams and George Williams, along with Harold’s son Grant Williams, launched Precedent Wealth Partners, which manages $1 billion, by joining the Dynasty Financial Partners network. An eight-person team managing $875 million in Florham Park, New Jersey, broke away from Merrill Lynch to launch Premier Path Wealth Partners, also on Dynasty’s platform.

Why it matters: The Precedent team previously worked at Houston-based Linscomb & Williams, a Barron’s Top 100 firm that managed approximately $4.3 billion. In a rare move for an RIA, its new WillShare rebate program is designed to share 33% of the firm’s distributable after-tax net income with its clients through fee credits every year.

Merrill Lynch, meanwhile, lost two more teams, each overseeing $1 billion, in the same week when Chicago-area Burnham Harbor Private Wealth joined Sanctuary Wealth and a Louisville, Kentucky-based team broke away from Merrill Lynch to launch Barlow Wealth Partners as an RIA.

“We decided that full independence with support from Dynasty Financial Partners is the best way to serve our clients, today and in the future,” Premier Path CEO and Founding Partner Michael Lehman said in a press release. “We launched Precedent Wealth Partners largely because we want to partner with our clients by creating an advisory entity that cannot easily be sold,” Harold Williams said in a press release.

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

Promotions & People Moves

10. Liz Nesvold Assumes New Role As Cresset’s President

Cresset, a multifamily office and private investment firm with over $30 billion in AUM, appointed Liz Nesvold to its newly created role of President to oversee the firm’s platform offering, strategy and family office services. The firm primarily serves CEO founders, executives, wealth creators, entrepreneurs and partners, as well as multigenerational and high net worth families.

Liz Nesvold, President, Cresset

Why it matters: Nesvold will work closely with the firm’s Founders and Co-Chairmen, Eric Becker and Avy Stein, to ensure that clients continue to receive a holistic, personalized, boutique family office experience.

With over three decades of experience, Nesvold previously served as Managing Director and Head, Asset & Wealth Management Investment Banking at Raymond James Investment Banking, as well as Managing Partner of Silver Lane Advisors, which she co-founded. Prior to Silver Lane, she was a Managing Director and Partner at Berkshire Global Advisors.

“Having worked collaboratively with Cresset to complete three RIA partnerships with clients in the past, I had a first-hand opportunity to see the organization’s commitment to its vision and culture, and the deep value it places on its people, innovation, and entrepreneurship,” Nesvold said in the press release. “For all of those reasons, Cresset is the perfect fit.”

To learn more, view the press release here.

11. Coldstream Hires Veteran Operations Executive Matt Sonnen As COO

Coldstream Wealth Management appointed former RIA consultancy CEO and seasoned operations leader Matt Sonnen as Chief Operating Officer. The move is part of the company’s effort to enhance its leadership team, strengthen operations and maximize scale. In his new role as COO, Sonnen will oversee Coldstream’s Operations, Information Technology, Performance Reporting, Client Service and Salesforce CRM teams. He will work closely with Managing Shareholder Kevin Fitzwilson to drive growth and expansion initiatives.

Why it matters: Part of Sonnen’s duties will be standardizing and optimizing back-office operations for RIA partners that joined Coldstream Wealth Management during the past few years, as well as streamlining the onboarding of future M&A partners.

Matt Sonnen, COO, Coldstream Wealth Management

Sonnen has over 25 years of financial services experience. He began as an analyst at Merrill Lynch in 1997, then became COO and Chief Compliance Officer at Luminous Capital in 2011 before serving as Vice President of Strategic Operations at Focus Financial Partners in 2013. Sonnen founded the RIA consultancy PFI Advisors in 2015.

“Based on his experience, reputation and unique leadership skills, he could have joined any firm in the industry, but the fact that he decided to join ours is a further testament to the strength of Coldstream’s culture and the extent to which our employee ownership model has turned heads across the industry,” Fitzwilson said in the press release.

To learn more, view the press release here.

12. Sanctuary Wealth Poaches Carson Group Legal Boss Kevin J. Miller

Sanctuary Wealth appointed Kevin J. Miller as Chief Legal Officer and reappointed Kevin P. Chase as Chief Compliance Officer. Miller arrives from Carson Group, where he spent almost three years as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. He will report to Sanctuary CEO Adam Malamed. Chase returns to the position of CCO after serving as the firm’s Regulatory and Risk Director. He will actively engage in building compliance offerings to serve Sanctuary’s partner firms.

Kevin J. Miller, Chief Legal Officer, Sanctuary Wealth

Why it matters: The appointments are the latest in Sanctuary’s buildout of its senior leadership team. In March, the firm hired David Vaughan, who accumulated over 25 years’ experience at Securities America and Axos, as its CFO. Miller brings over three decades of experience in wealth management, including almost 21 years at Securities America. Chase has almost three decades of experience in compliance supervision at wirehouse and independent firms, including almost 26 years at Merrill Lynch, where he served as a Divisional Manager.

“The continued enhancement of our leadership team reflects Sanctuary’s commitment to continuously invest in top senior talent to deliver an elevated service experience and provide business growth solutions for our Partner firms and their clients, while accelerating our growth strategy,” Malamed said in a press release.

“Kevin Miller and Kevin Chase are seasoned wealth management industry veterans who have a proven ability to align legal, regulatory and compliance functions with the needs of sophisticated and demanding wealth managers as well as their clients.”

To learn more, view the press release here.

Chris Latham, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at

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