Recruitment Roundup: Kestra, Raymond James, Cerity, NewEdge And More

Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Kestra Recruits Mission Financial Planners, Father & Son Raymond James Employees Launch RIA, Cerity Partners Merges With AJ Wealth, Mercer Acquires Day & Ennis, Atria’s CFS Partners With Capital Credit Union, LPL Recruits Executive Back From SageView And NewEdge Wealth Recruits Executive From Wellington Management

This edition of the Weekly Recruitment Roundup features Kestra Financial recruiting $120 million Mission Financial Planners, a $600 million father and son team going from the Raymond James employee channel to launching an RIA on its custody platform, Cerity Partners merging with $2.4 billion AJ Wealth, Mercer Advisors acquiring $400 million Day & Ennis, Atria Wealth Solutions subsidiary CUSO Financial Services partnering with $2.3 billion Capital Credit Union, LPL Financial recruiting back former executive Jeremy Holly from SageView Advisory Group and NewEdge Wealth recruiting former Wellington Management executive Gregory Pool.

Advisor Transactions

1. Kestra Recruits $120 Million Mission Financial Planners In Texas

San Antonio-based Mission Financial Planners joined Kestra Financial, bringing $120 million in client assets. The five-person team consists of Managing Members Kenneth Hamilton, Jason Duffaut and Matt Donaghue along with Financial Advisor Andrew Paz and Chief Compliance & Operations Officer Eloisa Vela.

Matt Donaghue, Managing Member, Mission Financial Planners

Mission will gain access to resources including Kestra Investment Management’s team of financial professionals. Kestra Financial supports more than 1,800 independent financial professionals. Last month, Kestra Private Wealth Services brought the newly formed Destination Wealth Advisors onto its platform. Destination’s advisors – Ben McDonald, Bryant Trombly, Austin Palmer and Dee Buckminster – collectively oversee $500 million.

“We needed a partner that would let us be independent and enhance our entrepreneurial spirit while supporting our growth initiatives through competitive marketing, business consulting and compliance resources to help us grow,” Donaghue said. “Now, we can focus on growing our practice and helping our clients achieve their own mission of financial confidence and success.”

2. $600 Million Father & Son Go From Raymond James Employees To Launching RIA

Todd Knickerbocker, Co-Founder, Stonebrook Private

Northville, Michigan-based father and son team Todd Knickerbocker and Spencer Knickerbocker moved from the employee channel of Raymond James to launch their own RIA on the Raymond James RIA and custody services platform. The new RIA is called Stonebrook Private, according to a June 30 SEC ADV filing.

Todd Knickerbocker has nearly 34 years of wealth management experience. He spent over 15 years at Edward Jones before joining Raymond James in 2005. Spencer Knickerbocker has over seven years of financial services experience. He worked for three years at Lord, Abbett & Co. before joining Raymond James in 2019.

“It’s the evolution of my practice going forward, and with Spencer and his longer runway, we felt it was the right time,” Todd Knickerbocker was quoted as saying in Financial Advisor IQ, which reported that the team previously oversaw $600 million in client assets. “At the end of the day, we felt that we required the flexibility that’s only available by owning your own ADV.”

Mergers & Acquisitions

3. Cerity Partners Merges With $2.4 Billion Family Office AJ Wealth

Kurt Miscinski, President and CEO, Cerity Partners

New York City-based Cerity Partners merged with New York-based AJ Wealth, a family office serving ultra-high net worth clients that has $2.4 billion in assets under management (AUM). It was founded in 2012 by Andrew Cooper and Justyn Volesko, who previously worked in the family office unit at Goldman Sachs. AJ Wealth’s specialties include estate and tax planning issues for clients with carried interests in their firm’s investment funds.

Cerity Partners manages approximately $65 billion. In May, it acquired San Francisco Bay Area-based Jurika, Mills & Keifer, which manages approximately $300 million. This year Cerity Partners also announced M&A deals with Gamble Jones Investment Counsel, Ashfield Capital Partners, ARGI and Maryland Capital Management – representing over $1 billion in client assets per transaction. It also recruited eight advisors from the now-collapsed Silicon Valley Bank in March.

“We are excited to welcome our colleagues from AJ Wealth. Their highly customized family office service is unique in our industry,” said Cerity Partners President and CEO Kurt Miscinski. “Our merger allows us to broaden the depth of our service offering and will accelerate our firm’s growth in an important and expanding client segment.”

4. Mercer Acquires $400 Million Day & Ennis In Georgia

John Day, Founder and Co-Partner, Day & Ennis

Denver-based Mercer Advisors acquired the Macon, Georgia-based RIA Day & Ennis, which has approximately $400 million in AUM across 250 clients. John Day founded the firm in 1998, and later brought on Partners William Ennis and Matthew Heller. Day & Ennis provides comprehensive wealth management, from retirement planning and managing 401(k)s to business exit planning and tax-efficient estate planning.

In June, Mercer announced that private equity firm Atlas Partners will invest in the company in a transaction expected to complete in the third quarter of this year. Atlas joins Genstar Capital, Oak Hill Capital and over 300 Mercer employees as owners. Mercer has AUM of approximately $48 billion and almost 900 employees in the U.S. across more than 80 offices.

“Our investment banker John D. Eubanks, CFP, Managing Director at Park Sutton Advisors, introduced us to David Barton, Vice Chairman, who heads up M&A for Mercer Advisors,” said John Day. “After meeting with David Barton, we found a wonderful cultural fit between our two organizations and loved the fact they offer in-house services such as trustee services that we do not currently provide.”

Strategic Partnerships

5. Atria’s CUSO Financial Services Partners With $2.3 Billion Capital Credit Union

Laurie Butz, President and CEO, Capital Credit Union

Atria Wealth Solutions subsidiary CUSO Financial Services (CFS) established a multiyear partnership with Capital Credit Union, the fifth credit union in recent months to join CFS from LPL Financial. Founded in 1927, Capital Credit Union has $2.3 billion in total credit union deposits and serves more than 120,000 members across Wisconsin through 24 branches.

The previous recent credit union deals were Allegent Community Federal Credit Union, with more than 20,000 members and over $278 million in assets; Clearview Federal Credit Union, with more than 117,000 members and over $1.8 billion; Harvard University Employees Credit Union, with more than 52,000 members and over $1 billion; and Mobiloil Credit Union, with almost 75,000 members and over $1 billion.

“We were looking for a partner who fully understands and embraces the experience we are looking to create for our members,” said Laurie Butz, Capital Credit Union’s President and CEO. “The ability to broaden our program through people, technology and investment products while maintaining and preserving the core culture of our credit union was imperative.”

Promotions & People Moves

6. LPL Recruits Back Executive To Build Out Liquidity & Succession And M&A Solutions

Jeremy Holly, EVP, Strategic Business Development, LPL Financial

LPL Financial recruited back Jeremy Holly, who had served for two years as the Chief Development Officer at SageView Advisory Group. His new role at LPL is Executive Vice President, Strategic Business Development, overseeing the buildout of the firm’s Liquidity & Succession and M&A Solutions.

Prior to taking the position at SageView, Holly had spent 19 years at LPL. He began in 2002, eventually rising from the roles of Vice President in Finance and then in National Sales, to Senior Vice President, first for Strategic Business Solutions | Business Consulting and then for Corporate Development and Advisor Financial Solutions.

“We’re thrilled to welcome back Jeremy Holly to LPL,” said Rich Steinmeier, LPL Managing Director and Divisional President, Business Development. “Jeremy is a seasoned leader who will move some of our most significant growth opportunities from startup to formation mode.”

7. NewEdge Recruits Former Wellington Management Senior Managing Director

Gregory Pool, Managing Director, NewEdge Wealth

Stamford, Connecticut-based NewEdge Wealth recruited Gregory Pool to the firm’s growing Miami office. Pool previously was a Partner, Senior Managing Director and portfolio manager at Wellington Management. He will be a Managing Director and Investment Committee member at NewEdge, advising clients on fixted income and equity strategies. At Wellington, he managed multi-billion-dollar global equity portfolios with a focus on long and long/short strategies.

In June, NewEdge announced openings of offices in Nashville, with former UBS advisor Richard Ina, and San Francisco, with John Froley, recruited from First Republic. NewEdge Wealth is part of NewEdge Capital Group, which supports more than 300 financial advisors and approximately $32 billion in client assets.

“I look forward to working with NewEdge Wealth’s team and helping the Miami office continue to expand under Pat’s leadership,” Pool said. “South Florida remains one of the best markets to serve ultra-high net worth families, especially as they consider generational transfer in a turbulent market environment.”

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

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