Recruitment Roundup: Avantax, Rothschild, Schwab, Cresset And More

Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Avantax Announces Q2 Earnings, LPL Adds 2 Practices, Rothschild And Sentinus Merge, CI Financial Reveals 3 RIA Acquisitions, CG Advisor Network To Leave Schwab For Axos, Cerity Hires Former KPMG Executive And Cresset Names Head Of Private Credit

This edition of the Weekly Recruitment Roundup features Avantax ending Q2 2023 with a new record in advisory assets as a percentage of client assets, LPL Financial adding Veritas Legacy Wealth and Wood Wealth Management, Rothschild Investment and Sentinus merging, CI Financial revealing the acquisition of three RIAs with a combined $14.2 billion in assets, CG Advisor Network leaving the Schwab custodial platform for Axos Advisor Services, Cerity Partners hiring former KPMG tax executive Jeffrey LeSage and Cresset Capital naming the new head of its private credit program.

Advisor Transactions

1. Avantax Recruits 50 Financial Professionals, Hits Record In Advisory Client Assets

Chris Walters, CEO, Avantax

Dallas-based Avantax reported second quarter earnings figures that included recruiting $141 million in new assets and 50 financial professionals, down from recruiting $228 million and 54 financial professionals in the first quarter. However Avantax also reported ending Q2 2023 with total client assets of $83.8 billion, $42.6 billion of which were advisory assets, representing 50.9% of total client assets, a new record.

Avantax brought in a record $1.7 billion in newly recruited assets for full-year 2022, up approximately 79% from the previous year. During the fourth quarter of 2022, 66 financial professionals affiliated with the firm as it added $401 million in newly recruited assets. The firm offers advisors tax-focused financial planning or strategic partnerships with CPAs and tax professionals.

“We continue to break records in revenue and advisory assets as a percentage of client assets,” said Chris Walters, Chief Executive Officer of Avantax. “I am also pleased to report that we completed our first acquisition of a wealth management firm not affiliated with Avantax and we look forward to others in the future.”

2. LPL Adds Veritas Legacy Wealth And Wood Wealth Management, With $450 Million

Scott Posner, EVP of Business Development, LPL Financial

LPL Financial recruited West Hartford, Connecticut-based advisor Brendan Wood and his Wood Wealth Management practice to its Linsco by LPL Financial employee channel, as well as Amarillo, Texas-based Veritas Legacy Wealth to its LPL Strategic Wealth Services affiliate. Wood brings approximately $130 million in assets while Veritas brings approximately $320 million. Both recruits come from Merrill Lynch.

Wood is a former school teacher who entered wealth management in 2007. The Veritas team consists of advisors John Klein, Blake Bailey and Lavona Kuhn, along with client relations director Summer Rudder. LPL Strategic Wealth Services is designed for advisors who want to own their business without operational and business management responsibilities.

“At LPL, we are committed to creating differentiated and compelling experiences for both advisors and their clients,” said Scott Posner, Executive Vice President, Business Development at LPL. “We deliver innovative solutions designed to meet advisors where they are in the evolution of their practice, providing them with ultimate choice and flexibility in how they manage and evolve their business.”

Mergers & Acquisitions

3. Rothschild Investment And Sentinus Merge, Forming $5 Billion Chicago-Area Firm

Phil Johnson, CEO, Sentinus

Two Chicago-area firms, Rothschild Investment and Sentinus, merged in a deal bringing their combined assets to nearly $5 billion. Phil Johnson, the current CEO of Sentinus, will become President of Rothschild. He will work closely with Owen Schnaper, Chairman of Rothschild and Partner at its parent company, Tin Goose.

Rothschild, which was founded in 1908, provides individual and institutional wealth management as well as corporate and nonprofit retirement plan management. Sentinus was founded in 1946 as Reynolds Financial Group and rebranded in 2012. It provides similar services as Rothschild, along with independent insurance consulting.

“Rothschild has a long legacy in providing its advisors with the strategy and resources needed to grow their practices in a client-centered era,” Johnson said. “The addition of Sentinus will add to this culture and further our ability to meet our clients’ ever-changing needs.”

4. CI Financial Reveals Acquisition Of 3 RIAs, Adding $14.2 Billion Over Past 3 Months

Kurt MacAlpine, CEO, Corient and CI Financial Corp.

Toronto-based CI Financial, which recently rebranded its U.S. wealth management business unit as Corient, revealed in its second quarter earnings report that in July it acquired San Antonio, Texas-based Intercontinental Wealth Advisors, which oversees $2.3 billion and has an office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Last December, Intercontinental Wealth Advisors was a winner of the WSR Wealth Exemplar Awards Family Office of the Year.

During the second quarter, CI Financial also acquired Houston-based Avalon Advisors and Garden City, New York-based La Ferla Group. The two RIAs have a combined $11.9 billion in assets. CI Financial’s U.S. wealth management assets totaled approximately $194 billion as of June 30, up from $187 billion at the end of the first quarter.

“The second quarter was marked by several significant accomplishments across our business lines,” said Kurt MacAlpine, CEO of Corient and its parent company, CI Financial Corp. “We continue to build on that success, acquiring three RIA firms in the past three months, adding approximately $14.2 billion in assets.”

Strategic Partnerships

5. CG Advisor Network To Leave Schwab Custodial Platform For Axos

Tony Mazzali, CEO, CG Advisor Network

Nearly four months after choosing LPL Financial as its primary custodian and exclusive broker-dealer, Haslett, Michigan-based CG Advisor Network announced that it is leaving Schwab Advisor Services for Axos Advisor Services to serve as custodian for its high net worth clients. The firm has $3.1 billion in assets under management (AUM) and more than 70 financial advisors.

CG Advisor Network had custodied with TD Ameritrade for decades, and continued to maintain accounts at Schwab Advisor Services after Schwab completed its acquisition of TD Ameritrade in October 2020. The move to Axos Advisor Services comes less than a month before Schwab aims to migrate TD Ameritrade custodial accounts to its own platform.

“CG Advisor Network is committed to empowering our advisors for success and growth,” CEO Tony Mazzali posted on LinkedIn when announcing the custodial change to Axos. “I’m more determined than ever to ensure our custodians and partners are building our brand to our clients, not building their brand to our clients.”

Promotions & People Moves

6. Cerity Partners Hires Former KPMG Tax Executive Jeffrey LeSage

Jeffrey LeSage, Partner and Chief Talent Officer, Cerity Partners

New York-based Cerity Partners – which manages approximately $65 billion – appointed Jeffrey LeSage as a Partner, Chief Talent Officer and Executive Committee Member. He is the former Americas Vice Chairman and National Managing Partner of KPMG’s tax practice.

LeSage managed more than 12,000 professionals at KPMG, which saw its U.S. tax revenue rise from $1.4 billion to $3 billion during his tenure. He served at KPMG for nearly 38 years. LeSage began his career as a tax advisor for Arthur Andersen in 1982. Cerity Partners has announced M&A deals with seven wealth management firms so far this year.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jeff to Cerity Partners and our Executive Committee,” said Cerity Partners CEO Kurt Miscinski. “His experience and proven leadership will strengthen our commitment to building a world class professional services firm and an exceptional offering for our clients.”

7. Cresset Appoints Bradley Schneider As Head Of Private Credit

Bradley Schneider, Managing Director, Head of Private Credit, Cresset

Chicago-based Cresset Capital, a multifamily office and private investment firm with over $40 billion in AUM, recruited Bradley Schneider as Managing Director, Head of Private Credit. His group, Cresset Partners, works with Cresset Asset Management, which provides wealth management to clients – and a significant number of those clients make investments through Cresset Partners, according to a spokesperson.

Schneider will lead Cresset’s holistic private credit program, including its flagship private credit vehicle (CPCF). Most recently, Schneider was Head of Private Credit at Midwest Holding. Prior to that, he was a partner and senior investment analyst at Sound Point Capital; a distressed analyst at Apollo Management; and a high yield research associate and investment banking analyst at Lehman Brothers.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Cresset team,” Schneider said. “Private credit represents a compelling investment opportunity, and I am honored to be able to lend my knowledge and experience to Cresset’s investors and clients.”

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

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