Recruitment Roundup: Berthel Fisher, Creative Planning, Prudential And More

Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Avantax Onboards 2 Teams With Combined $450 Million, Berthel Fisher Adds Father-Son Duo, Creative Planning Acquires CTB Financial Services, Hightower Facilitates Sub-Acquisition Of Trellis For Highland, Prudential Partners With LPL, Modern Wealth Appoints 3 Execs To Boost Acquisitions And Bluespring Makes Leadership Changes

This edition of the Weekly Recruitment Roundup features Avantax onboarding CFR Capital Group and Summit Wealth Advocates, Berthel Fisher recruiting MP Butterworth & Associates, Creative Planning acquiring CTB Financial Services, Hightower facilitating a sub-acquisition of Trellis Advisors for Highland Private Wealth Management, Prudential moving assets from Fidelity to LPL Financial, Modern Wealth Management appointing three executives to boost RIA acquisitions and Bluespring Wealth Partners transitioning David Canter out as President.

Advisor Transactions

1. Avantax Onboards 2 Teams With Combined $450 Million In Arizona And Minnesota

Dallas-based Avantax recruited CFR Capital Group, with $120 million in client assets and ownership of three H&R Block tax management franchises in Arizona, and acquired Summit Wealth Advocates, with $330 million in assets across four Minnesota offices.

Todd Mackay, President, Avantax

CEO Frank Calise founded CFR Capital Group, which has a total of 20 staff members. They came from Securities America, an Osaic broker-dealer. Bruce Primeau founded Summit in 2010. His seven-member team joins Avantax’s employee-based model. Avantax oversaw $83.8 billion in total client assets as of June 30.

“Flexibility is the power of our multiple affiliation model,” said Todd Mackay, President of Avantax. “We create solutions for external RIAs and our independent financial professionals to fit whatever route they want to take, from opportunities to accelerate their growth to turnkey succession planning.”

2. Berthel Fisher Adds Father-Son Duo, Other Advisors With $165 Million In Total Assets

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Berthel Fisher Companies recruited Reading, Pennsylvania-based MP Butterworth & Associates, with approximately $85 million in assets under management (AUM). In recent months, Berthel Fisher has recruited more than a dozen advisors and brought in over $165 million in AUM. According to their last ADVs, its subsidiaries Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services and BFC Planning had approximately $1.9 billion in total AUM.

Paige Swartzendruber, SVP, Business Development, Berthel Fisher

Mike Butterworth founded MP Butterworth & Associates in 1984, and his son Chris joined him in 2012. They provide comprehensive wealth management and specialize in long-term planning for families supporting loved ones with special needs. Dylan Brooks also joined Berthel Fisher’s 1st and Main Investment Advisors branch in Edwards, Colorado, and Carl Wallin joined the Freedom Financial Group branch in Minot, North Dakota.

“We are very excited to welcome Mike, Chris, Dylan and Carl, along with several next-gen advisors, to the Berthel Fisher family,” said Paige Swartzendruber, Senior Vice President, Business Development at Berthel Fisher. “In the years to come, we look forward to supporting all of these teams in the important work they do on behalf of clients.”

Mergers & Acquisitions

3. Creative Planning Acquires $218 Million CTB Financial Services In Minneapolis

Overland Park, Kansas-based Creative Planning acquired Minneapolis-based CTB Financial Services, which had over $218 million in AUM as of its last SEC ADV filing. CTB provides tax planning, investment management and holistic financial solutions. Creative Planning had over $210 billion in combined assets under management and advisement, as of Dec. 31.

Peter Mallouk, CEO, Creative Planning

In June, Creative Planning acquired BerganKDV, which provides business, financial and technology solutions including tax and audit, accounting, business advisory and wealth management. BerganKDV brought in 600 employees and almost $2.5 billion in AUM. In July, Creative Planning announced a multi-billion-dollar strategic custody relationship with Goldman Sachs Advisor Solutions (GSAS).

“We are excited to welcome CTB Financial Services into the Creative Planning family,” said Peter Mallouk, CEO of Creative Planning. “Having earned the reputation of being the family CFO among their clients, their proven proficiency in wealth management and tax planning aligns with our mission of offering holistic, client-centric financial solutions.”

4. Hightower Facilitates Sub-Acquisition Of Trellis For Highland In Washington

Chicago-based Hightower facilitated a sub-acquisition of Ellensburg, Washington-based Trellis Advisors, with over $470 million in AUM, for Bellevue, Washington-based Highland Private Wealth Management, which as a result has $1.9 billion in AUM. As of June 30, Hightower oversaw approximately $131 billion in AUM.

Bob Oros, Chairman and CEO, Hightower

Trellis was founded by Ray Gilmour, who worked as a CPA for 12 years before starting his wealth management firm in 2005. Highland was founded by John Christianson in 1999, who also launched the Wealth Confidant advisor coaching course in 2019. Highland completed the transaction with Trellis less than a year after partnering with Hightower.

“Highland’s acquisition of Trellis demonstrates Hightower’s proven ability to drive growth through our affiliated businesses,” said Bob Oros, Chairman and CEO of Hightower. “We’re excited to have supported Highland with their expansion goals within the first year of the business since joining Hightower and look forward to continuing to support these ambitions – both on the inorganic and organic side.”

Strategic Partnerships

5. Prudential To Move $50 Billion In Assets From Fidelity, Others To LPL

Prudential Financial is moving approximately $50 billion in retail brokerage and investment advisory assets from Prudential Advisors’ current custodian, Fidelity, and other firms, to LPL Financial and will access LPL’s broker-dealer and registered investment advisory services.

Brad Hearn, President of Retail Advice and Solutions, Prudential

The strategic partnership will affect more than 2,600 Prudential Advisors financial professionals, strives to streamline and reduce back-office resource demands, and is expected to finalize in late 2024. Prudential has had a partnership with LPL since 1989 in the life and annuity space. Prudential Financial had over $1.4 trillion in AUM as of June 30. LPL reported over $1.2 trillion in advisory and brokerage assets as of its Q2 2023 earnings announcement.

“LPL’s best-in-class platform will significantly improve capabilities to help our advisors serve clients and grow their practice even faster,” said Brad Hearn, President of Retail Advice and Solutions at Prudential. “[The partnership] reinforces our commitment to improving the customer and advisor experience, while preserving the value proposition that differentiates Prudential, including strong local advisor support, a robust leads program, trusted brand equity and the flexibility for advisors to use the business model that works best for them.”

Promotions & People Moves

6. Modern Wealth Management Appoints 3 Execs To Boost RIA Acquisitions

Monterey, California-based Modern Wealth Management appointed Shad Besikof as Managing Director, Danny Henneghan as Vice President and Casey Harrison as Manager to the firm’s Partnership Development team. They will focus on an expansion strategy of acquiring RIAs across the West, East and other major regions.

Jason Gordo, President, Modern Wealth Management

Besikof has 25 years of experience and most recently was Head of Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Development at Exencial Wealth Advisors. Henneghan has over 10 years of experience and most recently was a Vice President at First Republic Bank. Harrison has 11 years of experience and most recently was Associate of Advisor Engagement at Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management.

“We are executing our business plan and this high-caliber team will accelerate our growth,” says Jason Gordo, President of Modern Wealth Management. “Our three newest teammates’ industry experience and proven capability to execute in this space speaks for itself. We can’t wait to see what Shad, Danny and Casey can do.”

7. Bluespring To Transition Canter Out As President, Silverman In As Interim Leader

Austin, Texas-based Bluespring Wealth Partners, a Kestra Holdings subsidiary, announced that current President David Canter will transition into the role of Senior Strategic Advisor, with the firm seeking a replacement for him as President. Stuart Silverman, Bluespring’s Co-Founder and former President, will serve as Chairman and Interim Business Unit Leader, temporarily overseeing daily leadership.

David Canter, current President and new Senior Strategic Advisor, Bluespring Wealth Partners

Canter joined Bluespring as President in July 2022, after nearly 13 years with Fidelity. He had previously served for over eight years at Schwab. Last year, Bluespring added nine firms and nearly $4 billion in assets. In June of this year, the firm launched the Blueprint for Growth program to help its partner firms attract and retain clients. Bluespring consists of 21 brands and 24 firms, with 30 acquisitions since inception in 2019.

“I’m excited to take on a new role in support of Bluespring Wealth Partners,” Canter said. “Elevating my involvement above the day-to-day management of the firm will allow me to focus more strategically on supporting what Bluespring does best – developing financial advisor partnerships that give business owners the flexibility, independence, support and resources they need to succeed.”

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

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