Recruitment Roundup: Creative Planning, Baird, Modern Wealth, Stratos And More

Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Baird And LPL Recruit Advisory Teams, Creative Planning Offers Affiliation Options In Huge Goldman Sachs Deal, Focus Financial Goes Private, Modern Wealth Acquires Midwest Financial And Stratos Poaches LPL Executive As Its New COO

This edition of the Weekly Recruitment Roundup features Baird recruiting three advisors from the LPL Financial-affiliated Zions Wealth Advisors, LPL recruiting three teams of advisors who collectively oversee nearly $1 billion in assets, Creative Planning’s advisor affiliation options after agreeing to acquire a huge Goldman Sachs wealth management unit, two private equity firms completing their all-cash take-private transaction of Focus Financial Partners,

Modern Wealth Management acquiring Midwest Financial and Stratos Wealth Holdings recruiting LPL executive Phil Nuttall as its new COO.

Advisor Transactions

1. Baird Recruits 3 Advisors From LPL-Affiliated Zions Wealth In Utah

Greg Aiken, Director and Financial Advisor, Baird

Baird recruited Salt Lake City-based Greg Aiken, Ben Blake and Jonathon Bult from the LPL-affiliated Zions Wealth Advisors, where they had over $500 million in assets under management (AUM). Aiken and Blake will become Directors and Financial Advisors while Bult will become a Vice President and Financial Advisor.

Aiken has 21 years of industry experience, Blake has 18 years of experience and Bult has nearly 10 years of experience. Aiken works with business owners, retirees, executives, corporations, foundations and nonprofit organizations. Blake’s focus areas include portfolio management, investment management and financial planning.

Baird – an employee-owned, international wealth management, asset management, investment banking/capital markets and private equity firm – has more than 1,300 advisors in 33 states and serves over $255 billion in wealth management assets.

2. LPL Recruits 3 Teams Collectively Overseeing Nearly $1 Billion

Kevin Loyd, Founder and President, Legacy Wealth Advisors

LPL Financial recruited three teams of advisors who collectively oversee nearly $1 billion in assets. Scottsdale, Arizona-based BW Wealth Management brings $350 million; Town and Country, Missouri-based Legacy Wealth Advisors brings $280 million; and San Juan Capistrano, California-based Revel Private Wealth brings $325 million.

BW Wealth Management consists of Steve Boeckmann and David Wyzgowski, coming from VALIC Financial Advisors, the broker-dealer for AIG Retirement Services. Legacy Wealth Advisors consists of Founder and President Kevin Loyd, and advisors Calvin Keth and Jeremy Spellmeyer, coming from Cetera. Women-led Revel Private Wealth consists of Megan Stirrat and Tenley Hardt, coming from Merrill Lynch.

“With LPL being an all-encompassing firm and its own custodian, we believe it will be much easier to service our clients and lower costs,” Loyd said. “LPL’s innovative technology is streamlined and more user-friendly, and its integrated capabilities will help us be more efficient.”

Mergers & Acquisitions

3. Creative Planning’s Acquisition From Goldman Sachs Has Advisor Affiliation Options

Peter Mallouk, President & CEO, Creative Planning

Overland Park, Kansas-based Creative Planning’s deal to acquire a Goldman Sachs wealth management unit – the mass affluent-focused advisory group that originated with Goldman’s acquisition of United Capital Financial Advisers in 2019 – comes with multiple affiliation options for the approximately 300 advisors involved who collectively oversee $29.4 billion in assets.

Depending on their circumstances, some advisors will be able to join Creative Planning as employees, while others can join Creative Planning through a separate as-yet unnamed RIA with their pre-existing technology largely intact, while advisors who sold their own businesses to United Capital before Goldman’s acquisition have the option of running their own RIA again in affiliation with Creative Planning.

If Creative Planning retains the advisors and their assets, this deal will put its assets under management and advisement at approximately $245 billion. Although the sale effectively takes Goldman Sachs out of the mass affluent space as a wealth manager, its Goldman Sachs Advisor Solutions (GSAS) custodian services unit has grown substantially this year by establishing relationships with several large independent firms – including Creative Planning.

4. PE Firms Complete All-Cash Take-Private Of Focus Financial Partners

Rudy Adolf, Founder and CEO, Focus Financial Partners

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Stone Point Capital completed their all-cash take-private transaction of Focus Financial Partners, which had an enterprise value in excess of $7 billion. Focus had been a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ for five years, since Stone Point and KKR took it public in 2018.

Focus first entered into the agreement to become acquired by CD&R and Stone Point in February. According to its website, Focus has more than 85 partner firms and operates in five countries. The company conducted more than 60 deals in the RIA space over the past two years.

“We are thrilled to mark this significant achievement in Focus’s journey,” said Rudy Adolf, Founder and CEO of Focus. “Our partnership with CD&R and Stone Point opens doors to new opportunities, enhanced resources, and increased value for our partner firms and their clients. We look forward to this next chapter of growth and evolution.”

5. Modern Wealth Management Acquires Iowa-Based Midwest Financial

Jason Gordo, President, Modern Wealth Management

Modern Wealth Management acquired Glidden, Iowa-based Midwest Financial. The deal is Modern Wealth’s fourth full transaction since launching in April, and it comes after the recent deals with Barber Financial Group, Osiwala Financial Group and Financial Security.

According to its August 29 SEC ADV filing, Modern Wealth has over $1.5 billion in AUM. According to its June 29 filing, Midwest Financial has approximately $200 million in AUM. Brian Johnson founded Midwest Financial in 1983 and runs it with his son Jeremiah. They provide holistic financial planning solutions, including investment and risk management, social security planning, tax planning and strategies, estate planning and other wealth management services.

“In evaluating Midwest Financial, it became clear that the firm’s commitment to holistic wealth management and exceptional client service align well with the Modern Wealth ethos,” said Modern Wealth President Jason Gordo. “Integrating Midwest Financial into our modernized platform is another key milestone in our quest to equip RIAs nationwide with top-tier wealth management resources.”

Promotions & People Moves

6. Stratos Poaches LPL Executive Phil Nuttall As New COO

Phil Nuttall, COO, Stratos Wealth Holdings

Stratos Wealth Holdings named Phil Nuttall as COO, taking the reins of the firm’s infrastructure and asset management operations, and helping to drive growth. Lou Camacho, who previously was both COO of Stratos Wealth Holdings and President of Stratos Wealth Enterprises, the acquisition division, will focus on the expansion of Stratos Wealth Enterprises.

With over a decade of wealth management executive experience, Nuttall most recently served as SVP, Enterprise Alliances at LPL Financial. Prior to that, he was Head of Advice & Financial Planning at Capital One and held various roles at HSBC and Citi. In addition to Stratos Wealth Enterprises, Stratos Wealth Holdings includes Stratos Wealth Partners, Stratos Wealth Advisors and Fundamentum.

“The opportunity to join a growing firm with a talented executive team during a time of industry challenges provided me with the perfect next step in my career,” Nuttall said. “I greatly enjoyed my time with LPL and am excited to continue Stratos’ strong partnership with them in my new role.”

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

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