Recruitment Roundup: Dynasty, Cetera, Commonwealth, Oppenheimer And More

Andrew Marsh, Vice Chairman, Dynasty Financial Partners
Andrew Marsh, Vice Chairman, Dynasty Financial Partners
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Ameriprise Recruits 2 Advisors, Commonwealth Adds Paragon, Cetera To Acquire Avantax, Ashton Thomas Sells To RedBird’s Arax, Compound And Alternativ Merge, AmeriFlex Supports Small OSJs, Oppenheimer Recruits Distressed Debt Team And Dynasty Vice Chairman Andrew Marsh Is Our Newest Recruiter Of The Month

This edition of the Weekly Recruitment Roundup features our newest Recruiter Of The Month. We speak with Andrew Marsh, newly appointed Vice Chairman of Dynasty Financial Partners – which also made several other leadership team appointments – about the company’s RIA recruitment and growth strategies.

This week’s deals also include Ameriprise recruiting two advisors from Raymond James and Edward Jones, Commonwealth recruiting Paragon Financial from LPL, Cetera agreeing to acquire and take-private Avantax, Ashton Thomas Private Wealth agreeing to sell to the Arax Investment Partners platform of RedBird Capital Partners, Alternativ Wealth merging with Compound to form Compound Planning, AmeriFlex launching a program in support of small OSJs and Oppenheimer hiring a distressed debt team from TD Cowen.

Advisor Transactions

1. Ameriprise Recruits Two Advisors From Raymond James And Edward Jones

Josh Perello, Financial Advisor, Ameriprise

Ameriprise Financial recruited two Breaux Bridge, Louisiana-based advisors with nearly $150 million in client assets to form a team in its independent channel. Josh Perello came from Raymond James and Jimmy Guidry came from Edward Jones. The duo met in 2015 when Perello also worked at Edward Jones.

Last month, Port Arthur, Texas-based advisor Amanda Hale left PNC Investments to join Third Coast Advisors within the Ameriprise Financial Institutions Group (AFIG), bringing $250 million in client assets. Ameriprise supports approximately 10,000 financial advisors nationwide and has over $414 billion in AUM, according to its June SEC ADV filing.

“Financial planning is very important to us, which aligns perfectly with the Ameriprise value proposition,” Perello said. “The hands-on support and digital transition capabilities from Ameriprise are top-notch,” he added. “After only one month, I have moved nearly 90% of my clients – and their feedback on switching to Ameriprise has been overwhelmingly positive.”

2. Commonwealth Recruits $324 Million Paragon Financial From LPL

Becca Hajjar, Managing Principal and Chief Business Development Officer, Commonwealth

Asheville, North Carolina-based Paragon Financial joined Commonwealth Financial Network from LPL Financial. The seven-member team brings over $324 million in client assets. Partners Dana Graves, David Hart and Kelly Roark lead advisors Luke Graves and Bobby Yount as well as registered sales assistants Janet Byas and Michelle Cox.

Paragon, which has been in business for nearly 25 years, provides comprehensive planning, wealth management and retirement planning services including helping clients with their 401(k)s. Commonwealth supports more than 2,100 independent advisors managing over $242.9 billion in assets.

“Paragon has spent more than two decades earning the trust of their clients and serving them with expertise and honesty,” said Becca Hajjar, Managing Principal and Chief Business Development Officer at Commonwealth. “Our focus on investing in our advisors aligns with Paragon’s personalized, client-centric approach, and we look forward to helping the team accomplish their goals and achieve their unique version of success.”

Mergers & Acquisitions

3. Cetera To Acquire And Take-Private Avantax For $1.2 Billion

Mike Durbin, CEO, Cetera Holdings

Avantax and Cetera Financial Group announced an agreement between Avantax and Aretec Group, which does business as Cetera Holdings. Cetera Holdings will acquire all issued and outstanding shares of Avantax in a cash transaction valued at approximately $1.2 billion, with common stockholders of Avantax receiving $26 per share. Cetera will keep Avantax’s clearing and custody relationships, core technology, product offerings and legal entities.

Avantax, which had 3,078 financial professionals, $83.8 billion in assets under administration (AUA) and $42.6 billion in assets under management (AUM) as of June 30, will become a standalone business unit among Cetera Holdings’ subsidiaries. Cetera Financial Group has more than 9,000 financial professionals, and as of June 30, had approximately $341 billion in AUA and $121 billion in AUM.

“Avantax will significantly build out Cetera’s capabilities in tax and wealth management,” said Cetera Holdings CEO Mike Durbin. “The addition of Avantax Planning Partners, an award-winning employee-based RIA with over $7.6 billion in assets under management, will complement and strengthen Cetera’s recently launched, highly successful succession solution offering and will deliver a combined offering that is even more compelling and impactful across all of the advisor communities.”

4. $2 Billion Ashton Thomas Sells To RedBird Capital’s Arax Investment Partners

Aaron Brodt, Founder and CEO, Ashton Thomas

Scottsdale, Arizona-based Ashton Thomas Private Wealth agreed to sell to Arax Investment Partners, the wealth management platform of the private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners. Founded in 2010, Ashton Thomas has a team of more than 75 people, 12 offices in seven states and over $2 billion in AUM as of its June SEC ADV filing.

Ashton Thomas serves high net worth individuals and families, foundations and business entities through fee-based financial planning and investment portfolio management, tax consulting, retirement plan consulting and financial education programs. Arax Investment Partners invests in growth oriented RIAs, hybrid wealth managers and advisor teams. RedBird Capital Partners manages approximately $10 billion in assets across multiple sectors.

“We built this firm to meet the increasingly complex needs of elite wealth advisors and their clients and have a history of attracting top talent across the financial services spectrum,” said Ashton Thomas Founder and CEO Aaron Brodt. “We are pleased to join forces with Arax, backed by RedBird’s extensive track record of scaling financial platforms and M&A expertise.”

5. Compound And Alternativ Wealth Merge To Form $1.1 Billion Compound Planning

Christian Haigh, CEO, Compound Planning

Irvine, California-based Alternativ Wealth merged with Compound, a tech-enabled financial and tax advisor for tech executives, to form Compound Planning, a digital family office with approximately $1.1 billion in AUM and more than 50 employees nationwide.

The combined company serves founders, business owners, professionals, retirees and families with an array of wealth management and financial services, including borrowing solutions. For advisors, Compound Planning provides a digital client dashboard, in-house CPAs, managed portfolios, alternative investments, estate planning partners and multi-custodian support.

“We are now positioned better than ever to deliver a client-centric financial, tax and investment planning experience,” said Christian Haigh, CEO of the newly combined firm, wrote in a memo. “Compound Planning exists to provide a personalized wealth management experience for entrepreneurs, professionals and retirees, powered by a world-class team and modern technology.”

Strategic Partnerships

6. The AmeriFlex Group Launches Program In Support Of Small OSJs

Thomas Goodson, Founder and CEO, The AmeriFlex Group

Advisor-owned hybrid RIA The AmeriFlex Group announced the launch of a business development program named “The 5Twenty Group,” created to address the needs of and promote growth for OSJs with five to 20 financial advisors.

The program’s tools and resources include onboarding support; a technology package; succession planning and options; organic and inorganic growth programs, including access to financing and consulting for practice acquisitions; and a high net worth consulting desk. The firm has 115 advisors overseeing approximately $7.3 billion in client assets as of July 5.

AmeriFlex Founder and CEO Thomas Goodson said that his firm aims to reach “a growing and vibrant cohort of the hybrid RIA space: smaller OSJs. Entrepreneurial OSJs needing additional support to address operational obstacles, expand capabilities and evolve their business model – all to reach the next level of growth – can leverage the resources available through the program.”

Promotions & People Moves

7. Oppenheimer & Co. Hires Distressed Debt Team From TD Cowen

Jay McDermott, Managing Director, Fixed Income Division, Oppenheimer

Earlier this month, Oppenheimer & Co., the investment bank and wealth manager subsidiary of the publicly traded Oppenheimer Holdings, announced that it has brought aboard a distressed debt team from TD Cowen. Oppenheimer’s distressed debt expertise, including its thought leadership, also will be available to the firm’s wealth management team.

The 10-person team will be a part of the company’s Fixed Income Division and be led by Jay McDermott, who has a long history of managing teams involved in distressed debt, loan trading and high-yield transactions. Before working with TD Cowen, McDermott worked for Bear Stearns, RBS and Debtstream Corp. His team includes Managing Directors Tim Cavanaugh, Michael Kasper and Harvey Potter.

“The combined team has decades of experience and extraordinarily deep relationships within the distressed debt community,” McDermott said. “We are excited to join the firm and contribute both to the success of the global fixed income client franchise, as well as the broader achievements of the entire organization.”


Recruiter Of The Month

Andrew Marsh, Newly Appointed Vice Chairman Of Dynasty Financial Partners

Dynasty Financial Partners appointed Andrew Marsh as Vice Chairman, reporting to Founder and CEO Shirl Penney. In April, Dynasty appointed Marsh as its first Executive-in-Residence. He co-founded and ran Canada-based Richardson Wealth, which expanded to more than 160 teams managing over $30 billion before going public in 2020.

Andrew Marsh, Vice Chairman, Dynasty Financial Partners

In his new role, Marsh will oversee strategic business reviews, coordinate corporate development opportunities, assist with the onboarding and expansion of large U.S.-based RIAs, manage the firm’s Breakaway Advisor and Existing RIAs sales channels, as well as end-client sales through Dynasty Connect.

Dynasty also promoted Angela Gingras to Chief Operating Officer, Gordon Ross to Chief Client Officer and Jennifer Dorgan to Chief Administrative Officer, while Stacy Costner was appointed Chief Compliance Officer.

The provider of technology-enabled wealth management solutions and business services for financial advisory firms has 52 firms representing 330 advisors on the Dynasty network, and the firm maintains over $80 billion on its core technology platform.

WSR: What types of large U.S.-based RIAs will Dynasty aim to onboard in the coming months? What kinds of clients and services should these large RIAs provide?

Marsh: We are focused on being liberators to those large practices that seek to achieve the ultimate in professional achievement – ownership of your business. We are also focusing on being enablers to those RIA businesses that are launching or have been established for some time. In both cases, Dynasty’s offering of outsourced core services, professional asset management, investment banking advice and investment of capital facilitates long term aggressive growth.

WSR: Does Dynasty continue to see significant opportunity in the breakaway advisor channel, and what is the company’s value proposition for breakaways?

Marsh: We have an active pipeline of engaged discussions and we’ve been seeing a building of momentum as we close out 2023 and look forward to 2024. We are being sought out as the “go to” place for not only the high quality services mentioned above, but also for our commitment to partnership in supporting the success of each of our clients.

WSR: How is Dynasty seeking to remain innovative for existing RIAs on its platform that strive to continue increasing their own organic growth?

Marsh: We’re focusing on engaging on a deep level with each of our clients in providing consultative advice on ensuring each firm has the right structure and performance management tools in place. These efforts include active digital marketing campaigns for lead generation. Our Dynasty Connect strategy will also connect our RIA firm clients to direct “B2C” generated client leads.

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

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