This edition of the Deals & Recruiting Roundup covers Constellation investing in Perigon and Lido, MAI acquiring Traverso Chambers, RedBird’s Arax acquiring Excel Securities & Associates, Osaic’s blockbuster 2023 gains, Atria’s Cadaret Grant recruiting Paragon Financial Group, The AmeriFlex Group onboarding The Platinum Wealth Group, Smarsh surveying RIAs and broker-dealers on compliance gaps, Integrated Partners teaming up with Russ Alan Prince, Dynasty-backed Procyon Partners hiring a Chief Revenue Officer and Oppenheimer appointing a new Head of Public Finance.
Yes, 2023 was a mildly down year for wealth management M&A transactions. But that has not stopped private equity firms such as Constellation Wealth Capital and RedBird Capital Partners, whose activity we cover below.
According to Fidelity, strategic acquirers with private equity-backed activity represented 89% of December’s deals and 94% of purchased assets. Last year, PE firms such as Carlyle Group, Genstar Capital and Stone Point Capital conducted some of the largest RIA deals.
This year, the pace and total amount of PE involvement likely will depend on the valuations of wealth management firms and the quality of their leadership teams, as private equity firms continue to conduct intensive due diligence on sellers.
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Mergers & Acquisitions
1. CWC Takes Minority Stakes In $6.5 Billion Perigon And $19.1 Billion Lido
Chicago-based private equity firm Constellation Wealth Capital (CWC) made investments in San Francisco-based Perigon Wealth Management, which has over $6.5 billion in client assets, and in Los Angeles-based Lido Advisors, which has $19.1 billion in assets.
Merchant Investment Management, which entered a partnership with Perigon in 2019, will exit the relationship. Perigon more than doubled its assets under management (AUM) in the first year of that partnership, and ultimately increased client assets by nearly tenfold. CWC will take its stake alongside Lido’s lead investor, Charlesbank Capital Partners.
“Perigon’s consistent growth is a testament to its effective strategy in the competitive wealth management space,” said Karl Heckenberg, Founder and Managing Partner at CWC. “I’ve been observing Lido for a long time and have been impressed by their operating model, value proposition and leadership team, all of which have enabled the firm to achieve rapid organic and inorganic growth.”
2. MAI Acquires $550 Million Traverso Chambers In California
Cleveland-based MAI Capital Management acquired Santa Rosa, California-based Traverso Chambers Private Wealth Management, which oversees nearly $550 million in AUM. Traverso Chambers serves high net worth individuals, families, foundations and business owners. Co-founders Marc Traverso and Tim Chambers will both become Regional Presidents at MAI.
The deal is MAI’s 34th acquisition since 2018 and its third announced in 2024. MAI’s previous acquisitions this year were Cleveland-based R. Karras Asset Management & Planning, which has $110 million in AUM, and Cincinnati-based Madison Wealth Management, which has over $1.4 billion in AUM. As of Dec. 29, MAI had over $18.8 billion in AUM.
“Traverso Chambers is a household name in Sonoma County, and we look forward to integrating Tim, Marc and their colleagues into our firm as we continue to execute on our 2024 growth strategy,” said Rick Buoncore, Managing Partner at MAI. “With the addition of our centralized HR, operations and marketing resources, this renowned team will continue to deliver long-term dedicated service for their clients while also navigating the ever-changing financial services landscape.”
3. RedBird’s Arax Acquires $1 Billion Excel And Recruits From Raymond James
New York-based Arax Investment Partners, a wealth management platform company backed by the private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners, acquired Rochester, New York-based Excel Securities & Associates, a full-service independent broker-dealer and RIA. Excel, whose combined lines of business have over $1 billion in clients assets, will operate as Ashton Thomas Securities.
Arax also brought on Boston-based The Stafford Schauer Private Wealth Team, which previously was with the Raymond James division Alex. Brown, where it managed $2 billion in assets. In September, Arax agreed to acquire Scottsdale, Arizona-based Ashton Thomas Private Wealth, which has over $2 billion in AUM. RedBird Capital Partners manages approximately $10 billion in assets across multiple sectors.
“These latest milestones in Arax’s evolution point to the world-class execution of [Arax CEO Haig Ariyan] and the rest of the Arax team on our growth strategy, leveraging RedBird’s experience and expertise in scaling financial platforms and M&A,” said Mike Zabik, Partner at RedBird. “Arax’s multi-platform wealth management platform strategy is differentiated in the market and is attracting great partners to the platform, specifically a number of highly talented advisor teams.”
4. Osaic Recruits $22 Billion, Onboards 11 Banks And Credit Unions In 2023
In 2023, Osaic recruited new financial professionals representing approximately $22 billion in total client assets, Osaic Institutions (formerly known as Infinex Investments) finished its first full year as part of Osaic with the addition of 11 new bank and credit union relationships, and Osaic experienced a 100% increase in recruited assets compared to the prior year in the second half of 2023 after the company rebranded from Advisor Group.
Last year, the firm invested more than $100 million in growth and capital initiatives. Osaic, a portfolio company of Reverence Capital Partners, supports approximately 10,500 financial professionals. In December, Osaic announced the acquisition of the Lincoln Wealth firms, which has more than 1,450 advisors and $108 billion in client assets.
“We’ve transitioned more than half of our financial professionals into Osaic and expanded our addressable market, growing our footprint in both the institution and RIA spaces,” said Jamie Price, President & CEO of Osaic. “The appeal of our new value proposition can be seen in the record recruiting we’ve seen since the new brand was launched.”
5. Atria’s Cadaret Grant Recruits $420 Million Paragon In Arizona
Glendale, Arizona-based Paragon Financial Group joined Cadaret Grant, an independent broker-dealer and subsidiary of Atria Wealth Solutions. Paragon, which oversees $420 million in client assets, also has offices in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson and Denver, Colorado. The firm previously was affiliated with Osaic. Paragon includes Founder Frank Brown and 10 other financial professionals.
In June, Caderet Grant recruited advisors Edwin Milner, Laura Palacios and Jason Kurz to its American Investment Planners branch in Jericho, New York. The advisors collectively manage approximately $1.1 billion. Last year, Atria subsidiaries CUSO Financial Services (CFS) and Sorrento Pacific Financial (SPF) formed 16 new partnerships and renewed 16 partnerships with banks and credit unions representing $240 billion in assets.
“After getting to know Frank and the Paragon team, it’s very clear they are committed to excellence and elevating their wealth management offering which makes them a perfect match to our collaborative culture at Atria,” said Bill Morrissey, Head of Atria’s Independent Channel. “The addition of Paragon is another statement recruiting win for Atria and further emphasizes our position as the leading destination for those seeking a community of growing financial professionals and access to a team that will take their practice to the next level.”
6. The AmeriFlex Group Expands Affiliation Model With $258 Million Team
Las Vegas-based The AmeriFlex Group, an advisor-owned hybrid RIA, expanded its network of Transitional Wealth Planners. Bob Bleier, Lisa Capizzi, Chuck Constantino, Christine Lane, Jessica Ferrindino, Nicole Harding and Tonya Wester operate as The Platinum Wealth Group.
The team, which specializes in helping individuals and small businesses achieve their financial goals, oversees $258 million in assets from the Rochester and Pittsford area of New York. The AmeriFlex Group has 153 advisors in 29 states who oversee approximately $9.5 billion in AUA.
“As planners first, Bob and his team represent everything that TAG stands for – helping families plan for their futures,” said Tom Goodson, President and CEO of The AmeriFlex Group. “We are excited to welcome The Platinum Wealth Group to TAG in the Rochester and Pittsford area of New York, and are honored that they have chosen to partner with us.”
7. Smarsh Report Surveys RIAs, Broker-Dealers On Compliance Gaps
Smarsh – a digital communications compliance and intelligence provider for organizations including financial services firms – surveyed a cross section of financial services businesses, including broker-dealers and RIAs, for a new report titled “An Unprecedented Era of Enforcement.”
Its findings include that 47% of survey respondents in the financial services industry say their organization permits texting, while 65% of respondents see texting as the top source of risk and only 17% of firms allow the use of encrypted apps like WhatsApp and WeChat. The report also found that 59% of respondents said cybersecurity threats are their biggest compliance concern, yet nearly a third of respondents said they were not reviewing policies following recent off-channel fines.
“Today, communications channels are prolific and rich in powerful features, and firms must account for their use with policies and enforcements and the right compliance solution in place,” the Smarsh report concludes. “We may not know for certain what the future holds, but one thing we do know: regulators are zeroing in on how and what firms use to communicate. Modernizing your compliance posture is critical to avoiding increasingly heavy fines and penalties.”
8. Integrated Partners Teams Up With Russ Alan Prince
Waltham, Massachusetts-based Integrated Partners teamed up with Russ Alan Prince, Executive Director of Private Wealth Magazine, to work alongside the firm’s advisors and their CPA counterparts to enhance strategies for serving their ultra-high net worth clients. Prince also will serve as a representative for Integrated Partners in consultations with these clients.
He will develop courses aimed at honing the technical skills of the firm’s advisors and CPAs, guide them on relationship-building techniques, and provide direction in selecting and structuring UHNW families’ relationships with private wealth industry professionals. Integrated Partners has over $16 billion in assets under advisement, more than 200 advisors and 170 CPAs across 116 regional offices nationwide.
“The evolving complexity in our clients’ financial lives has only underscored our firm’s responsibility to drive innovation and forge meaningful collaborations, ensuring our advisors are empowered to deliver unparalleled service,” said Paul Saganey, President and Founder of Integrated Partners. “Russ will add a new dimension to our client service by educating our advisors and CPAs on strategies for their UHNW clients.”
Promotions & People Moves
9. Dynasty-Backed Procyon Hires Harry Kirkpatrick As Chief Revenue Officer
Shelton, Connecticut-based Procyon Partners, an RIA with over $6.5 billion in assets that is backed by Dynasty Financial Partners, appointed Harry Kirkpatrick its Chief Revenue Officer. Kirkpatrick will be responsible for driving institutional and private client growth by coaching and developing financial advisors, improving internal processes and resources, and ensuring that clients receive high-end service.
Most recently, Kirkpatrick served as Managing Director, Operations and Strategy at Connectus. Before that, he served for six years at Facet Wealth as Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Financial Planning. Procyon – which has a dual focus on retirement plan/participants and private clients – also has offices in New York, Florida, Tennessee and Maryland.
“Over the course of my career, I have been proud to help financial advisors hone their skills and mature in the industry, so that they in turn can offer their clients superior service,” Kirkpatrick said. “I am excited to work with Phil and the team to design a development program to further enhance the talents and expand upon the services at Procyon.”
10. Oppenheimer Appoints Elizabeth Coolidge Head Of Public Finance
Oppenheimer & Co., the investment bank and wealth manager subsidiary of publicly traded Oppenheimer Holdings, appointed Elizabeth (Beth) Coolidge Head of Public Finance and hired two of her colleagues, Liberty Ziegahn and Madison Maher, from UBS. Coolidge previously led the UBS Midwest Public Finance unit for over six years.
Oppenheimer’s Public Finance team advises and raises capital for state and local governments, public agencies, private developers, nonprofit organizations and other borrowers – typically in the form of municipal bonds. Financial advisors in Oppenheimer’s Private Client Division often include municipal bonds as part of their clients’ overall portfolio strategies.
“I am excited to join Oppenheimer, an institution I’ve long held in high regard,” Coolidge said. “Liberty, Madison and I see potential for issuers to unlock value, and we are eager to help them achieve their capital-raising goals.”
Chris Latham, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at email@example.com