This edition of the Deals & Recruiting Roundup covers the Mariner acquisitions of AndCo and Fourth Street, OneDigital acquiring WealthSource Partners, Kestra announcing the merger of Evoke and Maven Bridge as well as Bluespring’s acquisition of Hughes Financial, Compound Planning adding nine advisors, Ameriprise recruiting Pacific Crest Planning, Rise Growth Partners securing $250 million from Charlesbank Capital Partners, Perigon partnering with Premier Sports Network, Bernstein Private Wealth Management expanding its UHNW Platform and Summit Trail Advisors promoting three team members to become Partners.
The terminology that a wealth management firm uses in an announcement to define a specific deal often has a specific purpose. Is it an acquisition, a merger, a recruitment or a partnership? We try to make those distinctions for our readers each week in these roundups.
Sometimes the deal language conveys how a buyer seeks to position itself in the marketplace. A serial acquirer might prefer to be known as a partner. Sometimes the phrasing is a sticking point for the seller. A founder who spent his or her career building a business might prefer to call it a merger. And sometimes it is mutually beneficial for a firm that hires an advisor by purchasing the book of business to call it either a merger or an acquisition, instead of a recruitment.
Then there are acquisitions and recruitments that are so large in size that they could resemble mergers, except for the fact that the leadership of the parent company appears to retain control. As in all these cases, what the deal is called is less important than what the deal does for the firm, its team members and their clients.
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Mergers & Acquisitions
1. Mariner To Boost Assets By $104 Billion With AndCo, Fourth Street Acquisitions
Overland Park, Kansas-based Mariner Wealth Advisors agreed to acquire Winter Park, Florida-based AndCo Consulting and Covington, Kentucky-based Fourth Street Performance Partners in a simultaneous transaction that adds 100 associates and $104 billion in assets under advisement.
When the transaction closes, Fourth Street will merge with AndCo. They will maintain their respective teams and serve institutional clients under the Mariner Institutional brand. The deal is expected to complete in early April. Berkshire Global Advisors served as financial advisor to AndCo Consulting. As of June 30, Mariner advised on over $114 billion in assets.
“The complementary nature of our clients and services will support our joint growth and offer existing clients and prospects additional services that will help enhance the overall client outcome,” said Marty Bicknell, CEO and President of Mariner Wealth Advisors. “Mariner, AndCo and Fourth Street share an objective and client-first approach, a focus on associate development and unyielding support for our communities.”
2. OneDigital Acquires $2 Billion WealthSource Partners
Overland Park, Kansas-based OneDigital Investment Advisors acquired San Luis Obispo, California-based WealthSource Partners, whose 44-person team has over $2 billion in assets, approximately 2,000 client families and offices in nine states. Bryan Sullivan of Vellum Financial, and Eric Patton and Jon Dubravac of Avant-Garde Advisors, formed WealthSource Partners in 2016 when they combined their firms.
OneDigital has over $100 billion in assets under management (AUM). The RIA is a subsidiary of OneDigital, an insurance brokerage, financial services and HR consulting firm. The parent company serves more than 75,000 employers and through them millions of individuals.
“We’re delighted to welcome the WealthSource team and weave their valuable expertise into our robust team of dedicated financial advisers,” said Vincent Morris, President, Retirement and Wealth at OneDigital. “The wealth management industry is highly complex and demanding and, together with WealthSource, we will meet the increasing challenges with our depth of knowledge and mutual desire to put our clients’ needs first.”
3. Kestra Announces Evoke-Maven Bridge Merger, Bluespring Acquires Hughes
Kestra Private Wealth Services announced the merger of Brea, California-based Maven Bridge Capital and Montclair, New Jersey-based Evoke Wealth Management. They will operate as Evoke Wealth Management. Kristoffer Fu is CEO of Maven Bridge. Evoke’s team includes Managing Partners Howard Reizun, Athishay Gangadharan and Craig Petrassi. Both teams joined Kestra PWS in 2021.
Austin, Texas-based Bluespring Wealth Partners, a subsidiary of Kestra Financial, acquired Herndon, Virginia-based Hughes Financial Services. The family-run firm manages over $500 million in client assets. Its team includes founding members and Managing Partners Paul Hughes and Scott Hughes, with Managing Partners Patrick Hughes and Berkeley Meredith.
“By joining forces, the expanded Evoke Wealth Management team can continue to follow their joint vision of comprehensive client service with the continued help of Kestra PWS’s full-service support,” said Rob Bartenstein, CEO and Senior Managing Director of Kestra PWS. “Straightaway, a partnership with Hughes Financial felt like a perfect fit,” said Bluespring Chairman Stuart Silverman.
4. Compound Planning Adds 9 Advisors Formerly With Personal Capital
The digital family office Compound Planning significantly expanded its team by adding nine advisors who previously represented approximately $4 billion in AUM. Compound Planning’s reported AUM of over $1.4 billion still does not fully reflect the client assets managed by the new advisors, who joined from Personal Capital (now Empower).
The recruited advisors – Aaron Foster, Beau Simon, Brad Porter, Ian Wymore, Nathan Bengali, Rachel Buffalo, Shannon Lynch, Whitney Pappas and Willem Bloemsma – have a combined 105 years of financial services experience. They nearly double Compound Planning’s advisor headcount, and follow the addition of 10 advisors in 2023.
“The arrival of these nine advisors is pivotal, as it enriches our fusion of technology with personalized financial advice,” said Christian Haigh, Co-Founder and CEO of Compound Planning. “Our clients deserve the best of both worlds – cutting-edge digital tools and bespoke advisory services.”
5. Ameriprise Recruits $525 Million Pacific Crest Planning From RBC
The independent channel of Ameriprise recruited Kennewick, Washington-based Pacific Crest Planning, which oversees $525 million in assets, from RBC Capital Markets. Private Wealth Advisor Ryan Sullivan leads the team, which includes Private Wealth Advisor Kyle Blodgett, financial advisors Niles Gale and Landra Macy, and four support staffers.
Ameriprise has $1.4 trillion in assets under management and administration and experienced a 19% increase in client assets last year, according to its Q4 2023 earnings report. Advisor headcount was 10,367, up from 10,269 at the end of 2022. The firm had 8,139 franchisee advisors and 2,228 employee advisors at the end of 2023.
“We wanted flexibility and more autonomy in the way we run our practice and serve our clients,” Sullivan said. “Additionally, we were drawn to the client-first culture of the company and the depth of resources to help us deliver a top-notch client experience.”
6. Rise Growth Partners Secures $250 Million Commitment From Charlesbank
Rise Growth Partners announced a $250 million commitment from the middle-market private investment firm Charlesbank Capital Partners. Rise Growth seeks to acquire minority stakes in high-growth RIAs in the $1 billion-to-$5 billion AUM range and provide capital, hands-on operational guidance, and acquisition expertise to help those RIAs grow.
The value proposition includes advice on how to optimize operations, cultivate organic growth, and build a repeatable acquisition and/or recruiting process. Rise Growth plans to announce some of its initial partner RIAs later this year. Charlesbank, which has raised over $15 billion of capital since inception in 1998, focuses on management-led buyouts and growth capital financings, as well as opportunistic credit and technology investments.
“Joining forces with Charlesbank marks a significant milestone for our firm,” said Joe Duran, Executive Managing Partner of Rise Growth. “Their team emphasizes integrity, collaboration, and excellence, all qualities that resonate deeply with our ethos.”
7. Perigon Partners With Premier Sports Network To Advise Athletes
San Francisco-based Perigon Wealth Management partnered with Premier Sports Network (PSN), a private network for the global sports industry, to engage with PSN members across North America by managing their financial affairs, delivering financial literacy courses and helping them secure a financial future beyond their playing careers.
PSN will leverage its global network of agents, business advisors and athletes to help Perigon establish a dedicated sports and entertainment division. Perigon had over $6.5 billion in client assets as of Dec. 31. In January, Chicago-based private equity firm Constellation Wealth Capital (CWC) took a minority investment stake in Perigon.
“With this partnership, Perigon not only has a platform to showcase our commitment to providing clear, customized and actionable wealth management advice but to make a positive impact in the lives of more athletes,” said Marc Specht, Partner and Wealth Advisor at Perigon.
Promotions & People Moves
8. Bernstein Makes Senior Appointments To Expanded UHNW Platform
Bernstein Private Wealth Management, part of AllianceBernstein, announced strategic appointments to support the development of its Ultrahigh-Net-Worth (UHNW) Platform. The platform, which helps clients build multigenerational legacies, serves more than 1,290 individuals and families and has over $37.9 billion in assets. It will operate with the firm’s existing UHNW, Family Offices and Global Families services.
Aaron Bates, a 25-year veteran of the firm, will lead the platform. Amanda Bohr, who has been with the firm for nearly eight years, becomes Director of Strategic Partnerships. Jeremy Lam, Director of Credit, has over 24 years of experience and previously worked at First Republic Bank, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan. Emily Neubert, National Director of UHNW Services, has been with AllianceBernstein for over 11 years.
“We saw a need to consolidate our existing expertise in a center of excellence and more proactively get ahead of the complexities facing our wealthiest clients with a dedicated service team and additional resources personalized to this group,” said Onur Erzan, Head of the Global Client Group and Private Wealth at AllianceBernstein.
9. Summit Trail Advisors Promotes 3 Team Members To Partner Level
Summit Trail Advisors, which oversees $16 billion in assets, promoted Caitlin Hagan, Sarah Silverio and Michelle Zeng to become Partners. The New York-based firm also has offices in Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Summit Trail Advisors is a member of the Dynasty Financial Partners network of advisors.
Caitlin Hagan, a Relationship Manager for the firm’s Chicago office, has been with the firm since inception in 2015. Sarah Silverio, a New York-based advisor and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), joined the firm in 2017. Michelle Zeng, CFA, is a voting member on the Summit Trail Investment Committee and has been on the firm’s investment team in New York since inception.
“Caitlin, Sarah, and Michelle have been longstanding contributors to our success, and we are proud not only to welcome them to the Summit Trail Partnership but to have them as the first Partner promotions in our firm’s history,” said Managing Partner Jack Petersen.
Chris Latham, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at email@example.com.