This edition of the Deals & Recruiting Roundup covers Miracle Mile Advisors acquiring Caplan Financial Group and Advisory Partners, EP Wealth Advisors acquiring Parker Advisory Group, Carson Wealth acquiring Fisher Financial Advisors, LPL Financial recruiting $80 billion in assets last year, NewEdge Advisors recruiting Nesso Wealth, Angeles Wealth Management hiring Rick Nott as Managing Director, Mercer Global Advisors partnering with Catchlight to boost its digital lead-generation strategy and Savant Wealth Management recruiting Jon Zindel as its Chief Financial Officer from William Blair.
In many ways, the acquisitions we cover this week exemplify the heart of M&A in the independent wealth management space. They’re by no means mega deals. But they do feature larger RIAs on the market to buy that have made the case to smaller, founder-operated firms on the market to sell.
These kinds of deals happen as a result of steady, gradual work on the parts of both parties. The sellers have built stable, profitable businesses by establishing long-lasting connections with their clients. The buyers have built national platforms that can protect the legacies of sellers while also helping their teams scale up with technology, investment management and practice management resources.
It’s easy to fixate on the stories about billion-dollar M&A. Those deals are important, too. Just remember that our industry is still based on countless high-quality firms in the $100 million to $500 million range.
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Mergers & Acquisitions
1. Miracle Mile Acquires Baltimore And Chicago Firms, Adding $600 Million
Los Angeles-based RIA Miracle Mile Advisors acquired two firms whose assets total $600 million. Baltimore-based Caplan Financial Group, which serves predominantly high net worth clients, manages approximately $350 million. Chicago-based Advisory Partners, which operates a family office model for ultra-high net worth clients, has approximately $250 million.
Miracle Mile issues Class A shares to new partners, the same class held by the firm’s leadership and founders, as well as its private equity partner, Corsair Capital. Miracle Mile has over $5 billion in client assets and more than 25 advisors. Turkey Hill Management served as exclusive financial advisor to Caplan Financial Group.
“We continue to attract high-performing advisors with sophisticated clientele who recognize our dynamic culture, best-in-class offerings, and advisor-centric support to enhance their ability to deliver bespoke service to their clients,” said Miracle Mile CEO Bruce Milam. “The way we set up our equity ensures that all stakeholders have the same significant vested interest in our continued success and growth.”
2. EP Wealth Acquires $188 Million Parker Advisory Group In Utah
Torrance, California-based EP Wealth Advisors acquired St. George, Utah-based Parker Advisory Group, which has over $188 million in assets under management (AUM). The deal is EP Wealth’s first acquisition of 2024 and its 30th since taking a minority investment from Wealth Partners Capital Group (WPCG) in 2017.
Parker Advisory Group Founder and Principal Chad Parker will join EP Wealth. His firm has provided financial planning and investment advisory services for over 14 years. EP Wealth managed over $21.4 billion in assets as of Dec. 31 and has more than 30 offices in 12 states. It is backed by the private investment firm Berkshire Partners.
“Chad and Parker Advisory Group share EP Wealth’s commitment to providing a superior client experience while driving towards achieving established financial goals,” said Ryan Parker, CEO of EP Wealth. “Parker Advisory Group’s influence and experience will add to EP Wealth’s growth in a region where we already have an outstanding presence and history of advising generations of clients throughout several stages of their lives – including all the ‘little things’ that come their way.”
3. Carson Wealth Acquires $180 Million Fisher Financial Advisors In New Hampshire
Omaha, Nebraska-based Carson Wealth, a subsidiary of Carson Group, acquired Hanover, New Hampshire-based Fisher Financial Advisors, which oversees $180 million in client assets. Tim Fisher, Managing Director and Wealth Advisor of Fisher Financial Advisors, is joined by his son, Managing Director and Wealth Advisor, Nate Fisher.
FP Transitions served as the M&A advisor to Fisher Financial Advisors. This is Carson Group’s first deal of 2024 and adds its first offices in New Hampshire and Vermont. Carson Group currently manages $32 billion in assets and serves more than 49,000 families across more than 150 partner offices, including more than 50 Carson Wealth locations.
“Our goal is to provide Fisher Financial Advisors, and their clients, with the tools and expertise needed for sustained success,” said Michael Belluomini, VP of Mergers & Acquisitions at Carson Group. “This deal isn’t just about adding locations; it’s about advancing the industry standard. We share in their commitment to future-proof their firm and ensuring continued excellence in client service.”
4. LPL Recruits $80 Billion And Reaches 22,660 Advisors In 2023
LPL Financial recruited $80 billion in assets in 2023 and $17 billion in the fourth quarter. Prior to large enterprises, this includes $67 billion annually, up 49% from the previous year. Its advisor count was 22,660 at the end of 2023, up by 1,385 advisors year-over-year.
The company also recently recruited Wausau, Wisconsin-based Equity Design Group, which has about 10 advisors and $520 million in assets; and Austin, Texas-based advisor Blair Waller, who oversees about $150 million. In January, LPL’s seven recruitment announcements reflected over $2 billion in new client assets.
“Over the past year, we remained focused on our mission of taking care of our advisors, so they can take of their clients,” said Dan Arnold, President and CEO of LPL. “As a result of their successes, we delivered solid business and financial results, while increasing our market share. In 2024, we look forward to further executing on our vision of becoming the leader across the advisor-centered marketplace.”
5. NewEdge Advisors Recruits $262 Million Nesso Wealth In Connecticut
New Orleans-based NewEdge Advisors recruited Milldale, Connecticut-based Nesso Wealth, which oversees approximately $262 million in client assets. Nesso Wealth CEO Matt Glatt, Senior Vice President and Managing Partner Ty Bongiovanni, and Partner and Wealth Advisor Kevin Christopher join NewEdge Advisors.
Nesso Wealth serves individuals, families and businesses. It also provides accounting and tax services, and supports property and casualty, employee benefits, Medicare and wellness programs. NewEdge Advisors is part of NewEdge Capital Group, which has over $42 billion in client assets and supports more than 300 advisors who serve several thousand households, family offices and institutions across more than 75,000 client accounts.
“We’re excited to welcome Matt, Ty, Kevin, and all of Nesso Wealth to the NewEdge team,” said Alex Goss, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of NewEdge Advisors. “Our affiliation model, client solutions, technology, and culture provide growth-minded advisors and leaders with the right environment to achieve their next level of success.”
6. $1.7 Billion Angeles Wealth Hires Rick Nott As Managing Director
Santa Monica, California-based Angeles Wealth Management hired Rick Nott as Managing Director. Nott specializes in building plans and investment portfolios that seek to balance long-term capital accumulation with multi-generational legacy planning. He will serve UHNW families and individuals, including athletes, business owners and entrepreneurs.
Nott has over 15 years of wealth management experience. He previously was a Senior Wealth Advisor at LourdMurray, and worked as an advisor at AdvicePeriod and Signature Estate and Investment Advisors. Nott started in the industry at United Capital Financial Advisors. Angeles Wealth has over $1.7 billion in AUM and has experienced six consecutive years of growth.
“My career began during the global financial crisis, where I learned the value of crafting a financial design that is not only aligned with client goals, but that is structured to encourage a long-term focus on generational wealth creation and preservation,” said Nott. “I’m excited to be joining Angeles Wealth, and its team-oriented approach, that maintains a culture of constant growth, learning and improvement.”
7. Mercer Partners With Catchlight To Boost Digital Lead-Gen Strategy
Denver-based Mercer Global Advisors partnered with Catchlight to enhance the RIA’s digital direct-to-consumer sales and marketing campaigns as part of its lead acquisition strategy. Catchlight will work to help quickly identify higher value leads that meet the firm’s criteria and use insights to accelerate large-scale engagement.
The Catchlight Score is a prediction of a prospect’s likelihood to convert to a client. Mercer aims to funnel leads to advisors who are best suited to address the client’s personal circumstances. Mercer had $56 billion in assets as of Dec. 31 across more than 290 advisors and 85 offices nationwide. In January, Mercer announced the acquisition of Denver-based Transitions Wealth Management, which serves more than 400 clients with approximately $465 million in AUM.
“Mercer Advisors has developed a sharp vision of the role that data and personalization play in sustained organic growth in the RIA space,” said Yelena Melamed, Co-Founder and Head of Product at Catchlight. “They set a high standard for best practices that contribute to the success of their advisors, and we’re elated to play a role in their strategy.”
Promotions & People Moves
8. Savant Recruits Jon Zindel As CFO From William Blair
Rockford, Illinois-based Savant Wealth Management appointed Jon Zindel as its Chief Financial Officer. He will be a member-owner of Savant, whose employees together own approximately 65% of the firm. As of Dec. 31, Savant had nearly $26 billion in AUM, 538 employees and 170 employee member-owners across 40 offices in 15 states.
Zindel has over 30 years of industry experience. He previously served as partner, CFO and executive committee member at Chicago-based William Blair, where during his 12-year tenure Zindel also led technology, human resources, real estate and philanthropy. Zindel also served as CFO and head of tax and financial reporting at American Century Investments for 16 years. He began his career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
“Savant is different from typical aggregators or financial buyers because it’s backed by patient capital – investors who are interested in solid growth versus just a quick return on their investment,” Zindel said. “Instead of growing for growth’s sake, Savant seeks partners who can help provide an unparalleled client experience, a deep bench of specialists, and a wide variety of services.”
Chris Latham, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org