Deals & Recruiting Roundup: AmeriFlex, Focus, Integrated Partners, UBS And More

M&A By Focus, WEG, Osaic, LPL, Wealthspire, Carson And Dynasty-Backed DayMark. Strategic Appointments By Integrated Partners And SFA Partners. Q1 Earnings By UBS. And Thomas Goodson Of The AmeriFlex Group Is Our Newest Recruiter Of The Month.
Thomas Goodson, Founder and CEO, The AmeriFlex Group and the Recruiter of the Month
Thomas Goodson, Founder and CEO, The AmeriFlex Group and the Recruiter of the Month
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

This edition of the Deals & Recruiting Roundup features our newest Recruiter of the Month, Thomas Goodson, Founder and CEO of The AmeriFlex Group, who discusses the firm’s acquisition of The W Source.

We also cover Focus talks to combine Buckingham Strategic Wealth into The Colony Group,

Wealth Enhancement Group acquiring The Retirement Group, Osaic closing its acquisition of Lincoln Wealth, LPL closing its Crown Capital acquisition, Wealthspire agreeing to acquire Walden Wealth Partners, Carson Wealth acquiring three partner locations, Dynasty affiliate DayMark Wealth Partners adding the Hofstetter Baron Group, Integrated Partners promoting Andree Mohr to President, SFA Partners hiring Michael Bryan as Chief Growth Officer of Strategic Blueprint and Global Wealth Management driving Q1 earnings at UBS.

Larry’s Take

Larry Roth, CEO, Wealth Solutions Report
Larry Roth, CEO, Wealth Solutions Report

The inevitability of change is on full display with this week’s entries, which features eight M&A deals and two major strategic appointments. Two of the M&A deals involve women-led businesses, and one of the appointments is a woman taking the helm of a prominent RIA.

Although the wealth management industry remains heavily male dominated, these stories demonstrate that progress toward better gender representation is happening. Our coverage also reflects change of a different sort: the quest among some large firms to consolidate their subsidiaries and affiliates.

In order to succeed, the strategic rationale of enhanced efficiencies must account for the reality of different smaller organizational cultures joining due to the actions of a parent entity. How key personnel responds to such change is often telling of how much that rationale aligns with reality.

If you would like to discuss this Larry’s Take further, including how these trends might impact your business, please contact me at larry.roth@rlrstrategicpartners.com.

Mergers & Acquisitions

1. Focus In Advanced Talks For $28.8 Billion Buckingham To Merge Into Colony

Michael Nathanson, CEO, Focus Financial Partners
Michael Nathanson, CEO, Focus Financial Partners

Focus Financial Partners is in advanced discussions to enter into a definitive agreement under which St. Louis-based Focus partner firm Buckingham Strategic Wealth would combine with Boston-based Focus firm The Colony Group. Buckingham Chairman and CEO Adam Birenbaum would become the combined company’s CEO. Colony and Focus CEO Michael Nathanson would remain CEO of Focus.

As of their May SEC ADV filings, Colony has approximately $21.5 billion in assets under management (AUM) and Buckingham has approximately $28.8 billion in AUM. Focus also recently agreed for Nashville, Tennessee-based InterOcean Capital Group, which has $5.8 billion in AUM, and for Wellesley, Massachusetts-based GW & Wade, which has $10.4 billion in AUM, to merge into The Colony Group.

“This transaction will create an RIA of truly substantial scale and marks a milestone moment in the history of our industry,” said Michael Nathanson, CEO of Focus. “The combined firm’s scale underscores and accelerates the ongoing evolution we are seeing in the wealth management space to cultivate better opportunities for clients and advisors and to offer them outstanding capabilities and services.”

2. Wealth Enhancement Group Acquires $809 Million The Retirement Group

Jeff Dekko, CEO, Wealth Enhancement Group
Jeff Dekko, CEO, Wealth Enhancement Group

Wealth Enhancement Group (WEG), which has over $82.7 billion in client assets, acquired San Diego-based hybrid RIA The Retirement Group. CEO John Jastremski leads the team of 11 financial advisors, who manage over $809 million in client assets.

The Retirement Group, which was founded in 1993, provides retirement planning, succession strategies and estate planning services. The deal is WEG’s 18th location in California. WEG also recently acquired Lynch Retirement Investment Group, which manages $502 million, as well as Piermont Wealth Management, which manages over $226 million.

“We are thrilled to welcome John and his team to Wealth Enhancement Group,” said Jeff Dekko, CEO of Wealth Enhancement Group. “Together, we will blend our resources and areas of specialization to support clients on their financial journey. This partnership will also strengthen our ability to deliver tailored comprehensive wealth management solutions.”

3. Osaic Closes Acquisition Of $115 Billion Lincoln Wealth

Jamie Price, President & CEO, Osaic
Jamie Price, President & CEO, Osaic

Osaic closed the acquisition of Lincoln Financial Advisors (LFA) and Lincoln Financial Securities (LFS), the wealth management firms that comprise Lincoln Wealth, from Lincoln National Corporation. The transaction represents more than 1,400 advisors overseeing approximately $115 billion in assets.

Osaic and Lincoln National have a decade-long partnership. The acquired firms will join Osaic as stand-alone entities with the goal of fully converting into Osaic, as part of the firm’s pre-existing strategy to consolidate its independent broker-dealers. That consolidation process began in June 2023. WSR recently honored Tyler Mahoney, Lincoln Wealth’s Head of Finance, in the second annual CFO 5. Mahoney played a crucial role in the M&A process.

“The addition of the Lincoln Wealth team expands the Osaic national network of seasoned and specialized financial professionals,” said Jamie Price, President and CEO of Osaic. “They are highly regarded as some of the most holistic planning-focused professionals in the wealth management industry.”

4. LPL Closes Acquisition Of Crown Capital, Expecting $5 Billion In Assets

Rich Steinmeier, Financial Managing Director and Divisional President, Business Strategy & Growth, LPL Financial
Rich Steinmeier, Financial Managing Director and Divisional President, Business Strategy & Growth, LPL Financial

LPL Financial closed its acquisition of the wealth management business of Orange County, California-based broker-dealer and RIA Crown Capital Securities. As of May 8, LPL had onboarded approximately $1.3 billion of brokerage and advisory assets served by approximately 125 advisors, with the remaining $3.7 billion expected to onboard in the coming months.

When the deal was first announced in July 2023, LPL described Crown Capital as supporting approximately 260 financial advisors who served approximately $6.5 billion in assets, and who were expected to continue operating independently. Founded in 1999, Crown Capital provides investment management, estate planning, risk management, education planning, corporate benefits, full-service brokerage and alternative investments.

“We continue to be impressed with Crown Capital’s growth mindset and deep commitment to the value of independence for financial advisors,” said Rich Steinmeier, LPL Financial Managing Director and Divisional President, Business Strategy & Growth. “Through LPL’s advisor-first focus and by leveraging our innovative platform and specialized services, the high-performing advisors at Crown Capital Securities are even better positioned to scale their thriving businesses.”

5. Wealthspire Acquires $420 Million Walden Wealth Partners

Mike LaMena, CEO, Wealthspire
Mike LaMena, CEO, Wealthspire

Wealthspire Advisors agreed to acquire Beachwood, Ohio-based Walden Wealth Partners, an RIA with approximately $420 million in AUM that is led by Karin Maloney Stifler and Sarah Hannibal. Founded in 2015, Walden’s all-woman team provides advisory and investment management services, as well as fiduciary consulting for retirement plan sponsors, trustees and charitable entities.

Wealthspire – a subsidiary of NFP which itself is a subsidiary of the global risk management corporation Aon – has more than 300 team members across more than 20 locations, and serves over $25.8 billion in AUM across its subsidiaries. NFP is a property and casualty broker, benefits consultant, wealth manager and retirement plan advisor.

“We’re delighted to welcome Walden Wealth Partners to Wealthspire,” said Mike LaMena, CEO of Wealthspire. “Karin and Sarah bring exceptional leadership experience serving their clients and have nurtured a team that truly represents the future of our industry.”

6. Carson Wealth Acquires 3 Locations In 3 States, Representing $840 Million

Burt White, CEO, Carson Group
Burt White, CEO, Carson Group

Omaha, Nebraska-based Carson Wealth acquired three partner locations in Atlanta; Hagerstown, Maryland; and Johnson City, Tennessee. Managing Director, Partner and Wealth Advisor Scott Ford leads the acquired financial planning firm, which serves entrepreneurs and manages $840 million in assets. Carson previously owned a minority stake in the firm.

Ford started as a Carson coaching member, then joined as the first Carson partner firm in 2012 as Cornerstone Wealth Management, then moved to a minority-owned firm as a Carson Wealth location and subsequently added more locations. Ford’s team has grown to more than 30 advisors and operations stakeholders. Carson Wealth provides affiliate partnerships, tuck-in options, equity swaps and full acquisitions.

“Carson’s business model is designed to support the growth and operational needs of financial advisors in a variety of ways,” said Burt White, CEO of Carson Group. “But perhaps one of the most powerful aspects is our ability to facilitate smooth succession plans, where an advisor can confidently pass the reins to the next generation while knowing their clients will continue to receive the highest level of care and service.”

7. Dynasty Affiliate DayMark Adds $585 Million Team From Wells Fargo

Shirl Penney, CEO, Dynasty Financial Partners
Shirl Penney, CEO, Dynasty Financial Partners

A Southport, Connecticut-based advisor team that managed $585 million in client assets at Wells Fargo joined the Dynasty Financial Partners advisor network as the Hofstetter Baron Group of DayMark Wealth Partners.

Advisors Thomas Hofstetter and Daniel Baron advise high net worth families and individual investors. Cincinnati-based DayMark Wealth Partners had $2.5 billion in AUM before the acquisition. It receives custodial support from Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab. The Dynasty Network had $85 billion in assets under administration as of the end of 2023, according to its website.

“The model Mike Quin and his team are building resonates with the largest and most ambitious breakaway advisors out there – the very firms with the most choice when it comes to finding a new home,” said Shirl Penney, CEO of Dynasty Financial Partners. “We’re excited to welcome another seasoned team to DayMark Wealth Partners, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow.”

Promotions & People Moves

8. Integrated Partners Promotes Andree Mohr To President

Andree Mohr, President, Integrated Partners
Andree Mohr, President, Integrated Partners

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Integrated Partners, which serves over $18 billion in assets under advisement, promoted Andree Mohr to President. She joined as Director of Business Development in 2015 and most recently served as Chief Implementation Officer.

In her new role, Mohr will be responsible for integrating new advisory teams, implementing enhancements to the platform and the client experience, with a focus on advisor training and planning within Integrated’s family office. She will continue to work closely with Paul Saganey, Founder and CEO of Integrated Partners.

“I’m deeply honored by the trust the Integrated team has placed in me,” Mohr said. “As I take on this new challenge, our team will maintain its focus on equipping our advisors and CPA partners for growth and success.”

9. SFA Partners Names Michael Bryan As Chief Growth Officer Of Strategic Blueprint

Michael Bryan, Chief Growth Officer, Strategic Blueprint
Michael Bryan, Chief Growth Officer, Strategic Blueprint

Atlanta-based SFA Partners hired Michael Bryan to serve as Chief Growth Officer of Strategic Blueprint, an RIA with approximately $2.5 billion in AUM. Launched in 2017, Strategic Blueprint, part of the SFA Partners family of companies, aims to serve fee-based advisors who want to grow their business but offload some of the more burdensome tasks associated with running an RIA.

Bryan will be responsible for attracting advisors to the platform, growing assets and enhancing its capabilities. These advisors can be either IAR-only, or hybrid advisors. Bryan joins Strategic Blueprint after spending the majority of his 25-year career at Triad Advisors, which became part of the Osaic network via acquisition in early 2020.

“I’m excited to join the talented team at Strategic Blueprint and to work with colleagues across all of SFA Partners,” Bryan said. “The organization embraces not where the puck is but where it’s going in the advisory space and is fully committed to serving advisors in this business model. When you put clients first, great opportunities emerge.”

Wirehouse Activity

10. UBS Q1 Earnings Boosted By Wealth Management, Credit Suisse Consolidation

Sergio Ermotti, Group CEO, UBS
Sergio Ermotti, Group CEO, UBS

UBS reported first quarter earnings, which showed the firm’s Global Wealth Management business driving much of its growth. Total net profit for Q1 was $1.8 billion, with wealth management revenues increasing 28% to $6.1 billion, in large part due to the consolidation of Credit Suisse revenues. Net new assets for wealth management were $27.4 billion.

However, UBS expects the second quarter of 2024 to show a low-to-mid single-digit decline in net interest income in Global Wealth Management. This would be due to moderately lower lending and deposit volumes and lower interest rates in Switzerland. The trend could become partly offset by additional revenues, predominantly as a result of higher U.S. dollar rates along with repricing efforts by UBS.

“A little over a year ago, we were asked to play a critical role in stabilizing the Swiss

and global financial systems through the acquisition of Credit Suisse and we are

delivering on our commitments,” said Sergio Ermotti, UBS Group CEO. “This quarter marks the return to reported net profits and further capital accretion – a testament to the strength of our business and client franchises and our ability to deliver significant progress on our integration plans while actively optimizing our financial resources.”

Recruiter Of The Month

Thomas Goodson, Founder and CEO, The AmeriFlex Group

Thomas Goodson, Founder and CEO, The AmeriFlex Group
Thomas Goodson, Founder and CEO, The AmeriFlex Group

Advisor-owned hybrid RIA The AmeriFlex Group acquired The W Source, a professional platform facilitating women-to-women networking opportunities across industries on a local and national level. W Source Co-Founder Hannah Buschbom also is a Wealth Advisor and the Chief Transitional Wealth Planner at The AmeriFlex Group.

Last month, The AmeriFlex Group announced that it surpassed $11.5 billion in total client assets, and that in the first quarter the firm grew its assets under administration by 17%, representing $1.9 billion. In 2023, the firm welcomed 60 advisors that oversaw more than $2.75 billion in combined client assets. The AmeriFlex Group aims to reach gender parity among its partner advisors by the end of 2025.

And now for our Q&A with Thomas Goodson, Founder and CEO of The AmeriFlex Group.

WSR: How does The W Source acquisition fit into the overall growth strategy for The AmeriFlex Group?

Goodson: The W Source is designed to help women advisors grow their practices through a web-based connectivity system with other women professionals. These women represent the legal, accounting, insurance, real estate, mortgage and other various professional service industries.

As the sole financial advisor in a chapter, the chapter head receives referrals from other women professionals in the group, and coordinates meetings to help referrals flow amongst all members. This provides a built-in network for strategic organic growth for women advisors.

WSR: What types of advisors or advisory teams make ideal recruits for The AmeriFlex Group?

Goodson: The AmeriFlex Group’s ideal advisor is a “Planner First.” Our culture is in full support of Transitional Wealth Planners, assisting clients with transitional events (retirement, business owners, change in marital status, inheritance, sale of real estate, job/career transition).

Generally, our advisors lead with a financial plan, and support that plan with a mixture of advisory assets, FINRA-based solutions (FIA, VA, 1031, etc.), a holistic approach to risk management and estate planning considerations. We are positioned to help advisors in all periods of their business – whether they are looking for business growth, practice optimization or succession planning.

WSR: What is the key differentiator for The AmeriFlex Group that makes the firm stand out for such recruits?

Goodson: The AmeriFlex Group is differentiated by our independent RIA that is owned by our partner advisors, with opportunity for ownership available to new joining partner advisors. We provide a myriad of support programs for partner advisors.

This includes SuccessionFlex, our innovative succession program for individual advisors and teams that includes a revenue purchase option, the AmeriFlex Premier financial planning support provided by our network of Planning and Operations Desks, and more. But critically, our focus on planning is foundational to our culture and the value we create for advisors and their clients.

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

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