Deals & Recruiting Roundup: Cetera, Waverly, Equitable, AlphaCore And More

M&A By Waverly And Wilde Wealth Management. Recruitments By LPL, Equitable, Rockefeller, Stifel And Savvy. Appointments By Sanctuary, Caprock, AlphaCore And Orion. And Bank Of America’s CEO Joins List Of Elite Bernstein Conference Participants.
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

This edition of the Deals & Recruiting Roundup covers Waverly Advisors acquiring Derbend Asset Management, Cetera-affiliated Wilde Wealth Management expanding its ownership group, Savvy Advisors recruiting four wealth managers, LPL bringing on $4.6 billion Pilot Financial, Equitable recruiting two advisors, Stifel adding a $1.2 billion duo, Rockefeller recruiting two teams, Caprock appointing a Director Of Strategic Development, AlphaCore appointing a Head of Corporate Development, Sanctuary appointing a Chief Technology Officer, Orion appointing a President to its wealth management unit, and Bank Of America’s CEO participating in the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference.

Larry’s Take

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

Wealth management is a sector with fierce competition for reliable people with the proper skills, so talented individuals may receive many job offers as they rise throughout their careers. Innovations in technology, affiliation models and capital raising platforms also can lead to the creation of entirely new roles, sometimes for specific individuals.

That helps explain the abundance of executive-level strategic appointments that have occurred recently across both the independent and captive channels. However, just as breakaway advisors who go to RIAs or independent broker-dealers rarely return to wirehouses or big banks later on, the same thing largely applies to upper middle managers and those in the C-suite.

Which is not to say that work in the independent channel is any easier. But it’s probably more fulfilling and better paying for the hours put in. Still, independent firms should seek to minimize excessive turnover. Stable leadership teams tend to communicate better internally, and project greater confidence to potential M&A partners, by retaining key personnel over the long-term.

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. Waverly Acquires $310 Million Derbend Asset Management In Georgia

Mac Selverian, Principal, WPCG
Mac Selverian, Principal, WPCG

Birmingham, Alabama-based Waverly Advisors acquired Peachtree City, Georgia-based Derbend Asset Management, which has approximately $310 million in assets under management (AUM). Chip Beard founded Derbend in 2002 and Brian Chustz joined in 2019.

The deal is Waverly’s fourth acquisition in Georgia since June 2022, and Waverly’s 14th transaction since accepting an equity investment in December 2021 from Wealth Partners Capital Group (WPCG) and HGGC’s Aspire Holdings platform. Derbend will become Waverly’s 20th office location. Waverly has approximately $11.9 billion in AUM.

“The acquisition of Derbend brings great opportunity for continued growth at Waverly,” said Mac Selverian, Principal at WPCG. “Waverly will continue to focus on partnering with premier RIAs across different markets in the U.S. as the firm executes on its mission of strategic M&A.”

2. Two Advisors Join Ownership Group Of $3.4 Billion Cetera Affiliate Wilde Wealth

Trevor Wilde, Co-Founder, CEO and Managing Principal, Wilde Wealth Management
Trevor Wilde, Co-Founder, CEO and Managing Principal, Wilde Wealth Management

Financial advisors Jeffrey Anthony and Jason Fial joined the ownership group at Scottsdale, Arizona-based Wilde Wealth Management, an independent firm within the Cetera Advisors community in which Cetera Financial Group previously made a minority investment. Wilde Wealth has over $3.4 billion in assets under administration.

Anthony, who joined Wilde Wealth in 2019, is Chief Growth Officer. Fial joined Wilde Wealth in 2018. Cetera also expanded its advisory solutions team by hiring Logan Galli, Head of Advisory Business Consulting; Amy Rehn, Managing Director, Investment Solutions; Brian Lampron, Managing Director of RIA Solutions; and Jon Myczka, Managing Director of RIA and Advisory Digital Experiences.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Jeff and Jason, who are longtime advisors at Wilde Wealth, to our ownership group,” said Trevor Wilde, Co-Founder, CEO and Managing Principal of Wilde Wealth. “We view this milestone as a win-win – growing the value of Wilde Wealth Management while significantly enhancing our strategic vision for the good of our clients and continuing to build a chosen destination for top advisors from across the industry.”

Advisor Transactions

3. Savvy Advisors Recruits 4 Wealth Managers, Growing Team To 20

Ritik Malhotra, Co-Founder and CEO, Savvy Wealth
Ritik Malhotra, Co-Founder and CEO, Savvy Wealth

Savvy Advisors, an RIA affiliated with Savvy Wealth, brought on four wealth managers – Chase Austin in the Charlotte, North Carolina area; Josh Branham in Lexington, Kentucky; Scott Eichler in Orange County, California; and Louis Green in New York City. This grows the team to 20 advisors.

Austin previously worked at Robbins Financial Group and Merrill Lynch; Branham at Merrill Lynch, Kuttin Wealth Management and Paragon Private Wealth Management; Green at UBS, PNC and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management; and Eichler at Farther and Newport Wealth Advisors, as well as Standing Oak Advisors, which he founded.

“We believe the future of wealth management will favor those adept at merging industry-leading technology with human insight to meet the ever-changing needs of investors,” said Ritik Malhotra, Co-Founder and CEO of Savvy Wealth. “We trust that Chase, Josh, Louis and Scott find that our technology offering enables them to provide their clients with a more seamless and efficient experience, allowing us to reach more investors nationwide.”

4. LPL Brings On $4.6 Billion Pilot Financial In North Carolina

Chris Roney, Partner and Manager, Pilot Financial
Chris Roney, Partner and Manager, Pilot Financial

Greensboro, North Carolina-based Pilot Financial, a network of 105 advisors serving approximately $4.6 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, joined LPL Financial’s broker-dealer, RIA and custodial platforms from Lincoln Financial.

Pilot’s history can be traced back to the turn of the 20th century. Following a series of mergers, Pilot Financial was founded in 2001 to support entrepreneurial-minded independent advisors with strategic planning, coaching, compliance and administrative assistance. The firm’s leadership includes Chris Roney, Greg Smith, Daryl E. King and Bill Harnden.

“This move will greatly enhance our ability to service accounts more effectively, resulting in more convenience for clients and easy account access at their fingertips,” said Roney, Partner and Manager at Pilot Financial. “Our advisors are also highly interested in the vertical integration of LPL’s digital capabilities, along with the flexibility to develop more personalized financial strategies.”

5. Equitable Recruits 2 California-Based Advisors From Lincoln Financial

John Lefferts, Head of Business Development, Equitable Advisors
John Lefferts, Head of Business Development, Equitable Advisors

Equitable Advisors recruited Southern California-based advisors Gary Stemple and Kendyl Roundtree from Lincoln Financial Advisors (LFA), where they managed a combined $177 million in client assets. Osaic recently completed its acquisition of LFA, which represented more than 1,400 advisors overseeing approximately $115 billion in assets.

Stemple, who has nearly 40 years of experience, started working with Roundtree over five years ago as part of a succession plan. Roundtree has over a decade of industry experience. In 2020, she took over Roundtree Financial from her father, Dan. Equitable Advisors has more than 4,300 financial professionals, and as of March 31 over $91 billion in assets under administration. Equitable Advisors is a subsidiary of Equitable Holdings.

“Gary and Kendyl are seasoned professionals who oversee practices with a rich history of making a positive difference in their clients’ lives,” said John Lefferts, Head of Business Development at Equitable Advisors. “Their decision to join us underscores how our supported independence model, holistic planning approach and open-architecture platform are resonating with experienced advisors considering a move.”

6. Stifel Adds $1.2 Billion Duo From Merrill Lynch In Iowa

St. Louis-based Stifel Financial recruited advisors Mark Malone and Grant Clark from Merrill Lynch to launch the Clark Malone Group in West Des Moines, Iowa. Malone serves as First Vice President/Investments – Branch Manager, and Clark serves as Managing Director/Investments.

At Merrill, they oversaw $1.2 billion in assets, according to Financial Advisor IQ and AdvisorHub. Malone has approximately 13 years of industry experience and Clark has approximately 25 years of experience. Accompanying them are Sara O’Brien, Registered Client Service Associate, and Lyndsi Truka, Client Service Associate.

The Clark Malone Group, Stifel
The Clark Malone Group, Stifel

“For our team to effectively operate we need access to world-class investments, best-in-class financial planning tools, access to cash management and lending capabilities. Quite simply, Stifel rose to the top,” Clark was quoted as saying in a Stifel LinkedIn post.

7. Rockefeller Brings On 2 Teams From Morgan Stanley And Merrill Lynch

Ronald Ventura, Private Advisor and Managing Director, Rockefeller Global Family Office
Ronald Ventura, Private Advisor and Managing Director, Rockefeller Global Family Office

Rockefeller Global Family Office brought on two teams from Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. Ronald Ventura, Private Advisor and Managing Director; Elias Stambolis, Private Advisor and Vice President; Debra Willson, Client Relationship Director; and Jackson Wildermuth, Wealth Management Analyst, joined in Chicago from Morgan Stanley. Ventura’s team oversaw $1.4 billion in assets there, according to Forbes.

In Hartford, Connecticut, Wahlberg Wealth Partners joined from Merrill Lynch. The team consists of Edward Wahlberg, Private Advisor and Managing Director; Steve Szeligowski, Team Investment Manager and Vice President; Renee Moreau, Senior Client Associate and Associate Vice President; along with Client Associates Pamela King and Ashley Volage.

“This group brings decades of experience in leading families through complex financial situations and new wealth opportunities, and we look forward to partnering with them in bringing the Rockefeller experience to current and future clients,” Rockefeller Capital Management, the parent company of Rockefeller Global Family Office, said of Ventura’s team in a LinkedIn post.

Promotions & People Moves

8. Caprock Appoints Bennie Fowler III As Director Of Strategic Development

Bennie Fowler III, Director of Strategic Development, Caprock
Bennie Fowler III, Director of Strategic Development, Caprock

Boise, Idaho-based Caprock, a multi-family office RIA, appointed former NFL wide receiver and buisness leadership coach Bennie Fowler III as Director of Strategic Development. He played for the NFL from 2014 to 2021, including on the Denver Broncos, during when the team won Super Bowl 50.

Fowler, who has worked with more than 150 business owners and C-suite executives, most recently served as Director of Strategic Advisory at the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich. Caprock serves 400 wealthy families and has over $11 billion in assets under advisement. Earlier this year, Caprock acquired Grey Street Capital, a Chicago-based boutique advisory firm with $2.2 billion in client assets.

“I am honored to join Caprock and begin working to enhance its national presence,” Fowler said. “There is an incredible opportunity to elevate how people view wealth management by emphasizing the importance of legacy through family, impact and philanthropy. Life is a team sport, and Caprock can be the best teammate for wealthy families and the advisors who serve them.”

9. AlphaCore Appoints Aidan Walsh As Head Of Corporate Development

Aidan Walsh, Head of Corporate Development, AlphaCore Wealth Advisory
Aidan Walsh, Head of Corporate Development, AlphaCore Wealth Advisory

La Jolla, California-based AlphaCore Wealth Advisory appointed Aidan Walsh as Head of Corporate Development. Walsh previously was an M&A Senior Associate at Focus Financial Partners, a Board Observer at the private markets digital administration platform Arch, and a Securitized Lending Associate at RBC Capital Markets.

AlphaCore has $2.8 billion in AUM, according to a spokesperson. In December, the firm received a strategic investment from Constellation Wealth Capital. In the past 18 months, AlphaCore acquired Greenwich, Connecticut-based Magnolia Lane and Denver-based Johnston & Associates. Walsh is the firm’s 11th new hire in six months.

“I have long admired AlphaCore for its innovative approach and dynamic growth,” Walsh said. “We have ambitious targets, aiming to dramatically increase AUM by many multiples while maintaining the boutique feel that our clients and advisors value.”

10. Robert Coppola Joins Sanctuary Wealth As Chief Technology Officer

Robert Coppola, Chief Technology Officer, Sanctuary Wealth
Robert Coppola, Chief Technology Officer, Sanctuary Wealth

Robert Coppola has been lured away from Envestnet to become Sanctuary Wealth’s new Chief Technology Officer. Coppola will report to CEO Adam Malamed and spearhead the next stage of Sanctuary’s technology strategy.

In his new role, Coppola has been tasked to identify and prioritize the development of digital solutions and advance the build-out of the firm’s technology platform. He is also assigned to refine Sanctuary’s digital strategy to capture opportunities related to emerging solutions, including artificial intelligence. Sanctuary recently announced the acquisition of tru Independence.

“I am excited to build on Sanctuary’s impressive tech foundation and reinforce our position as an industry-leading innovator with a proven track record of delivering an exceptional service experience that financial advisors would not receive at a wirehouse or elsewhere in the independent channel,” Coppola said.

11. Industry Veteran Ron Pruitt Named As Orion Wealth Management President

Ron Pruitt, President, Orion Wealth Management
Ron Pruitt, President, Orion Wealth Management

Orion appointed industry veteran Ron Pruitt as President of Orion Wealth Management. Pruitt is replacing Ryan Beach, who left Orion in early March. Pruitt will be responsible for driving strategic initiatives to expand Orion’s wealth management services and enhance its investor-centric technology for financial advisors.

Pruitt brings over 25 years of experience in wealth management, most recently as Senior Vice President of Nasdaq Analytics, comprised of eVestment and Solovis, after they were acquired by Nasdaq. He also served as President and CEO of Solovis, a provider of portfolio management software and services.

“We will continue to deliver exceptional value and service to advisors and their clients through a connected, disruptive technology and investment platform that can be customized to advisor and investor investment philosophies,” Pruitt said.

Wirehouse Activity

12. Bank Of America CEO Joins Massive List Of Elite Bernstein Conference Participants

Brian Moynihan, Chair and CEO, Bank of America
Brian Moynihan, Chair and CEO, Bank of America

Bank of America Chair and CEO Brian Moynihan joins the massive and growing list of elite executives scheduled to participate in Bernstein’s 40th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference. Moynihan will speak May 30 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.

He joins Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf, J.P. Morgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, State Street Chairman and CEO Ron O’Hanley, AIG Chairman and CEO Peter Zaffino, Blackstone President and COO Jon Gray, KKR Co-CEO Joseph Bae, and many others who will participate at different times during the May 29 to May 31 event to be held at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Traditionally, the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference features fireside chats with

Bernstein senior analysts, as well as hundreds of individual and small group meetings with CEOs and management teams from companies of all major sectors.

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

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