Deals & Recruiting Roundup: Constellation, Steward Partners, Realta And More

M&A By WEG And Constellation. Recruitments By Ashton Thomas, Stratos, Avantax, Steward Partners And Dynasty. Strategic Appointments By Realta And UBS. And Schwab Releases Study On RIA Trends Among Independent Advisors.
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

This edition of the Deals & Recruiting Roundup covers Wealth Enhancement Group acquiring The Financial Advisory Group, Constellation Wealth Capital investing in Requisite Capital Management and CV Advisors, Ashton Thomas onboarding Campbell Private Wealth Management, Stratos Wealth Advisors recruiting Spain & Smith, Avantax recruiting advisor Erin Hinzmann through Alliance Wealth Strategies, Steward Partners adding Coastal 360 Capital Advisors, Dynasty helping to launch Founders Grove Wealth Partners, Schwab Advisor Services releasing its Supported Independence Study, Realta Wealth appointing John Barragan as COO and UBS reshuffling its Global Wealth Management heads.

Larry’s Take

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

According to Constellation Wealth Capital’s website, there is approximately $7 trillion in assets under management (AUM) across nearly 18,000 RIAs in the U.S., a 19% five-year AUM compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for $5 billion-plus AUM firms, and a projected two-times increase in $1 billion-plus RIAs over the next five years.

According to the Schwab Advisor Services 2024 Supported Independence Study, the current median AUM of advisors who recently went independent is $278 million, and they expect to oversee $396 million over the next five years. Among advisors considering going independent, the median initial AUM they expect is $176 million, and then $297 million five years later.

So there is still a huge opportunity for direct investments by private equity firms in larger RIAs, and a huge need among younger RIAs to achieve scale. In addition to organic growth, support for the latter is likely to come from aggregators and affiliation networks. As multi-billion-dollar RIAs proliferate, external capital infusions also may become more common for smaller RIAs.

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. Wealth Enhancement Group Acquires $1.22 Billion The Financial Advisory Group

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

Wealth Enhancement Group (WEG) is buying The Financial Advisory Group, an independent RIA in Houston, Texas, that includes a team of seven financial advisors and 14 support team members managing more than $1.22 billion in client assets. The deal represents WEG’s fifth acquisition so far this year and is its third location in Texas.

WEG and its RIA, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, had $80.3 billion in client assets, including $4 billion of brokerage assets held at LPL Financial, as of April 30. Including The Financial Advisory Group and previously announced acquisitions, WEG will have more than $81.5 billion in client, advisory, trust and brokerage assets.

“We are pleased to announce the addition of Richard Alphonso and The Financial Advisory Group team to Wealth Enhancement Group,” said WEG CEO Jeff Dekko. “The firm’s dedication to delivering a high-quality client experience and customized financial services aligns with our firm’s goals.”

2. Constellation Invests In $2.3 Billion Requisite And $10 Billion CV Advisors

Karl Heckenberg, Founder and Managing Partner, Constellation Wealth Capital
Karl Heckenberg, Founder and Managing Partner, Constellation Wealth Capital

Chicago-based private equity firm Constellation Wealth Capital invested in Requisite Capital Management, an RIA providing comprehensive wealth management that includes asset allocation strategy, estate and tax planning, as well as consolidated balance sheet reporting. The eight-member team is led by Douglas John, Founder and Managing Partner.

Constellation also recently invested in the Miami-based boutique family office CV Advisors, which has over $10 billion in AUM, 58 employees and 117 client relationships, according to its website. CV Advisors serves entrepreneurs, ultra-high net worth families and institutions. The team is led by CEO, CIO and Founding Partner Elliot Dornbusch.

“Congratulations to our client Requisite Capital Management on its strategic minority investment from Constellation Wealth Capital,” Colchester Partners, an investment banking and strategic advisory firm, posted on LinkedIn. “Headquartered in Dallas, TX, and managing approximately $2.3 billion in client assets, Requisite is among the fastest growing UHNW businesses in Texas.”

Advisor Transactions

3. Ashton Thomas Onboards $400 Million Campbell Private Wealth Management

Craig Campbell, Founder, Managing Partner and Senior Portfolio Manager, Campbell Private Wealth Management
Craig Campbell, Founder, Managing Partner and Senior Portfolio Manager, Campbell Private Wealth Management

Midland, Texas-based Campbell Private Wealth Management joined the independent advisor network of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Ashton Thomas Private Wealth, an Arax Investment Partners firm, after leaving the Wells Fargo Financial Network (FiNet) and rebranding from Campbell Securities. The seven-person team oversaw $400 million in AUM at FiNet.

Craig Campbell, Founder, Managing Partner and Senior Portfolio Manager at Campbell Private Wealth Management, served at FiNet for 14 years and previously worked at Merrill Lynch, Prudential Bache and E.F. Hutton. Firms in the Ashton Thomas network receive customized support in financial planning, asset management, compliance marketing and other verticals while keeping control of their brand, staff and overhead.

“We are proud of our legacy and our recent growth, and we are committed to bringing solutions and services that meet the evolving needs of our valued clients,” Campbell said. “We believe the Ashton Thomas Private Wealth Network is the right environment for the next phase of Campbell’s growth and development.”

4. Stratos Recruits Cleveland-Area Spain & Smith

Spain & Smith Wealth Advisors of Pepper Pike, Ohio, is the latest financial services firm to join the Stratos Wealth Advisors platform. Based in Beachwood, Ohio, Stratos Wealth Advisors is part of Stratos Wealth Holdings. Spain & Smith’s advisors are Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager Henry “Hank” Spain and Wealth Advisor Dayna Smith.

Spain & Smith provide services for financial, retirement, Social Security, tax, estate, charitable and education planning; wealth management; and risk management. The firm has over $100 million in client assets. Stratos Wealth Advisors managed over $3.3 billion in advisory assets and over $279 million in third-party managed assets as of March 31. It supports 65 advisors at over 30 locations. Stratos Wealth Advisors is part of Stratos Wealth Holdings.

Henry Spain, Managing Director & Senior Portfolio Manager, and Dayna Smith, Wealth Advisor, Spain & Smith
Henry Spain, Managing Director & Senior Portfolio Manager, and Dayna Smith, Wealth Advisor, Spain & Smith

Jeff Concepcion, Founder and CEO of Stratos Wealth Partners, added that he has long known and respected Spain and his practice. “I’m thrilled Hank and Dayna have joined us as they continue to grow their business by taking advantage of Stratos’ scale and scope to enhance the way they support their clients,” he said.

5. Avantax Recruits Erin Hinzmann From Ameriprise

Erin Hinzmann, Financial Advisor, Alliance Wealth Strategies
Erin Hinzmann, Financial Advisor, Alliance Wealth Strategies

Avantax, a subsidiary of Cetera Holdings, recruited Erin Hinzmann who joined Avantax Wealth Management through Alliance Wealth Strategies. She previously oversaw approximately $120 million at Ameriprise Financial, and before that worked at Edward Jones.

Hinzmann, who is based near Austin, Texas, sought out growth opportunities, access to tax-advantaged investment products and Avantax’s advanced case solutions team for complex-case support. The eight-member team of Alliance Wealth Strategies includes Bryan Clegg, who also previously worked at Ameriprise and Edward Jones.

“A client’s CPA asked for an investment product I didn’t have access to in time for the client to get the preferential tax treatment, but when I looked at Avantax, they would have five options available in the required timeframe,” Hinzmann said. “In the short time since joining Avantax, I can already tell that the service and support I’m already getting is going to be the most incredible boon for my practice.”

6. Steward Partners Adds $320 Million Coastal 360 Capital Advisors

Alicia Fuller, Managing Director and Wealth Manager, Coastal 360 Capital Advisors at Steward Partners
Alicia Fuller, Managing Director and Wealth Manager, Coastal 360 Capital Advisors at Steward Partners

Steward Partners added Naples, Florida-based Coastal 360 Capital Advisors, which has over $320 million in AUM. The team consists of Alicia Fuller, Managing Director and Wealth Manager; Courtney Shrewsberry, Vice President and Wealth Manager; and Christina Sanchez, Vice President and Client Administrative Manager.

Fuller has more than 40 years of industry experience. She previously worked at Merrill Lynch for 35 years. Fuller placed on the Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list from 2022 to 2024, and on the Forbes “Top Women Advisors” list from 2020 to 2021. This is Steward Partners’ fourth location in Florida. The firm had over $35 billion in client assets as of March.

“From the moment I first spoke with Steward Partners it was clear that they share the same dedication to client service as me and my team; to above all else do what’s right for the client,” Fuller said. “As holistic planners this is critical, and I’m excited by the endless possibilities afforded to us as we embark upon this journey together.”

Strategic Partnerships

7. Dynasty Helps Launch $750 Million Founders Grove Wealth Partners

Jeremiah Winters, Founder, Managing Partner, CEO, Founders Grove
Jeremiah Winters, Founder, Managing Partner, CEO, Founders Grove

Richmond, Virginia-based Founders Grove Wealth Partners launched as a fee-only firm on the Dynasty Financial Partners platform. The team consists of Jeremiah Winters, Founder, Managing Partner and CEO; Kate Atwood, Founder, Managing Partner and President; Jen Thompson, Chief Operating Officer; and Abbey Sorensen, Director of Client Experience.

They previously managed over $750 million at Salomon and Ludwin. Founders Grove serves entrepreneurs, business owners and corporate executives. It chose Charles Schwab to custody client assets. Dynasty has 55 independent firms representing 370 advisors on its network, and maintains over $88 billion on its core technology platform.

“We knew we needed a partner that would allow us to continue to operate as fiduciaries and Dynasty’s triangulation of advice resonated with us,” Winters said. “We want to keep products and client assets and custody separate from advice so that we have the freedom to do what we believe is best for our clients. We wanted a partner that had expertise in technology, cybersecurity, human resources, payroll and many other aspects of running a business so our clients could be our primary focus.”

Jon Beatty, Chief Operating Officer, Schwab Advisor Services
Jon Beatty, Chief Operating Officer, Schwab Advisor Services

Schwab Advisor Services released a report on RIA trends among independent advisors. The survey polled 200 advisors, 42 who work for an RIA and went independent within the past four years and 158 who work for an IBD or brokerage firm and are considering going independent within the next three years.

It found that 44% of respondents considering independence would join or affiliate with an existing RIA, 31% would create their own firm and 24% were unsure. Among recently independent advisors, there was a 50-50 split between those who formed their own RIA and those who joined or affiliated with an RIA. Among both recently independent advisors and those considering going independent, 60% of respondents value looking to advisors who already made the transition for advice.

“Advisors must make a laundry list of decisions as they transition to independence,” Jon Beatty, Chief Operating Officer at Schwab Advisor Services, wrote in the foreword. “To better understand how advisors navigate this journey and these questions, we commissioned the Schwab Advisor Services 2024 Supported Independence Study.”

Promotions & People Moves

9. Realta Wealth Appoints John Barragan As COO

John Barragan, Chief Operating Officer, Realta Wealth
John Barragan, Chief Operating Officer, Realta Wealth

Realta Wealth appointed John Barragan as Chief Operating Officer, reporting directly to CEO Kevin Keefe. Barragan will provide strategy for and oversee Realta’s operations, services and technology. Realta Wealth includes the independent broker-dealer Realta Equities and the RIA platform Realta Investment Advisors.

Most recently, Barragan was Chief Operating and Compliance Officer at Kestra Investment Management. Previously, he led the Personal Financial Management shared operations team at Goldman Sachs. Earlier, he was Senior Vice President and Head of Strategic Operations at Cetera Financial Group.

“At a time when many of the larger enterprises in our industry are losing their cultures and diverting their attention away from quality service as they focus on building scale, it’s refreshing to join a firm like Realta that has an unwavering commitment to providing a high-touch experience,” Barragan said.

Wirehouse Activity

10. UBS Reshuffles Senior Leaders, Including Global Wealth Management

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

UBS appointed Rob Karofsky and Iqbal Khan Co-Presidents of Global Wealth Management (GWM). Karofsky, who led UBS Investment Bank as Co-President since 2018 and as President since 2021, also will become President UBS Americas. Khan, who already has been the wealth management head for the past two years, also will become President UBS Asia-Pacific.

They will jointly manage GWM across all regions, effective July 1. George Athanasopoulos and Marco Valla also were appointed Co-Presidents of the Investment Bank. Athanasopoulos has been Head Global Markets since 2020 and Head Global Family and Institutional Wealth since 2022. Marco joined UBS in 2023 as Co-Head of Global Banking.

“Since acquiring Credit Suisse last year, we have continued to deliver on our integration priorities while staying close to our clients, positioning us well for future growth,” said UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti. “The appointments to the Group Executive Board we are announcing today will allow us to continue to progress on our integration journey and realize the expected synergies and efficiencies, while putting even more emphasis on our long-term priorities and growth prospects, particularly in the Americas and Asia-Pacific.”

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

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