Deals & Recruiting Roundup: Cresset, Lido, Wealthspire, Ritholtz, BNY and More

M&A By Cresset, Arax And Lido. Recruitments By LPL, Kestra, Summit Trail And Eton. Summit Financial Helps Launch SRM Private Wealth. Strategic Appointments By Focus, Ritholtz And Wealthspire. BNY’s Pershing X Enhances Wove Platform.
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

This edition of the Deals & Recruiting Roundup covers Cresset acquiring Connable, Arax acquiring SRS Capital Advisors, Lido Advisors acquiring Shore Morgan Young, Summit Trail recruiting a former BNP Paribas/Bank of the West team, LPL announcing three recruitments in the same week surpassing $1 billion in combined assets, Eton bringing on family office expert Tamara Surratt, Kestra onboarding Lodi Wealth Advisors, Summit Financial helping launch SRM Private Wealth, Wealthspire hiring industry veteran and portfolio manager Michael Santo, Ritholtz hiring Callie Cox as Chief Market Strategist, Focus making a new wave of executive appointments and BNY’s Pershing X enhancing its Wove platform.

Larry’s Take

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

The Cresset-Connable deal covered in this edition is an example of the acquisition of a very long-lived and successful firm. Although few wealth management firms in the U.S. have been operating for over a century, many independent RIAs and family offices have been running for several decades without accepting offers from buyers. Leaders of such firms have special considerations when they begin to entertain a sale.

The accumulated knowledge of their business may give them greater understanding about wealth management than the leaders of their buyers, particularly if they are joining firms that have yet to complete their first decade in business. Clients of long-lived firms also may need significant assurances that the kind of service they have come to expect will continue after the sale, or change only for the better as a result of the sale.

When buyers and sellers address these issues early in the M&A process, the institutional knowledge of key personnel at the seller can become a huge asset for the buyer, and pleasantly surprised clients may be more inclined to refer other desirable clients, while the newly combined entity becomes better positioned to accelerate growth for decades more to come.

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. Cresset Acquires Connable Multi-Family Office, Surpassing $52 Billion

Eric Becker, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Cresset
Eric Becker, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Cresset

Chicago-based Cresset Asset Management acquired The Connable Office, a Kalamazoo, Michigan-based multi-family office organized as a private trust company whose history stretches 130 years. As a result of the acquisition, the combined firm will manage over $52 billion in assets for high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients.

Connable began as a single-family office in the late 1800s and grew to $1.6 billion in assets. Both Cresset and Connable were founded by clients, for clients. Principals Loyal Eldridge III, Kenneth Larason, James Melvin, and Bradley Weller lead the Connable team, which has experience in family office services, investing, and trust and foundation administration.

“Cresset and Connable together are an outstanding cultural fit. We are the powerful combination of a firm with a 100-plus year legacy and one that has been built for the next 100 years,” said Eric Becker, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Cresset. “Both Cresset and Connable have built the firms we wanted for our own families, and we are honored to share that with other successful families as well. Our combined business is designed to serve our clients for generations to come.”

2. Arax Acquires $1.7 Billion SRS Capital Advisors

Haig Ariyan, CEO, Arax Investment Partners
Haig Ariyan, CEO, Arax

New York-based Arax Investment Partners, which is backed by RedBird Capital Partners, acquired SRS Capital Advisors and added the RIA to its multi-partner platform. SRS is based in Denver with offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and manages approximately $1.7 billion in assets under management (AUM).

Managing Directors David Simon, Michael Riordan and Patrick South will continue to lead SRS, which serves high net worth families and individuals, businesses and foundations. UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisor to Arax and Waller Helms and Park Sutton Advisors served as financial advisors to SRS Capital Advisors. Arax manages approximately $19 billion in assets.

“The addition of SRS brings another leading wealth management firm with a value of unique and customized approaches to the Arax platform,” said Haig Ariyan, CEO of Arax. “As we continue to scale our multi-platform approach to wealth management, this strategic partnership will compound opportunities for advisors and their clients across the Arax platform.”

3. Lido Advisors Acquires Shore Morgan Young In Ohio

Jason Ozur, CEO, Lido Advisors
Jason Ozur, CEO, Lido Advisors

Los Angeles-based Lido Advisors, which has $20.6 billion in AUM, acquired Shore Morgan Young Wealth Strategies, a New Albany, Ohio-based RIA with over $615 million in AUM in addition to client assets held in brokerage accounts and insurance products.

Principals Lew Shore, Jon Morgan and Marya Young join Lido along with the entire Shore Morgan Young team. Their firm was founded over 40 years ago. In January, Chicago-based private equity firm Constellation Wealth Capital made a minority investment in Lido.

“Our inorganic growth strategy is centered around talent and expansion into key geographic locations, and with Shore Morgan Young, we got both,” said Jason Ozur, CEO of Lido. “We are excited to become an integral part of the community in such a fast-growing region and to connect with entrepreneurs, executives, professionals and families for their life, retirement, legacy and multi-generational planning.”

Advisor Transactions

4. Summit Trail Advisors Picks Up $3 Billion Team From BMO

Jack Petersen, Managing Partner, Summit Trail Advisors
Jack Petersen, Managing Partner, Summit Trail Advisors

New York-based Summit Trail Advisors recruited the former Key Client Group of BNP Paribas/Bank of the West to its advisor network. The Key Client Group managed more than $3 billion in client assets at BNP Paribas’ Bank of the West before it was acquired by BMO in 2023.

The new offices in Portland, Oregon, and Denver will join existing Summit Trail locations in New York; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Boston; Chicago; San Francisco; and Seattle. Summit Trail, which services $18 billion in client assets, serves ultra-high net worth families and institutions across the U.S. Dynasty Investment Bank was the exclusive buy-side advisor to Summit Trail and provided financing for the transaction.

“We are thrilled to welcome this incredibly talented team to Summit Trail,” said Jack Petersen, Managing Partner of Summit Trail Advisors. “Their culture, expertise and commitment to their clients made this a perfect fit and will strategically enhance our national footprint in key new markets.”

5. LPL Announces 3 Recruitments Surpassing $1 Billion, In Same Week

Scott Posner, EVP of Business Development, LPL Financial
Scott Posner, EVP of Business Development, LPL Financial

LPL Financial announced three recruitments in the same week that surpassed $1 billion in total client assets. Advisor David Hilbig joined from Corebridge Financial. As of Dec. 31, Hilbig served approximately $275 million in assets. After shifting to LPL, Hilbig launched Lifetime Legacy Wealth Solutions. He is based in The Woodlands, Texas.

LPL also recently helped Swansea, Illinois-based Stephen Shevlin and Jonathan Joelner launch 1818 Wealth Management, after the $300 million duo left Stifel, Nicolaus and Co. In addition, LPL recently helped Newport Beach, California-based Tim Woodall and Dustin Raring launch Highway One Capital, after the $500 million duo left J.P. Morgan’s First Republic.

“We welcome David to LPL and congratulate him on the launch of Lifetime Legacy Wealth Solutions,” said Scott Posner, Executive Vice President, Business Development at LPL. “We recognize what it takes to launch and operate a thriving business and are committed to investing in streamlined and integrated business solutions designed to help advisors spend more time with their clients and differentiate their practices.”

6. Eton Advisors Brings On Family Office Expert Tamara Surratt

Tamara Surratt, Senior Wealth Manager, Eton Advisors
Tamara Surratt, Senior Wealth Manager, Eton Advisors

Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based Eton Advisors, a boutique multi-family office, hired Tamara Surratt, Founder and CEO of Bonita Springs, Florida-based Legacy Family Office, as a member of the leadership team and as a Senior Wealth Manager.

Due to the recruitment, Eton’s AUM now exceeds $2 billion. Surratt founded Legacy Family Office in 2006. Her professional experience includes estate and tax planning, trust, fiduciary investment management and private client service, family governance, heir development and education, as well as philanthropic initiatives. Eton appointed Brian Hughes as President earlier this year.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tamara Surratt and Legacy Family Office to the Eton family,” Hughes said. “This partnership signifies our relentless pursuit of excellence and our commitment to delivering unparalleled service to our clients as we continually seek talent to meet increasing demand.”

7. Kestra Onboards $400 Million Lodi Wealth Advisors In Westchester, New York

Daniel Schwamb, EVP of Business Development, Kestra Financial
Daniel Schwamb, EVP of Business Development, Kestra Financial

Kestra Financial onboarded Westchester County, New York-based Lodi Wealth Advisors, which has over $400 million in AUM. Scott LoPresti, Founder of Lodi Wealth Advisors, is joined by Dean DiPierro. They provide a white-glove experience, including development of bespoke portfolios, for high net worth clients.

LoPresti and DiPierro most recently were affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors from 2022 to 2024, according to BrokerCheck. Before that, they were affiliated with LPL, and prior to that with Ameritas. Kestra oversees $103 billion in assets under advisement (AUA) and supports more than 1,700 independent financial professionals.

“It was a natural decision to have Lodi join the Kestra Financial ecosystem,” said Daniel Schwamb, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Kestra. “With a high standard of client service, Lodi’s core values fit seamlessly into Kestra’s community of partners, and we’re excited about the opportunities to follow.”

Strategic Partnerships

8. Summit Financial Picks Up $1.9 Billion Breakaway Team From Merrill

Summit Financial Holdings helped launched SRM Private Wealth in Pasadena, California. SRM was founded by Managing Partner and Private Wealth Advisor Richard McWhorter, who broke away from Merrill Lynch, where he attracted over $1.9 billion in AUM. Joining him are Partner and Director of Client Services Sandra Parracino and Client Associate Kyle Szesnat.

SRM selected Goldman Sachs Custody Solutions as its primary custody provider. It is the 11th firm this year to join Summit Growth Partners (SGP), Summit Financial’s partnership model that combines cash monetization with equity participation and exclusive partnership privileges.

Richard McWhorter, Managing Partner and Private Wealth Advisor, and Sandra Parracino, Partner and Director, Client Services, SRM Private Wealth
Richard McWhorter, Managing Partner and Private Wealth Advisor, and Sandra Parracino, Partner and Director, Client Services, SRM Private Wealth

“What drew me to Summit was its powerhouse of resources designed to accelerate our growth,” McWhorter said. “Throughout the due diligence process, it became evident that Summit’s open-architecture approach to investment opportunities, combined with Goldman Sachs’ custody solution, was precisely what my team needed in order to succeed.”

Promotions & People Moves

9. Wealthspire Hires Industry Veteran And Portfolio Manager Michael Santo

Michael Santo, Managing Director, Wealthspire Advisors
Michael Santo, Managing Director, Wealthspire Advisors

Wealthspire Advisors, which has nearly $26 billion in AUM as of March 31 across the firm and its subsidiaries, hired industry veteran and portfolio manager Michael Santo as a Managing Director. He joins the firm in its New York and South Florida markets, where he will focus on new business development.

Santo has overseen portfolios for public company executives, business owners, philanthropic organizations and multi-generational households. Previously, he worked for over 16 years as a portfolio manager at Bank of America Private Bank in New York. Wealthspire is an NFP company that has more than 20 locations and more than 300 team members nationwide.

“I am excited to partner with a firm that shares my unwavering commitment to elevating the client experience,” Santo said. “Wealthspire brings the perfect blend of a smaller and customized team-based fiduciary approach with a robust platform and wide range of experts to serve my clients well for decades. I look forward to a bright future together.”

10. Ritholtz Wealth Management Hires Callie Cox As Chief Market Strategist

Callie Cox, Chief Market Strategist, Ritholtz Wealth Management
Callie Cox, Chief Market Strategist, Ritholtz Wealth Management

New York-based Ritholtz Wealth Management (RWM) hired Callie Cox to the newly created role of Chief Market Strategist. Cox will operate out of RWM’s new Charlotte office, join its investment committee, collaborate with its advisors, and lead communications on investment strategy to clients and prospects.

Cox was a reporter at Bloomberg from 2013 to 2015, before entering financial services. She then worked at TABB Group, First Citizens Bank, LPL, Ally and most recently at eToro as an investment analyst. RWM hired Cox shortly after opening its Los Angeles office, which is led by senior advisor Michelle Katzen. RWM is a national RIA overseeing more than $4 billion in assets for a client base of more than 4,000 individuals, families and institutions.

“I’ll tell you how it is; that’s been my brand for years now,” Cox said. “I’m honored to join Ritholtz Wealth to be another voice within our team that our clients can rely on to cut through the noise and better understand how markets impact their portfolios and, ultimately, their financial lives.”

11. Focus Makes New Wave Of Executive Appointments

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

Focus Financial Partners appointed David Lang as Chief Operating Officer; Kathleen Alcorn as Chief Marketing & Communications Officer; Lawrence Frers as Chief Human Resources Officer; and Molly Bennard as President, International Operations. In April, Focus appointed Michael Nathanson as CEO.

Lang previously was Partner and COO of Enterprise Solutions at Apollo Global Management and prior to that a Partner and COO at Goldman Sachs. Alcorn previously was CMO at Focus partner firm Connectus Wealth Advisers. Frers previously was Managing Director, Head of Human Resources, Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. Bennard previously was CEO at Connectus.

“We are excited to welcome these key leaders to the Focus executive team. Their expertise aligns perfectly with our vision and will help drive the rapid progress we are making toward becoming the leading fiduciary advice platform in the industry,” Nathanson said. “Each individual brings us extensive experience in optimizing business operations that will help us amplify Focus’ position in the fiduciary advice space.”

Wirehouse / Big Bank Activity

12. BNY’s Pershing X Enhances Wove Platform For Advisory Firms

Ainslie Simmonds, President of Pershing X and Pershing Global Head of Strategy
Ainslie Simmonds, President of Pershing X and Pershing Global Head of Strategy

BNY’s Pershing X enhanced its Wove platform for RIAs, broker-dealers and other wealth management firms. The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, which oversees nearly $50 trillion in assets on behalf of clients in more than 100 markets, also recently rebranded to BNY.

Wove Investor is a client portal for viewing account info across custodians and using self-service features such as checking balances across all investment accounts. Wove Data is a cloud platform for C-Suite professionals to manage large, multi-custody data sets and learn how advisor teams, operations and investment products perform across the enterprise. Portfolio Solutions is designed to help advisors toggle more efficiently, from researching investment products to aligning them to client risk objectives and adding them to portfolios.

“When I announced Wove, I said that we would always be working on the platform – that we would not stop innovating until we achieved our vision of being the most connected and productive platform for the future of wealth management,” says Ainslie Simmonds, President of Pershing X and Pershing Global Head of Strategy. “Since the launch we’ve been listening to advisor feedback, and based on what we have heard from clients, we’ve landed on some exciting new offerings for 2024.”

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

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