Sunday, May 26, 2024

RIA Roundup: Following Record Q1, RIA M&A Sees ‘Whopper’ of a Week -Dlight News

Dealmaking may indeed be picking up elsewhere as private equity returns to post-post-COVID markets eager to put mountains of pent-up powder to work, but it never truly waned in the registered investment advisory space.  

Still, after what some industry experts are calling the most active quarter in nearly a decade, this week may have beaten every other. No less than 14 deals and a couple of new launches were announced, as well as a bevy of talent grabs. In all, more than $22 billion in client assets were on the move.  

“The first quarter of 2024 wrapped as the most active in wealth M&A history, which was then followed by this week’s record activity,” according to MarshBerry VP of Financial Advisory Rob Madore. “More than 10 transactions were announced, and five that were larger than $1 billion in assets under management.”

“This week was quite a whopper,” remarked DeVoe & Company CEO David DeVoe, who said his firm has recorded as many as 13 deals in a single week since they began tracking in 2015. 

In addition to earlier reported news, OneSeven scored a former Edelman advisor, Sequoia Financial Group and OneDigital both picked up indie firms in Houston, Ashton Thomas established a third Colorado location with a duo from WealthSource, Bison Wealth snagged a pair from Key Private Bank and Evermay Wealth Management picked up another Virginia firm in its fifth acquisition.  

In earlier reported deal news:  

In earlier reported talent news:  

OneSeven Launches LA Advisor from Edelman Financial Engines 

OneSeven, an Ohio RIA serving 246 retirement plans and 28 independent advisory practices with more than $4.3 billion in collective assets, added $190 million from Edelman Financial Engines. 

Jame Selu, who joined OneSeven after nine years with Edelman, has become the platform’s 48th advisor. As CEO, president and sole financial advisor of Palm Coast Wealth Management in northern Los Angeles County, Selu will continue to use Charles Schwab as custodian and expects to leverage additional resources and support provided through OneSeven.  

Backed by Merchant Investment Management, OneSeven was created in 2022 by the merger of MGO Investment Advisors and One Seven. 

Sequoia Financial Group Buys AltruVista 

Sequoia Financial Group, an Akron, Ohio-based RIA overseeing close to $18 billion in client assets, picked up a Houston firm managing more than $300 million.

AltruVista was founded in 2009 by CEO Ali Nasser, who is joining Sequoia as a shareholder. According to the AltruVista website, he leads a team of seven that includes one additional advisor, CFP Jared Waldrup.  

Per federal filings dated March 29, the team offers investment consultation and a range of financial planning services, as well as implementation and management of investment portfolios and access to third-party asset managers. A proprietary “Wealth Integration System for Entrepreneurs” developed by Nasser will now be available to Sequoia advisors.  

The new Houston location brings Sequoia to 14 offices in eight states. It is the second in Texas after the 2023 acquisition of a Nashville-based firm also added a San Antonio location. 

Founded in 1991, Sequoia completed a few smaller acquisitions before selling a minority stake to Kudu Investment Management in 2020 and following up with two deals that added around $4 billion in assets the next year. In late 2022, the firm secured a second minority investment from Valeas Capital and followed that up with four acquisitions in 2023 that added more than $6.7 billion.  

OneDigital Attracts Houston Firm  

Atlanta-based OneDigital Investment Advisors, the RIA arm of insurance, talent and financial advisory firm OneDigital, added Legacy Asset Management in Houston, Texas. 

Founded in 1998 by CEO and President Joe Birkofer, Legacy is an eight-person RIA serving more than a dozen retirement plans, 180 households and a handful of charities with nearly $162 million under management.  

“Giving us a strong foothold in the wealth management and retirement services industry in Texas, a partnership with Legacy demonstrates our commitment to add value to our south-central clients by providing a full suite of offerings to best serve their needs,” OneDigital Senior VP of Retirement + Wealth Kelley Snook said in a statement.  

With more than $107 billion under management, roughly a third of which is discretionary, One Digital Investment Advisors comprises about 40 partner firms collectively serving 36,650 households, 5,647 retirement plans and more than 460 other entities. The addition of Legacy brings the firm to more than 2,500 clients in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  

Ashton Thomas Opens 3rd Colorado Office with Former WealthSource Duo 

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Ashton Thomas Private Wealth, a $5.5 billion AUM hybrid RIA bought by Arax Investment Partners last year, opened an office in Grand Junction, Colo., after recruiting a local duo managing $300 million. 

Making the move from WealthSource, which was recently acquired by OneDigital, Angela Johnson and Doug May are operating as the Confluence Team under Ashton Thomas. Johnson spent 14 years with Wells Fargo before joining WealthSource two years ago and May had his own RIA before joining WealthSource ten years ago.  

The Confluence team also includes Associate Wealth Advisor Nic Hansen, Associate Investment Portfolio Analyst Jared Hardin, Senior Associate of Private Wealth Client Services Denise Cook and Associate of Private Wealth Client Services Lisa Mauser. 

Confluence is the second Colorado team to move to Ashton Thomas, establishing the firm’s third office in the state, alongside locations in Denver and Colorado Springs.  

Bison Wealth Recruits Key Private Bank Team 

Atlanta-based Bison Wealth, which manages about $1.6 billion in assets for almost 2,000 households and more than 150 institutional investors, scooped up a team from Key Private Bank managing $750 million.  

Matthew Crecium and Rand Siegel are the third team to join Bison this year. They have worked together for the last 13 years.  

“I am confident that by joining forces with Bison Wealth, we will be able to provide our clients with even greater access to cutting-edge research, technology, and strategic insights to help them achieve their financial objectives,” Siegel said in a statement.  

Bison hired Tom Scaturro late last year to lead expansion and acquisition efforts and expects to make more announcements in the coming months.  

Evermay Wealth Management Buys Insight Wealth Management 

Evermay Wealth Management, an Arlington, Va., RIA managing a little more than $1 billion, acquired Insight Wealth Management half an hour west in Gainesville, Va. 

In December, Evermay acquired $73 million in assets managed by Insight Wealth Management, which was owned and operated by Bob Pugh, who has become a senior wealth advisor at Evermay, and his wife, Senior Client Relationship Manager Elaine Pugh. 

According to an announcement, Pugh was looking for a firm with a similar fee structure, business model and fiduciary emphasis, “and he also liked the firm’s leadership and personnel.” 

“I did not want to grow a large business and need to deal with personnel,” he said in a statement. “Evermay places the same importance on professionalism and experience as we do, including more professionals who have earned their CFA and CFP designations than any other firm of comparable size that we considered.” 

“As the fifth acquisition in Evermay’s history, we always love when we identify partners who share our philosophy and values,” added President and co-founder Will Pitt. 

Additional People Moves: 

  • Joe DeBello, an institutional retirement plan advisor, has become a vice president at Captrust in Tampa, Fla. He previously led the Florida-based retirement plan consulting team at OneDigital, where he most recently served as managing principal over the Tampa and Sarasota markets.
  • Boston-based GW&K Investment Management, a $50 billion AUM RIA offering a range of active equity and fixed-income investments, has named Bryan Scott, Aaron Clark and Kara South as partners. 

         Scott, who joined the firm in 2005, has been named director of enterprise data and analytics. In this newly created role, he will handle “data-driven” decision-making, performance measurement and systems integration. 

         Clark joined the firm in 2015 and is the lead portfolio manager for its all-cap diversified equity strategy as well as the firm’s equity dividend plus strategy. He was previously a principal and portfolio manager at Tetrem Capital Management and also managed flagship portfolios for Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Pioneer Investments. 

         South joined the firm in 2022 as a municipal bond portfolio manager. She is a member of the firm’s Investment, Product Development and ESG Committees and co-chair of the Women in Finance Committee. She previously was a senior portfolio manager and co-director of credit research at Income Research + Management. 

  • RWA Wealth Partners, a $14 billion RIA created in 2023 with the merger of Ropes Wealth Advisors, Adviser Investments and Polaris Wealth Advisory Group, has hired Greg Evans to direct equity compensation planning. He comes to RWA after 28 years with Fidelity Investments, most recently as director of stock plan executive services.  

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