RIA Rising

Convergent: departed FAs advised on $4B

News of Lori Van Dusen’s departure from Convergent Wealth Advisors set the RIA world buzzing when the story broke on Tuesday. Apparently it caught the attention of enough investors that Convergent put out a release late yesterday afternoon with some new information on the deal.

Van Dusen, who had signed up with Los Angeles-based Convergent three years ago from Citigroup/Smith Barney, announced she was joining Focus Financial Partners in New York City and starting her own RIA in the Rochester, N.Y. area, LVW Group. Although the announcement by Focus didn’t say how much in assets Van Dusen hoped to bring over with her, it alluded to a Barron’s report that put her assets under advisement at $4.9 billion. Assuming all her clients left with her, that would take a big chunk out of Convergent’s asset base as well; the wealth management firm reports $14 billion in assets under advisement.

Convergent now says Van Dusen and a colleague who came over with her in the Citigroup move, George Dunn, together account for $4 billion in AUA (there was no breakout of what Van Dusen’s share is.) Dunn just left Convergent too; at the beginning of this month he joined the Global Institutional Consulting Group at Merrill Lynch. The “vast majority” of the Dunn/Van Dusen assets were institutional money that included foundations and endowments, and were brought over to Convergent by the two advisors in 2008, Convergent said.

An agreement between Convergent and the two advisors includes an “appropriate amount of compensation to Convergent” for clients who decide to leave the firm and stick with the advisors, the firm’s statement said. Their departures will have “no impact on ongoing operations” at Convergent, it added, and the firm “continues to add clients at a record pace.” In an interview today with Registered Rep., Convergent spokeswoman Laura Smith said the firm’s institutional business has largely left with Dunn and Van Dusen, although the firm still has a large high- and ultra-high-net-worth clientele.

Convergent repeated the no-hard-feelings sentiment it expressed in a brief statement Tuesday on the deal. “We wish them and their teams the very best in their future endeavors,” Convergent CEO Steve Lockshin said in yesterday’s statement. “The culture of our teams and our approach to servicing clients simply did not benefit the collective enterprise.”

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