Former Dynasty Financial Partners Chief Operating Officer and co-founder Ed Swenson is taking over as president of Advisor Group RIA Solutions.
The announcement comes a little over a week after Dynasty announced Swenson would be leaving the firm he helped launch in 2010.
Swenson will become an executive vice president at Advisor Group, with the president position being newly created for him, according to the company.
In the new role, Swenson will help create and manage Advisor Group’s RIA-only and hybrid channel strategy along with developing a corporate RIA platform for fee-based advisors. He’ll report to Advisor Group CEO and President Jamie Price and Greg Cornick, president of advice and wealth management.
Advisor Group’s total network includes eight affiliates with about 11,000 affiliated advisors managing about $565 billion in client assets. But in April, the firm announced it would be combining all of its broker/dealer affiliates under one brand and back office; according to executives, the move would reduce complexity and help advisors capitalize on the firm’s scale.
The name for the unified firm has yet to be released, and executives are working to minimize repapering requirements. Advisors can keep business relationships with third-party TAMPs and other vendors, and clients will not need to sign new paperwork, according to Advisor Group.
In an interview with WealthManagement.com, Swenson said his role was tied to Advisor Group’s combining of its separate affiliates; Swenson will head the RIA channel, which is to be one of three channels (the other two, Independent and Financial Institutions, will be led by Advisor Engagement EVP Erinn Ford and Infinex President Steve Amarante, respectively).
Swenson stressed Advisor Group already was deep into the RIA space, with corporate RIA business alone exceeding $20 billion in assets. But Swenson believes funneling the firm’s RIA business into a single, distinct channel will help make Advisor Group “the premier firm for RIAs to join.”
“I have a vision that this industry will look very different in five to 10 years,” he said. “The RIA ecosystem looks very fragmented. I believe it will continue to consolidate the way you’ve seen it in the past 10 years, and my goal is to make sure Advisor Group is leading this opportunity.”
Industry consolidation was paramount to Swenson’s strategy, who cited Cerulli data indicating there were about 26,000 RIAs in the country, and about half of them were under $100 million in AUM and an aging population of advisors.
“They’re going to need succession plans; they’re going to need access to capital, they’re going to want to get funding,” he said. “Advisor Group can do all of that off of its balance sheets. They’re going to want capabilities for clients, whether it's client portals, or performance reporting or analytics.”
Advisor Group hopes to complete the process of combining affiliates within two years, though there’s been some restlessness among its advisor base; in the announcement’s aftermath, Advisor Group has lost a number of advisory teams to other firms, including three teams departing for Commonwealth, LaSalle St. and LPL Financial last month.
Swenson first entered the industry in 1999 at Citigroup Asset Management, and worked as a portfolio manager and analyst at Legg Mason Asset Management before co-founding Dynasty in 2010, along with current CEO Shirl Penney and Todd Thomson, a member of the firm’s board of directors. Swenson led the firm’s operations, technology, investments, TAMP and human resources departments.
Late last month, Swenson and Dynasty Chief Client Officer Austin Philbin both revealed they were leaving Dynasty as of last week, with Dynasty spokeswoman Sally Cates not sharing at the time who might fill the vacancies. The Florida-based Dynasty serves about 50 RIAs overseeing about $75 billion in client assets.