Mariner Wealth Advisors will absorb Steve Lockshin’s registered investment advisory firm AdvicePeriod. The deal between the two well-known RIAs was set in motion June 30, according to a company announcement.
Lockshin and the other shareholders of AdvicePeriod, including co-founders Jonathan Straub and Marc Russell, will roll their equity into Mariner as part of the deal. The founders will continue as principals of AdvicePeriod, and the company will maintain the brand they’ve spent 27 years building.
The acquisition will bring $5.1 billion in client assets to Mariner’s $43 billion managed across more than 350 advisors.
Both firms expect the merger to increase capabilities in technology and offer a wider pool of services for clients and advisors, including trust and tax services. The newly combined entity will also launch a law firm to carve out more in-house support for estate planning. Lockshin said the law firm will likely be a virtual service to accommodate legal needs around the country.
“I had said many times ‘I was never selling’ because I had sold before and didn’t enjoy the experience,” Lockshin said in an interview.
But Lockshin found one possible buyer in longtime friend and industry colleague Marty Bicknell, CEO and president of Mariner. The two execs met through a mutual friend at an industry conference over 10 years ago.
Lockshin and Bicknell have invested in several companies together throughout their years-long friendship. They’ve bought into Quovo, an account aggregation tool that sold to Plaid in 2019; Betterment, a robo advisor for retail investors; and Advizr, a financial planning tool that Orion bought in 2019. Bicknell has invested in Vanilla, the estate planning technology platform Lockshin started in 2020.
“It’s like you had a best friend for years; you know everything about each other, and then you decide we’ll be way better off together,” said Lockshin.
The deal will make it possible for Mariner to attract employed advisors under Lockshin's AdvicePeriod for Advisors program, which allows W2 employees to "synthetically" own and run their businesses independently, while retaining Mariner Platform Solutions' affiliation model for 1099 employees and independently branded firms using Mariner's back-office support services.
Prior to co-founding AdvicePeriod, Lockshin founded Convergent Wealth Advisors 27 years ago and sold it to publicly held City National Bank in 2007. He ran the firm for 18 years until he stepped down in 2012 to launch Advizent with Charles Goldman, the chairman of a financial technology special acquisition corporation called FinTech Evolution Acquisition Group and the former president and CEO of AssetMark.
The venture fizzled out in 2013 from a lack of funding and Lockshin moved on to other projects like starting AdvicePeriod the same year and then joining the executive board of Carson Wealth in 2014.
Since launching AdvicePeriod, Lockshin has added 92 employees, including 49 financial advisors, spread across 21 offices and 11 states. He’s attracted advisors such as Eric Koeplin, founder of the Milestone Group, from retirement and Niza Oun-Nguyen from BNY Mellon. AdvicePeriod lost principal Larry Miles in January to the $6 billion in AUM RIA Freestone, where he serves as CEO.
AdvicePeriod is Mariner’s 25th acquisition and its largest. Mariner received an investment from private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners in April to help the company expand further. Echelon Partners reported LGP’s minority stake as a top M&A deal in the second quarter in terms of AUM transacted.