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Carolyn Armitage and Luke Winskowski
Carolyn Armitage (left) and Luke Winskowski

Thrivent Advisor Network Hires Echelon's Carolyn Armitage to Grow Indie Platform

Carolyn Armitage, former managing director at M&A consultant Echelon Partners, will lead the independent advisor platform, currently with 180 advisors.

Thrivent Financial has hired Carolyn Armitage, former managing director at investment bank and RIA consulting firm Echelon Partners, as the new head of Thrivent Advisor Network, the firm’s hybrid independent advisor platform. Armitage starts in the new role on June 14.

She replaces Luke Winskowski, who was tapped earlier this year to lead Thrivent’s new advice and wealth management division

“We have a mutual aspiration to serve that is really driving us to come together to provide this new space, this sense of belonging and community for financial advisors to thrive as independent people,” Armitage said. “This aspiration is something that’s really unique in an industry that sometimes can be overly transactional. My passion is really in building these long-term relationships and helping advisors grow.”

Armitage has more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Most recently, at Echelon Partners, she was helping RIAs, hybrid firms and broker/dealers with strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to Echelon, she spent three years at LPL Financial, leading the firm’s large enterprise business management consulting team.

She said she hopes to grow the Thrivent Advisor Network through practice management services for existing advisors, as well as through recruiting and possibly acquisitions, a growth path the network has traditionally not pursued.

Winskowski said it’s still to be determined whether TAN will become an active acquirer in the RIA space.  

“We will continue to evaluate our strategy,” he said. “We started off as an independent affiliation model, and part of what we’ll ask Carolyn to do with her breadth of experience across multiple forms of affiliation and ownership models is evaluate how we want to play in that space.”

Thrivent launched TAN in late 2019, bringing over 130 of its own advisors from the legacy insurance broker/dealer. Since then, the firm has been quietly building that platform; it started recruiting outside advisors last summer. Earlier this year, the RIA joined the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, allowing departing advisors to take certain customer information and solicit customers.

The firm has also added top industry talent, including Gary Foster, former vice president of business development at LPL Financial, as its senior business development officer. Just last week, the firm brought on Ryan Armock, former chief operations officer at RIA-friendly broker/dealer Private Client Services (PCS) as TAN’s director of operations.

“They do a very quietly impressive job of growing that network that they now need to staff it appropriately and have an executive leader to do it,” said Tim Welsh, president, CEO and founder of Nexus Strategy.

TAN has grown to $6.7 billion in assets under management and 180 advisors, 37 of which were recruited externally.

The news of Armitage's appointment was first reported by

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