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Avantax Snags $450M Team From Stratos

GA Investment Management, a Pittsburgh-based team with more than $450 million in assets under advisement, joins Avantax's in-house RIA.

A team of advisors has left Stratos Wealth Advisors after four years to join Avantax Planning Partners, Avantax’s in-house registered investment advisory. The GA Investment Management team, with more than $450 million in assets under advisement, is based in Seven Fields, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. 

GA is led by principals Stephen W. Gierl, Gary E. Augustine and Tim Augustine. Gierl began his career as a life insurance agent with Prudential in the late 1970s. Tim Augustine entered the industry in 1995 after working in the engineering field for 12 years. Gary Augustine started his financial services career in 1989 after working in the accounting business.

The team was affiliated with Raymond James and Cambridge Investment Research for many years. In 2007, they launched their own RIA, Gierl Augustine Investment Management, which they shuttered when they joined Stratos in 2020.

They’re joined by advisors Robert Barnes, Dave King, Cassidy Schmidt and Zachary Sell. The team also includes Director of Technology Susanne H. Gierl, Operations/Client Relations Manager Kelli L. McAninch, Director of First Impressions Kim Belfield and Client Care Coordinator Jena Reinheimer.

“We’re pleased to welcome Steve Gierl and the entire GA Investment Management team to Avantax Planning Partners because, first and foremost, they’re a terrific group of people whose culture aligns with ours, plus like Avantax, they’re committed to partnering with CPA firms to drive growth,” said Avantax President Todd Mackay. “And, importantly, GA’s leadership likes the Avantax story and our people, know they won’t get lost in our close-knit community, and will always have direct access to Avantax leadership.”

Last November, Cetera Holdings acquired Avantax, which includes the RIA, for $1.2 billion. The deal took Avantax private, and it has been operating as a separate division within Cetera. Avantax added more than 3,100 financial advisors and $92 billion in assets to the broker/dealer network. 

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