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Oracle Private Wealth Joins Summit Financial

The $300 million multi-family office with an all-female staff joins Summit's equity partnership platform.

Summit Financial, a Parsippany, N.J.–based registered investment advisory firm overseeing around $9.5 billion in client assets, welcomed a team of five in Baltimore to its equity partnership channel, Summit Growth Partners.

The eighth team to affiliate under SGP in 2023, Oracle made the move from Symphonic Financial Advisors after learning it would be closing its doors at the end of the year. Created in 2005 and owned by City National Bank since 2013, Symphonic comprised around 20 advisors overseeing a little more than $750 million before winding down operations.

Led by founder Audrey Drossner, Oracle is a multi-family office composed entirely of women, providing tax-optimized wealth management strategies supported by an associated tax practice—also all women—that operates as a separate entity. The firm oversees more than $300 million across about 120 client accounts, providing services that include financial planning and asset management, as well as wealth transfer, estate planning and philanthropic strategies for wealthy executives, entrepreneurs, private foundations and multi-generational families.

Under the SGP model, introduced a little more than three years ago, Summit purchases minority stakes through a combination of cash and equity. Partner firms join Summit’s ADV and gain access to an integrated technology platform and array of resources that includes a menu of exclusive services, such as certain alternative investments, tax attorneys, an in-house planning department and additional capital made available through Summit’s own balance sheet and a partnership with Merchant Investment Management.

Drossner said Summit appeared on a list of desirable platform options provided by Symphonic and immediately stood out as they looked for a home with compatible values and a “client-first mentality.”

“We wanted to make sure that there was no pressure to do anything than what was best for the client,” she said. “And we felt we were going to get a lot more support with financial planning, which I believe that you really have to do first before investing. They also had great depth in investment options, so our clients are going to have a lot more options than we've ever been able to offer them. And their marketing group is absolutely amazing.”

Drossner mentioned that the head of Summit’s insurance division personally got on the phone with one of her clients to explain the nuances of various policies he held and why he didn’t need a new one.

“I feel good that we’re not trying to sell somebody something they don't need,” she said.

An invitation to Summit’s annual partner conference in October helped to seal the deal.

“It gives you a good feeling about where you're going when there's a good fit with the other people, and why they made the choice,” Drossner explained. “And everything about the transition was even better than what they had promised.”

Summit Financial comprises five distinct business segments, its RIA and investment management units along with financial planning, insurance and technology, as well as an advisor services arm that handles things like marketing, practice management and retirement plans for partner firms. 

The firm has grown by 500% since 2017, according to CEO Stan Gregor. He attributes this to an alternatives platform he called “second-to-none,” a product catalog that’s “extremely broad from a due diligence standpoint,” and teams of in-house experts who are committed solely to Summit advisors and able to help them grow wallet share.

In addition to a handful of deals that closed in December and will be announced early this year, Summit has a full pipeline in 2024—including at least five or six transactions expected to close this quarter. At least one is a full acquisition, but most are minority investments in line with the SGP model.

“We're privileged to have gotten into partnerships with, I think, some of the most dynamic, smartest people in this business,” Gregor said.  “You'll hear about it over the coming weeks and months, but we had a great year as a business last year. We grew significantly and we're hoping 2024 is going to be a lot stronger.

“We signed more deals in December than we signed all year, frankly,” he added.

There are currently 24 partner firms on Summit’s ADV; approximately half came from the wirehouse channel, while the rest were already operating their own RIAs.

Work to add Goldman Sachs as a custodian alongside Fidelity, Schwab and Pershing is “moving along very nicely” and has already garnered commitments from “a number” of advisory teams, said Gregor. An announcement is expected by the end of the second quarter.

Summit Financial, which celebrates its 43rd birthday next month, serves approximately 4,400 clients across its RIA and platform, with close to $6.2 billion in advisory assets and $3.3 billion in brokerage assets with Purshe Kaplan Sterling.

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