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RIA Edge Roundup: No Holiday for RIA M&A

As one year ended and another began, RIA acquirers didn’t miss a beat.

In the first week of the new year, active acquirers in the registered investment advisor space announced a spate of new transactions. Some got done last year, but others closed this week or are slated for this quarter. Not a comprehensive list, these deals may indicate the RIA M&A market will remain vigorous in 2023.

Prime Capital Investment Advisors Acquires Four Firms in One Month

Prime Capital Investment Advisors closed its first deal of the year on Jan. 3 with the acquisition of Stonnington Group, a Pasadena, Calif.–based registered investment advisor with $575 million in client assets. The purchase comes on the heels of a busy December, during which PCIA completed three transactions and added a combined AUM of $2.1 billion, SRI expertise and remote capabilities.

The 2023 acquisition expands PCIA’s Southern California footprint while adding 275 clients and five new employees, including President Nick Stonnington. The firm, which will retain its own branding, prioritizes active asset management and execution in its service model.

“The partnership with PCIA will open our collective team’s capabilities, expertise and deep resources to further benefit our clients here in Southern California as well as support other PCIA clients across the country,” said Stonnington.

“Stonnington Group is a multigenerational firm that operates with a whole-team approach that aligns well with Prime Capital,” said PCIA CEO Glenn Spencer. “Nick and his team have proven their ability to deliver great client service and grow their business.”

In December, PCIA picked up $1.75B AUM Liberty Wealth Advisors, with 15 employees across nine states and a remote service offering. A week later, Professional Financial Services and Earth Equity Advisors were each acquired—with $185 million and $151 million in assets, respectively.

PFS brought PCIA’s presence to the Sioux Falls, S.D., region, and Earth Equity expanded capabilities in the sustainable, responsible and impact investing space.

“We strive to provide our clients with strategies that align with their goals and lives,” said Spencer. “As leaders in the SRI space, Earth Equity will accelerate our efforts and enable us to provide clients with access to responsible investing options.”

PCIA currently has 51 locations throughout the United States and oversees around $17.3 billion in client assets as of Jan. 4, 2023.

Carnegie Investment Counsel Buys RiverStone Wealth Management

Carnegie Investment Counsel announced the acquisition of RiverStone Wealth Management in Wexford, Penn. The deal, which closed last year, added $230 million to the Cleveland-based RIA.

Established in 2008, RiverStone specializes in providing customized wealth management solutions to individuals, families and retirement plans. The firm was represented in the transaction by InCap Group, a boutique investment banking firm for the financial services industry.

Carnegie got its start in 1974, when it was originally founded by investment firm Prescott, Ball & Turben. The company serves a national client base of individuals, families, nonprofits, foundations and endowments, as well as retirement plan sponsors. It now oversees more than $3.5 billion in client assets through its RIA and advises on $400 million through its retirement plan division via offices in Cincinnati; Fort Myers, Fla.; Los Angeles; New York City; Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; and Toledo, Ohio.

“We are all excited for our partnership with Carnegie Investment Counsel,” said RiverStone co-founder Wes Creese. “Each interaction with the Carnegie leadership team confirmed that our organizations were not only a strong cultural fit, but our approach to serving clients was similar as well.”

EP Wealth Advisors Continues NE Expansion With Maine-based Cribstone Capital

EP Wealth Advisors closed its sixth and final deal of 2022 on Dec. 31 with the acquisition of Cribstone Capital, a $357 million AUM firm with two locations in Maine. The Cribstone team is the third EP has added on the East Coast since making its first move in the region last September.

Established in 2015, Cribstone was led by Scott Upham and Jeff Burch, who both now serve as partners and regional directors for EP, along with Amyn Moolji, now a managing director on EP Wealth’s Portfolio Strategy team. They are joined by three other team members, bringing EP’s total employee base to around 330. Financial and legal terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Cribstone has been built on a foundation similar to EP Wealth and is focused on delivering personal, purposeful plans across the client spectrum,” stated EP CEO Patrick Goshtigian. “Scott, Jeff and their team share EP Wealth’s focus on delivering plans for financial health to clients, as well as a platform for growth and development for employees. They are a welcome addition as we continue to expand our geographic footprint while providing exceptional local service.”

Cribstone expects to leverage EP’s resources in planning, tax, estate, portfolio strategy, investment and technology “to help set the stage for growth beyond Maine to New Hampshire and Vermont,” according to an announcement.

“Joining together seemed like a natural progression for our firm and a great opportunity for our current and future clients,” said Upham.

“The additional depth and breadth of resources and services will allow us to focus on and enhance our client services and broaden our reach in Maine and throughout the region,” added Burch.

Based in the greater Los Angeles area, EP was founded in 2004 and is backed by Berkshire Partners, a private equity firm in Boston. After taking a minority investment from Wealth Partners Capital Group in 2017, the firm embarked on a national inorganic strategy, acquiring firms in California, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Utah, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and, now, Maine. EP currently oversees more than $15 billion in client assets.

“The established relationships and shared goals between Cribstone and EP made this a strong and seamless pairing,” said Nick Trepp, principal at WPCG. “EP’s acquisition of Cribstone strengthens its presence in the Northeast, exemplifying EP’s thoughtful and tactical growth strategy throughout the years.”


Parallel Advisors to Accelerate M&A With Recapitalization

Bay Area–based Parallel Advisors has acquired AUTUS Asset Management in Scottsdale, Ariz., along with a “substantial investment” from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. Emigrant Partners, a minority investor in both Parallel and AUTUS, has exited its position in the combined company.

Founded in 2006 and led by CEO C.J. Rendic, Parallel serves high-net-worth individuals and pension/profit-sharing plans across advisory, wealth planning, operations and investment teams, deploying a holistic wealth management approach and team-oriented services platform. The Golden Gate investment will allow the firm to accelerate its M&A strategy and organic growth opportunities, according to an announcement.

AUTUS is a boutique asset management firm with approximately $900 million in AUM. The firm provides personalized wealth management services to HNW individuals, families and endowments.

Republic Capital Group, an investment banking firm specializing in the RIA, asset and wealth management, and securities-related industries, supported AUTUS through the acquisition and Parallel through the subsequent capitalization process.

"Parallel Advisors, AUTUS Asset Management, and Golden Gate Capital are all excellent firms,” said John Langston, managing partner at Republic Capital Group. “Having the opportunity to bring the three of them together was exciting and we appreciate their partnership and trust throughout this process.”

The AUTUS acquisition closed on Dec. 30, 2022. Financial terms of either transaction are not being disclosed.

Dakota Wealth Management Receives Minority Investment From Emigrant Partners

After exiting its partnership with Parallel Advisors, Emigrant Partners has entered into another with Dakota Wealth Management in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Under the agreement, Emigrant is making a minority, nonvoting investment in the growing firm. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2018 by Peter Raimondi, Dakota provides investment management, wealth and estate planning, and tax-planning services to more than 1,700 clients. Since inception, the firm has completed seven acquisitions and several advisor tuck-ins. A least some of the capital will support future inorganic growth opportunities, according to an announcement.

"At this stage of our development, we made a decision to take on a partner that could help us with our current and future capital needs as well as work closely with us to execute our strategic initiatives at a faster rate than we could on our own,” said Raimondi.

"Dakota has built and scaled an impressive and differentiated wealth management platform in under five years," said Karl Heckenberg, CEO and president of Emigrant Partners. "We look forward to collaborating with Dakota's talented senior management team to help them achieve their growth objectives."

Buckingham Strategic Wealth to Buy Oxford Financial Partners

Focus Financial Partners announced this week that it has entered into an agreement in which partner firm Buckingham Strategic Wealth will buy Oxford Financial Partners, a Cincinnati-based registered investment advisor with approximately $278 million in assets under management.  

Oxford Financial Partners is a wealth management firm offering financial planning and investment advice to primarily HNW individuals.

“By joining Buckingham, we can draw from their expansive resources, talent and national footprint to positively impact the lives of our clients now and in the future, all while retaining the personalization of a local firm,” said Oxford Managing Member Erik Christman.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to conditions, at which time the Oxford Financial Partners team will join Buckingham, establishing the firm's first office in Cincinnati.

"We look forward to leveraging our operational scale to add to their high-touch wealth management experience and to establishing our footprint in the metro Cincinnati area and beyond," said Buckingham CEO Adam Birenbaum.

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