This week, private equity–backed Atria Wealth Solutions announced plans to acquire Grove Point Financial, a Kestra Holdings subsidiary with $15 billion in client assets.
In other M&A news, Aristotle Capital Management has acquired Pacific Life’s $21 billion asset management business; Integrated Wealth has joined Carson in Kansas; Steward Partners has added its first office in Southern California with The Valencia Group; and Fortis Capital Advisors has expanded into Oregon. Meanwhile KMJ Financial Group jumped to Commonwealth from American Portfolios, and a father-son team left Edward Jones to launch Ellicott Mills Wealth Management with Ameriprise.
In news reported earlier this week, Beacon Pointe moved into New York with the acquisition of YorkBridge Wealth Partners with offices in New York City and Long Island, and Sanctuary hired a new chief legal officer away from Carson and reinstalled a former CCO.
Atria Wealth Buys Kestra’s Grove Point Financial
Atria Wealth Solutions, a Lee Equity Partners–backed wealth management holding company launched in 2017 by former Morgan Stanley executive Doug Ketterer, will acquire Grove Point Financial from Kestra Holdings in a deal expected to close in the second half of 2023.
Founded in 1984 as H. Beck, Grove Point was acquired by Kestra in 2017 and rebranded in 2021. Based in Rockville, Md., the hybrid broker/dealer and RIA serves approximately 400 independent financial professionals with $15 billion in client assets.
“Kestra has been a great partner for what we were at the time,” said Grove Point President Michelle Barry. “With Atria, which has a deep relationship with some of our strategic vendors like Pershing and Envestnet—where we have a lot of business that's shared and strategic product sponsors—we feel like they can really give us the scale to support our advisors with more advisor-facing services on those platforms.”
Atria boasts a number of proprietary tech platforms, including Unio, an integrated technology platform for financial professionals that was a Wealthies finalist for its transition support capabilities; a client portal called Clear1; and Contour, a fee-based advisory platform that offers everything from processing and rebalancing to research, portfolio construction and billing.
“Both firms have similar cultures; we have very similar financial professional styles and demographics, and very similar relationships,” said Ketterer. “It’s accretive across the board. It's leverage. It's not about what they weren't getting, it's about what they will get and lifting all boats.”
Due to existing and overlapping custody and clearing relationships, he noted, no repapering will be necessary for Grove Point clients.
Atria will acquire 100% of Grove Point and its subsidiaries Grove Point Investments and Grove Point Advisors, bringing the holding company to 2,700 financial professionals with around $115 billion in client assets.
Headquartered in New York City, Atria’s subsidiaries include SCF Securities, CUSO Financial, Cadaret Grant, Western International Securities and NEXT Financial.
Aristotle Acquires Pacific Asset Management
Aristotle Capital Management announced it had acquired Pacific Asset Management from Pacific Life Insurance Company, with around $21 billion in client assets and expertise in liquid credit investments.
Pacific Asset Management has been rebranded Aristotle Pacific Capital and will continue to operate with its existing investment team, led by CEO Dominic Nolan.
Aristotle also announced the reorganization of certain Pacific mutual funds into new Aristotle funds, following approval by shareholders of those funds. A newly formed Aristotle affiliate, Aristotle Investment Services, will administer and advise on the reorganized funds.
The acquisition and reorganization, completed on April 17, add 50 professionals and expand Aristotle’s suite of investment opportunities, while bringing the firm and its affiliates to more than $77 billion in assets under management.
“The completion of this initiative is a significant step in Aristotle’s client-centric strategy, expanding our credit offerings and enabling us to offer a broader range of investment solutions to our clients,” Aristotle Chairman Richard Hollander said, in a statement.
Pacific Life will maintain a minority stake in Aristotle and extend its partnership with the firm. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Aristotle affiliates include five registered investment advisor teams specializing in equity and fixed income strategies, with offices in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, Calif., Boston, Mass., and Sarasota, Fla.
Kansas-Based Integrated Wealth Joins Carson
Carson Wealth announced a partnership with Overland Park, Kan.–based Integrated Wealth. The deal, which includes an equity stake in Carson, will provide Integrated with the resources to better serve clients and facilitate growth, according to the announcement.
Integrated brings $400 million in assets under management to Carson, serving more than 250 families in 30 states. The firm has rebranded as Carson Wealth, becoming the 46th Carson location in the United States and the first in Kansas.
Founded by Jack Lindsey in 1984, the existing Integrated team comprises three advisors, including Craig Splan, Tray Wiltse and Bill Day, and three operational staff, including Katie Hampton, Kim Roberts and Vincent Long.
“With this equity deal, Integrated Wealth will be able to tap into Carson’s ecosystem of cutting-edge technology and investments offerings to provide a superior client experience, as well as have access to an expanded team and set of resources that will allow them to run more efficiently and continue to grow,” Carson’s Managing Partner of Wealth Solutions Jamie Hopkins said, in a statement.
“We met with the Carson team and were blown away by what they had to offer,” said Wiltse. “Not only were they growth focused, but they were way ahead of anyone else in their technology offerings. We saw that they had everything that was needed to take a firm like ours from $400 million to $1 billion.”
With this latest acquisition, Carson oversees some $20 billion in assets for more than 35,500 clients.
Echelon Partners advised Integrated on the transaction.
Steward Partners Establishes 39th Office With Addition of UBS Group
Steward Partners Global Advisory, an employee-owned and private equity–backed hybrid RIA partnership based in New York City, has added its first partner firm in Southern California.
The Valencia Group at Steward Partners in Valencia, Calif., includes James Forsyth and Steven Miller, dually registered managing directors and wealth managers with some $200 million in client assets. Prior to joining Steward, the pair spent 11 years at UBS following more than a decade with Morgan Stanley, where they joined forces in 2000.
“We did extensive due diligence before deciding to join Steward,” Miller said, in a statement. “The idea of being a partner with equity in the company and still being able to run our practice the way we want, with an emphasis on financial planning and access to a wide range of investment sources, was very appealing.”
“We work a lot with alternative investments and having the ability to access multiple platforms, whether it’s BNY Mellon | Pershing or Raymond James, depending on the client’s needs, was extremely attractive to us,” said Forsyth.
Launched in 2013, Steward has become one of the fastest-growing RIAs in the nation, primarily through the recruitment of wirehouse advisors.
Cynosure Group took a minority stake in 2019, becoming Steward’s first private equity backer. In 2021, The Pritzker Organization invested $100 million, and Steward added a 1099 affiliation model. The same year, the firm purchased Umpqua Investments, bringing brokerage in-house, allowing multiple custodian relationships and expanding investment opportunities.
In the fall of 2022, the firm secured a $140 million credit facility led by alternative investment firm Apogem Capital, to fund ongoing recruitment and platform investments, while adding new custodial partners.
With more than $25 billion in client assets, Steward has plans to double in size over the next three years, add RIA-only capabilities and pursue more M&A opportunities.
Fortis Capital Advisors Expands to the Pacific Northwest
Fortis Capital Advisors, an emerging RIA platform based in the Kansas City area, announced it has expanded its national footprint with the addition of Matt Joyner, a financial advisor in Portland, Ore.
"We had a goal of expanding to the Pacific Northwest region, and Matt was the advisor we wanted to anchor the new market," Fortis CEO Rob Hagg said, in a statement. "Matt has a deeply rooted philosophy of comprehensive investment management, strong tax planning and building strong client-advisor relationships, which are all perfectly aligned with the values of Fortis Capital Advisors.”
Fortis was founded in 2020 with the intention of becoming a national platform firm, providing technology, resources and compliance and back-office support to RIAs seeking accelerated growth. Affiliated advisors offer investment advice and retirement, insurance, estate and distribution planning, according to the firm’s website, as well as cash flow and risk management.
Per a Form ADV filed in late March, the firm oversees more than $245 million for around 370 clients across six partner firms.
"Fortis represents a new generation of wealth management and was the right firm to join with,” said Joyner. "It was clear from my initial meetings with Rob and the Fortis team that there is an incredibly strong cultural alignment and deep commitment to clients."
Joyner previously served as vice president at Denver-based Personal Capital, now Empower Personal Wealth. Prior to that, he spent five years with Fisher Investments in Camas, Wash.
“Since Matt joined our firm, we have seen more and more interest in firms looking to continue their growth with Fortis Capital," said Hagg.
KMJ Financial Group Jumps to Commonwealth
Commonwealth Financial Network, a Waltham Mass.–based independent broker/dealer and RIA with more than 2,100 independent financial advisors overseeing around $243 billion in client assets, announced the addition of KMJ Financial Group in Whitehall, Pa.
Formerly with American Portfolios, an affiliate of Advisor Group, managing partners Kirk Brown and Jake Ruggles, along with wealth advisor Dan Fratantoro, bring more than $121 million in client assets to Commonwealth.
Founded more than two decades ago, KMJ provides accumulation, retirement, estate and business planning services, as well as tax services through a separate entity.
“Being able to integrate our clients’ financial and tax planning is a great benefit to them and a true differentiator for our firm,” Ruggles said, in a statement. “Commonwealth’s technology is a game changer that will help us better scale our business, allowing us to take on more clients in our community, including children of existing clients who can benefit from our services.”
KMJ expects to benefit from Commonwealth’s integrated technology, investment management and research capabilities and reasonable costs, according to Tuesday’s announcement, and will encourage the firm’s tax-only clients to take advantage of the expanded services.
At its National 2022 conference in November, Commonwealth announced the intention to grow to $1 trillion in assets as it establishes itself as a national RIA.
Father-Son Duo Joins Ameriprise With $330M in Assets
Father-son team Harry Slade III and Harry Slade IV have joined the branch channel of Ameriprise Financial from Edward Jones with around $330 million in managed assets.
Joined by three client associates and based in Ellicott City, Md., the dually registered, fourth-generation practice will now operate as Ellicott Mills Wealth Management.
“We’ve always had an eye on the future and wanted more control and flexibility in how we manage our business,” Slade III said, in a statement. “Switching firms was not a decision we took lightly, but, ultimately, Ameriprise was the right choice to support our vision.”
“We’re particularly excited about the opportunity to provide customized financial planning and advice for clients of all asset levels,” said Slade IV. “The fully integrated technology suite at Ameriprise streamlines many of our day-to-day administrative tasks, freeing up our time to go deeper with clients and help them navigate the complexities within their financial situations—ultimately positioning us to provide a more tailored and impactful level of service.”
The team will move into a new branch office in the Ellicott City area, supported by Ameriprise complex director Ed Eckenroad and branch manager Karen Burkhart.
“We’re always looking to add quality advisors who are passionate about their work, and the clients and communities they serve—and that’s this father-and-son team to a tee,” said Burkhart. “By joining Ameriprise, they are able to work as true partners, which is key to serving their clients for years to come.”
Ameriprise ended the fourth quarter of 2022 with $758 billion in assets under its advice and wealth management division and $584 billion under its asset management division, according to a Q4 report—down 12% and 23% from the previous year, respectively.
According to Monday’s announcement, 1,700 financial advisors have joined the platform over the past five years.