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RIA Roundup: CI Financial Sells Stake in Boston RIA to Pay Down Debt

CI Financial says it will use the profits from selling a minority stake in $5 billion AUM Congress to pay down debt. Meanwhile, Captrust, Allworth Financial, Wealth Enhancement Group, Sanctuary Wealth and MAI announced transactions representing approximately $3.5 billion in assets this week.

CI Financial is selling its minority stake in Boston-based Congress Wealth Management to a private equity firm and Captrust Financial Advisors announced the addition of a $750 million AUM firm serving Big Four professionals this week. Meanwhile, Wealth Enhancement Group picked up local $1.1 billion AUM New Era; a $1 billion team joined Sanctuary from Merrill Lynch; Allworth Financial acquired a $506 million AUM Kansas firm; and MAI bought Weiner Financial in Washington, D.C.

A number of key hires were also announced, with Savvy adding a new founding class partner, Manhattan West hiring a managing director away from MAI, Moneta announcing a new vice president of M&A and Toews Asset Management bolstering its sales team.

In news reported earlier this week, Modern Wealth Management announced its first acquisition, a trio in Texas launched an RIA that will share profits with clients, and tru Independence added a $1 billion family office.

CI Financial Sells Stake in Congress Wealth to PE Firm Audax

CI Financial announced Thursday it reached an agreement to sell its stake in Congress Wealth Management, a Boston-headquartered registered investment advisor, to Audax Private Equity.

Led by President Paul Lonergan, Congress has offices in six other cities besides Boston. The firm manages around $5 billion in assets across more than 2,200 clients. CI took a minority stake in the third quarter of 2020 through CI Private Wealth, its U.S. wealth management subsidiary.

“CI’s investment in Congress was made almost three years ago, prior to the establishment of the CI Private Wealth differentiated private partnership model,” CI Financial CEO Kurt MacAlpine said in a statement. “To fully benefit from its features, only active contributors to the business can be CIPW Partners. Unfortunately, the ownership structure at Congress precludes it from fully integrating into CIPW. CI and Congress believe that minority ownership is not the best structure to maximize the client and employee experience, and that Audax will be an excellent partner to support the next chapter of growth for Congress.”

CI received a return of approximately three times its initial investment in Congress, according to Thursday’s announcement, and will use the proceeds from the transaction to pay down more than $4 billion in debt.

“The investment from CI was extremely productive and we are exiting on the best of terms,” said Lonergan. “In addition to finding a solution that works for our ownership, we are also eager to pursue additional M&A opportunities thanks to the backing from Audax Group.”

“Our partnership with Audax will enable Congress to accelerate both organic and inorganic growth by complementing Congress’s pipeline and relationships with Audax’ Buy & Build approach and resources,” Congress Chief Strategic Officer Scott Dell’Orfano said in a statement.

Congress has completed six acquisitions since 2019.

“As independent RIAs continue to attract clients across a fragmented and evolving wealth management landscape, we believe Congress represents a compelling platform to accelerate growth," said Audax Managing Partner Bill Allen.

The transaction is expected to close next month.

Since entering the U.S. wealth management sector in January 2020, Toronto-based CI Financial has acquired dozens of firms in the States. Today, CIPW oversees some $90 billion in assets across almost 80,000 client accounts.

In late 2022, CI Financial filed an S-1 with the SEC to take the U.S. company public and subsequently delisted the Canadian business from the New York Stock Exchange in January. CIPW will operate separately as a subsidiary of CI Financial, which will absorb all debt and cease spending on U.S. acquisitions.

Earlier this month, the firm announced the launch of CIPW Trust, chartered in South Dakota.

QA Wealth Management Joins Captrust 

Captrust Financial Advisors announced its acquisition of QA Wealth Management on Monday. 

Based in Minnetonka, Minn., QA provides financial advice, planning and investment management for individuals, with a focus on working with executives at the Big Four accounting firms.   

Founded by John Wing in 2000, QA is led by CEO Dan Westin. The acquisition adds a total of 23 new colleagues to Captrust and some $750 million in advisory assets across more than 2,100 clients.  

QA specializes in working with individuals employed by the Big Four accounting firms—Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and KPMG—and is building relationships with other large consulting firms, according to the announcement.  

“We deliver advice and planning tailored to the needs of Big Four partners across the country, including the selection of investments that comply with their firm’s independence programs,” Westin explained in a statement. 

“This was one of the best penetrated niches we have seen and one of the most sought after acquisition targets with whom we have worked in recent years,” said Dan Erichson, managing director at Park Sutton Advisors, a financial services–focused investment bank that advised QA on the transaction.

“Around 10 years ago they made a substantial pivot toward a financial planning led firm away from asset management, which has fueled their fast growth,” he noted, in an email. “They have deep inroads to the Big 4 and emerging inroads to consulting firms like Boston Consulting, Bain, and Accenture.” 

The rebranded QA team will more than double Captrust’s presence in the Minneapolis region, adding to existing offices in Minneapolis and Wayzata. The deal represents Captrust’s second acquisition of the year and 65th since 2006.

"We are thrilled to tap into the niche market of the Big Four partners that QA supports and to be building on our already significant presence in the Minneapolis region,” said Rush Benton, Captrust senior director of strategic growth.

Raleigh, N.C.–based Captrust currently employs more than 1,300 professionals overseeing more than $714 billion in discretionary and nondiscretionary assets from 75-plus offices nationwide.

In 2020, Captrust sold a 25% stake to private equity backer GTCR to support the firm’s inorganic growth plans and has since expanded assets by about 83%—from $390 billion in June 2020.

Wealth Enhancement Group Acquires New Era Financial Advisors

Minneapolis-based Wealth Enhancement Group has acquired New Era Financial Advisors, a hybrid RIA with locations in Wayzata and Hutchinson, Minn.

With six advisors and 11 support staff, the New Era team, led by Donald Warner, Grant Lindaman and Shad Ketcher, brings more than 2,700 clients with more than $1.1 billion in assets to WEG.

Founded in 1982 by Warner and Lindaman, the firm offers financial planning, asset and wealth management, and qualified retirement plan support to wealthy individuals.

“After four decades as a private, independent firm, the partners and advisors at New Era Financial are excited about joining forces with Wealth Enhancement Group, another well-respected Minnesota firm,” Warner said in a statement. “We feel our clients will greatly benefit from the additional services and resources Wealth Enhancement Group offers as a nationwide advisory firm.”

“[WEG CEO] Jeff Dekko and I have had the pleasure of knowing the New Era team for many years, and they are an outstanding group of professionals,” said Jim Cahn, WEG’s chief investments and business development officer. “We look forward to helping them begin a ‘new era’ here at Wealth Enhancement Group.”

Founded in 1997, WEG currently serves more than 49,000 households from 90 offices nationwide. The addition of New Era brings the firm to more than $66.5 billion in client, advisory, trust and brokerage assets.

Allworth Adds $506M McDaniel Knutson Financial Partners

Allworth Financial announced its 28th acquisition in five years with McDaniel Knutson Financial Partners, a $506 million AUM RIA based in Lawrence, Kan.

“The team approach and the dedication to their clients and staff is what most impressed us about the leadership of McDaniel Knutson,” said Allworth co-CEO and founder Scott Hanson. “These are precisely the kind of professionals we are seeking to help us in our quest to continue to build Allworth, and so my co-founder, Pat McClain, and myself, are excited to welcome all fourteen team members of McDaniel Knutson to the firm.”

McDaniel Knutson is Allworth’s fourth acquisition this year. The firm claimed around $14.9 billion in assets on its most recent Form ADV filing, across Allworth Financial, Redrock Wealth Management, Horseman Group and RAA.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Sanctuary Recruits $1B Chicago Team From Merrill Lynch

Burnham Harbor Private Wealth, a Chicago-area practice with $1 billion in client assets, left Merrill Lynch to launch independently on the Sanctuary Wealth platform.

Burnham Harbor comprises Managing Partners James Corrigan, David Holtkamp, Sean Jucas and Kenneth Shay, along with Wealth Associates Basel Alwawi and Cindy Hehr.

The Burnham Harbor team serves wealthy families, business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, doctors and physicians, professional athletes and philanthropists, according to Friday’s announcement. The team focuses on providing multigenerational families with financial guidance, legacy implementation, estate coordination, risk management strategies, retirement lifestyle continuation, tax minimization and transition counseling. 

“Theirs was a much sought after business,” Sanctuary President Vince Fertitta said in a statement. “When the team decided the confines of their current situation no longer fit their needs, they embarked on an 18-month due diligence process to find the best long-term solution for themselves and, more importantly, their clients.”

“While we knew we had outgrown the wirehouse, our team didn’t want to go out on our own,” said Corrigan. “In Sanctuary, we found a partner that provides the right balance of support, freedom, flexibility, and optionality we were looking for in a new home.”

“We’ll have more time to build relationships, while recommending the best solutions to help clients reach their goals, regardless of provider,” added Shay. “Sanctuary will allow us to be more creative in how we acquire clients or books of business, as well as how we staff our office and plan for internal succession.” 

An Indianapolis-based aggregator of independent wealth management firms founded in 2014, Sanctuary comprises 80 partner firms in 28 states overseeing around $25 billion in client assets across its subsidiaries—Sanctuary Advisors, an SEC-registered investment advisor, and Sanctuary Securities, a FINRA member broker/dealer, as well as Sanctuary Alternative Holdings, Sanctuary Asset Management, Sanctuary Insurance Solutions, Sanctuary Global and Sanctuary Global Family Office.

MAI Acquires Wiener Financial Management

MAI Capital Management, a Cleveland-based RIA serving high-net-worth business owners, entrepreneurs, families, entertainers and athletes, has acquired Wiener Financial Management in Potomac, Md.

Founded in 1995 by Bruce Wiener, WFM has an established reputation in the Washington, D.C., area, providing comprehensive financial and retirement planning and investment management services for HNW individuals and families.

Prior to launching WFM, Wiener practiced law in the region for 14 years. At MAI, he will assume the titles of senior wealth advisor and managing director.

“Wiener Financial Management adds depth to our existing mid-Atlantic team and complements MAI’s client-focused approach to meeting the needs of our clients,” MAI Regional President Steve Trax said in a statement.

WFM joined MAI effective April 21, becoming the firm’s 28th acquisition and adding approximately $120 million in assets under management across 117 clients.

Majority owned by Galway Holdings and led by Managing Partner Rick Buoncore, MAI manages around $16.4 billion in client assets from 23 offices nationwide.

Savvy Adds Advisor Brent Boden as Recruiting Spree Continues  

Savvy Wealth, a New York–based RIA, announced Wednesday that Brent Boden has joined the firm as a principal wealth manager.

Located in Cincinnati, Boden has more than 15 years of investment and insurance experience. He expects to leverage Savvy’s proprietary technology and marketing automation to streamline operations, improve client experience and scale his practice, according to the announcement.

Boden was previously a vice president and regional manager at Stock Yards Bank & Trust. He brings more than $40 million in assets under management to Savvy and is focused on serving a niche clientele of medical professionals.

“I am passionate about setting medical professionals up for success by helping them navigate the financial complexities of residency budgeting, loan repayment and managing income after years of intense schooling,” Boden said in a statement. “Savvy’s technology arms me with everything I need to keep the process straightforward and painless, offering a consolidated financial picture for each and every one of my clients.”

The addition of Boden comes less than a month after Savvy introduced a new direct indexing tool and follows an $11 million venture capital raise, announced in November, which brought the firm to $18 million in new funding in less than a year.

Savvy has been actively recruiting advisors since its founding in 2021, offering incentives, including equity ownership. Boden is the sixth to join the firm, which now claims more than $100 million in AUM.

Former MAI Advisor Jumps to Manhattan West as Managing Director

Manhattan West, a Los Angeles–based wealth management and alternative investments firm with $737 million in client assets, has hired Patrick McDonald as managing director and financial advisor.

Based in Orange County, Calif., McDonald joins from MAI Capital Management, where he managed tax and retirement planning for small-business owners and wealthy clients as a director at the firm. Prior to that, he spent more than five years as an associate in Goldman Sachs’ executive counseling division, providing tax prep, wealth transfer and investment management services to corporate executive and wealthy families.

According to Wednesday’s announcement, McDonald will use his tax and estate expertise to provide a client base of corporate executives, business owners and HNW clients at Manhattan West with comprehensive financial planning services.

“I was immediately drawn to Manhattan West’s uniquely integrated private wealth platform that provides a ‘one-stop-shop' of wealth management services and investments,” McDonald said in a statement. “As part of the Manhattan West team, I expect my clients will greatly benefit from our top-tier tax, alternatives, and business management teams, which will help me better serve their unique needs.”

Launched in 2016 with traditional liquid portfolios, Manhattan West has added insurance, business management and tax services, as well as access to alternative investment strategies in private equity, venture capital, real estate and private debt.  

Moneta Hires New VP of M&A

St. Louis–based RIA Moneta has hired Shawn Paulk as the firm’s new vice president of mergers and acquisitions as it builds on a new inorganic growth strategy.

After expanding into four new locations over the past four years, Paulk’s hire is the latest step in Moneta’s national growth plan, according to the announcement.

A wholly partner-owned and fee-only firm providing advice through its RIA, Moneta began building out its platform of internal business services in 2017 to safeguard the firm’s independence and support growth in new markets.

In 2019, the firm celebrated its 30th anniversary as a single office by announcing its first merger and a new office in Denver. By 2022, the firm had established locations in the Kansas City, Boston and Chicago markets.

Moneta grew AUM from $16.1 billion at the end of 2016 to $30.6 billion at the end of 2022.

“We solved the equation of succession and scale for ourselves,” President and COO Keith Bowles said in a statement. “Along that journey, we realized the impact this could have for other RIAs and the opportunity that we had to expand nationally outside of our existing teams.”

Paulk spent more than 12 years as head of distribution for Knowledge Leaders Capital, a Denver-based RIA focused on investment management, following almost seven years with TIAA-CREF Asset Management and a brief stint as founder and CEO of his own firm. He will leverage a network of advisor relationships developed over 20-plus years of industry experience to advance Moneta’s M&A process, according to Monday’s announcement.

Toews Asset Management Appoints New Head of Strategic Partnerships

Toews Asset Management, a boutique RIA with $1.9 billion in assets, announced the appointment of Cory Kendall as its new managing director of strategic partnerships.

The addition of Kendall to Toews' sales leadership team will build on the firm’s current trajectory and support growth, according to the announcement.

"The Toews team has an incredible track record of success and I look forward to helping them unlock the next stage of their growth,” Kendall said in a statement. “The firm’s unique approach to risk management resonates well with investors and advisors, but I believe that I can bring an additional level of sales knowledge to help expand their network, support existing clients and advisors further and develop key partnerships."

With more than two decades of sales leadership experience in financial services, Kendall joins Toews from CK Consulting, where he was a fintech and sales strategy consultant following stints as executive vice president of sales for The Pacific Financial Group and RiskPro and more than 12 years with Orion Portfolio Solutions.

"Cory’s solid reputation and long-standing industry relationships complement our leadership team’s existing strengths,” said Phillip Toews, CEO of Toews Asset Management. “With his wealth of expertise in building wholesale networks and curating partnerships, we are confident that he will help us expand our reach and continue delivering Toews' strategies.”

Founded in 1994, New York–based Toews takes a risk-managed approach to investing. The firm builds portfolios designed to track market indexes while they’re rising and deploys loss-avoidance strategies, including options and price-reactive algorithms, when the markets are falling.

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