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Peter Raimondi
Dakota Wealth Management founder Peter Raimondi

RIA Roundup: Dakota Wealth Management Grows to $3.8B with Jonathan D. Pond Acquisition

Dakota Wealth, Mariner, Paragon, Cetera, tru Independence and Osaic all added advisors this week, while Berthel Fisher and Dynasty Financial Partners announced some executive changes.

Dakota Wealth Management has grown assets to $3.8 billion with the addition of Jonathan D. Pond and Mariner Wealth Advisors has added its 94th location with an acquisition in the Pacific Northwest, while Paragon Financial jumped to Commonwealth from LPL Financial, Anne Crabbe returned to Cetera from Park Avenue Securities, tru Independence firm Elevatus added its first recruit from Merrill Lynch and Greg Diamond chose to affiliate with Osaic.

Berthel Fisher also announced that its founder is stepping down as CEO of the RIA, two broker/dealers and an insurance agency while remaining at the head of the parent holding company and Dynasty Financial Partners has named its Executive-in-Residence Andrew Marsh as vice chairman and elevated a number of other individuals to executive roles.

In earlier reported news, Cetera is buying Avantax, Homrich Berg’s remaining founder is stepping back from his role as CEO and Joe Duran is launching a new partnership platform early next year.

Dakota Wealth Management Grows to $3.8B with Jonathan D. Pond Acquisition

Dakota Wealth Management, created about five years ago by Peter Raimondi—who previously founded Banyan Partners and The Colony Group—has grown assets to around 3.8 billion with the acquisition of Jonathan D. Pond’s eponymous RIA.

An Emmy Award-winning television personality and published author considered a pioneer in providing financial education to the masses, Pond founded his firm in 1987 and is joining Dakota as a managing director with approximately $350 million in assets under management. He is joined by Nicolé Keane, who is taking on the roles of director and senior wealth advisor at Dakota, and John Annino, who handles administration, investment research and portfolio oversight.

"Jonathan has built an exceptional team centered around highly effective wealth management solutions for their clients," Raimondi said in a statement.

Founded by Raimondi in 2018 with about $600 million in AUM, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based Dakota has grown organically and through acquisitions, adding a $575 million AUM team in June. The firm now has 14 office locations in 11 states, with about 60 employees­—nearly 80% of whom are equity owners. Backed by a minority investment from Emigrant Partners, this latest acquisition establishes its third Massachusetts location in the greater Boston area.

The firm offers investment advice and management and financial planning, with a niche focus on divorce planning. Tax services are provided through affiliate Dakota Tax Services, and trust and estate planning services are made available through a partnership with a Boston-based law firm.

“It's one thing to say that clients always come first, but quite another to incorporate that in the daily Dakota ethos," said Pond. "We found their advisors and administrators to be true professionals in the business of making a positive difference in people's lives. It's a true synergy, and we are delighted to join them."

"We were particularly struck by Dakota's multi-generational expertise," added Keane. "Both current clients and the younger members of their families will benefit from our ability to expand and tailor our financial planning offerings."

Mariner Wealth Advisors Acquires Klevens Capital Management 

Mariner Wealth Advisors has added its 94th location with the acquisition of Klevens Capital Management in Kirkland, Wash., along with $300 million in client assets and a team of four led by John Klevens.

Founded in 2005, Klevens provides wealth, retirement and estate planning, investment advice and cash flow management services for more than 250 client households, with a specialty serving retirees. The firm expects to take advantage of Mariner’s capabilities around trust, insurance and tax services, according to an announcement on its new website.

Klevens officially joined Mariner on Sept. 1 and adopted the Mariner Wealth Advisors brand, establishing Mariner’s second office in Washington state. The firm expects to announce “several” more deals before the end of the year. Founded in 2006 with $300 million in assets, Overland Park, Kan.-based Mariner and its affiliates now oversee more than $114 billion in managed and advised assets.

Advisor Growth Strategies and Brandon Kawal served as the investment bank and strategic advisor to Klevens Capital Management in the transaction.

Paragon Financial Joins Commonwealth from LPL

Commonwealth Financial Network, a Boston-based hybrid partnership platform overseeing some $243 billion in client assets, has added Paragon Financial in Asheville, N.C.

Partners Dana Graves, David Hart and Kelly Roark, along with advisors Luke Graves and Bobby Yount and sales assistants Janet Byas and Michelle Cox are bringing more than $324 million in client assets with them from LPL Financial after nearly two decades with the institution.

“Our decision to make a move was not a sudden one. As we considered our options, we kept coming back to Commonwealth,” Graves said in a statement. “They listened to us and truly understood how we do business.”

Paragon plans to leverage Commonwealth’s in-house marketing support to reach new clients.

Privately held since its founding in 1979, Commonwealth comprises more than 2,100 advisors across more than 1,500 offices. Approximately 60% of the firm’s total assets are managed under its RIA.

Anne Crabbe Returns to Cetera from Park Avenue Securities

Anne Crabbe has joined Cetera Advisor Networks though Cetera Wealth Partners, the $341 billion AUA company announced Thursday.

Based in Paso Robles, Calif., Crabbe was most recently affiliated with Park Avenue Securities, overseeing more than $102 million in assets.

“I can think of no better place than Cetera Wealth Partners to focus on taking our business to the next level,” Crabbe said in a statement, noting that she spent 14 years with Cetera Partners before moving to Park Avenue in 2021.

“I’m thrilled to be back under the umbrella with this group of like-minded and talented advisors,” she said.

Cetera Wealth Partners was created in 2021 through the acquisition of assets from Voya Financial Advisors and represents a region of Cetera Advisor Networks. Across all entities, Cetera Financial Group is home to more than 8,000 advisors with $121 billion in assets under management and another $220 billion under advisement.

tru Independence Partner Elevatus Wealth Recruits Merrill Lynch Advisor in 1st Deal

tru Independence, a Portland, Ore.-based RIA partnership platform with about $12 billion in cumulative assets, has announced the addition of Peter Newman as the eighth team member with partner firm Elevatus Wealth Management.

Joining Elevatus as a senior wealth advisor from Merrill Lynch, where he spent nine years and held the roles of senior financial advisor and first vice president, Newman has dropped his brokerage license in the move. Prior to Merrill, Newman spent time with brokerage firms CLSA Americas, Caris & Company and Prudential Securities, as well as about a decade split between investment banks Thomas Weisel Partners and Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co.

“Peter’s view on client service and being a fiduciary aligned with ours perfectly,” Elevatus co-founder and Senior Wealth Manager Daniel Hare said in a statement. “We fully expect Peter to be the first of many advisors to join us.”

“My decision to join Elevatus was driven by a need for a business platform to manage our clients' increasingly complex needs,” said Newman. Citing the firm's business model, platform and strategic partnerships, he said he expects the partnership to “benefit my clients significantly.”

Three years old and with more than $220 million in assets under management, Elevatus serves more than 600 individuals, including almost 400 ultra-high-net-worth clients, as well as eight corporations and two retirement plans, per a recent Form ADV.

Greg Diamond and GCD Advisors Affiliates Brokerage with Osaic

A dually registered advisor in Lincolnshire, Ill. has moved his brokerage business and $150 million in client assets to Osaic after a dozen years with Ausdale Financial Partners, the firm announced.

Greg Diamond joined Osaic under its Woodbury Financial Services business and is working with Adam Schwartz, who has been with Osaic-affiliated MGFS since departing AssetMark in 2019. According to SEC filings, Diamond will continue to offer advice under his own RIA, GCD Advisors.

Founded in 1965, GDC comprises a team of five led by Diamond and Neil Cohen, both CPAs, providing investment services, tax management, financial planning, estate management and philanthropic services to families and small business owners. Cohen, who is also a registered investment advisor, doesn’t maintain a brokerage affiliation.

"By partnering with Adam and Osaic, GCD will be positioned to grow our business, provide even better services to our clients and attract other like-minded advisors who are looking to join a firm focused on the future," Diamond said in a statement. "I have known and respected Adam for years and am excited to work with him and his team to bring their decades of leadership in investment, wealth management and business consulting to our clients."

Formerly Advisor Group, Osaic rebranded earlier this year and is currently undergoing a massive unification of its seven subsidiary businesses, including Woodbury, to be completed over the next two years. The sprawling Osaic network comprises some 11,000 financial professionals overseeing more than $550 billion in cumulative client assets.

Berthel Fisher Names New CEO of RIA, B/Ds and Insurance Agency

Berthel Fisher co-founder Tom Berthel is stepping away from his role as CEO of the companies owned by Berthel Fisher Holding Company and tapping COO Andrew Christofferson to assume leadership of the RIA, two independent broker/dealers and an insurance agency.

Berthel will continue to act as president, CEO and chair of the holding company, with a focus on capitalization and “strategic initiatives,” according to an announcement.

Meanwhile, three other executive promotions to roles overseeing the subsidiary businesses were announced, including Paige Swartzendruber as chief business development officer, Brian Rupp as treasurer and CFO, and Joanna Schaul as chief administrative officer.

"I am thrilled that Andy is taking over as my successor in overseeing day-to-day operations of our subsidiaries, and I congratulate Paige, Brian and Joanna on their promotions," Berthel said in a statement. "These moves have been in the works for some time, so I'm proud that this day has finally come and relieved that our financial professionals will be in great hands going forward.

“The appointments enable me to accelerate Berthel Fisher's long-term growth plans while giving me the opportunity to closely collaborate with the senior leadership team going forward," he said.  

Founded in 1985 by Berthel, Fred Fisher and Terry Fleischman, the expanded ecosystem now supports more than 360 financial professionals with some $9.8 billion in assets under advisement, including $1.5 billion under management,

"All of us look forward to continuing to work with Tom closely as he focuses on other strategic priorities for the company, as well as to building upon his impressive legacy,” said Christofferson.

Dynasty Financial Partners Appoints Andrew Marsh Vice Chairman

Dynasty Financial Partners has named Andrew Marsh as vice chairman of the firm’s partnership platform, reporting to CEO and founder Shirl Penney. Marsh first joined Dynasty in April of this year as its first executive in residence, having founded and run a firm in Canada called Richardson Wealth that managed more than $30 billion before going public in 2020.

Since April, Marsh has been working closely with Dynasty’s advisor-to-CEO program, a professional development initiative that offers content and coaching tailored for prospective executives.

In his new role, Marsh will oversee strategic business reviews, coordinate corporate development opportunities, and assist with the onboarding and expansion of acquired RIAs, according to an announcement. He will also manage the firm’s ‘Breakaway Advisor’ and ‘Existing RIAs’ sales channels, as well as end client sales through Dynasty Connect.

In addition to Marsh, Dynasty announced a host of other executive appointments, including Angela Gingras as chief operating officer; Samantha Sullivan as director of operations; Leslie Dentinger as deputy chief technology officer; Stacy Costner as chief compliance officer; Gordon Ross as chief client officer and Jennifer Dorgan as chief administration officer. Ron Insana joined the company in July in the newly created role of chief market strategist.

“Combined with our recent capital raise and fresh perspectives from additions to our board of directors, Dynasty is well-positioned to achieve even more success with a pristine balance sheet, top talent, and a strong roadmap of innovation leading the charge,” Penney said in a statement.

Dynasty currently supports 52 RIAs representing 330 advisors, with more than $80 billion on its technology platform. The firm launched Dynasty Investment Bank in early May, in a bid to offer M&A support to firms outside its existing network and gain access to more deal flow information.

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