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RIA Roundup: Hightower’s TC Wealth Partners Adds $800M Chicago Firm

Hightower and Wealth Enhancement Group added AUM this week, and new executives were named at Arkadios Capital and Kornitzer Capital Management.

Merger and acquisition activity seemed to slow a bit in the RIA space this week, but some deals got done and growth hires were made. Hightower facilitated a merger, Wealth Enhancement Group added a new East Coast firm, Kornitzer Capital Management named two new executives, and Arkadios Capital has hired a director of corporate strategy.

Hightower Facilitates Merger Between TC Wealth Partners and EFG Advisors

Hightower announced this week that it has facilitated a merger between two Chicago-based RIAs, TC Wealth Partners and EFG Advisors.

EFG, which has approximately $800 million in assets under management, is led by Thomas Olexa and provides boutique financial planning, wealth and estate management to business owners. The merger brings TC’s total assets to more than $2 billion.

TC Wealth Partners also serves business owners and institutions, providing wealth, trust and advisory services to more than 800 clients. The merger is expected to further strengthen its capabilities, according to an announcement, particularly in life insurance and estate planning, where EFG has expertise. 

“We are excited to offer our clients expanded access to even better capabilities through TC Wealth Partners and Hightower’s robust value-added services,” Olexa said in a statement. “By joining forces, we provide our clients with holistic offerings across every aspect of the financial planning landscape.”

“With EFG Advisors we have a partner who is aligned with us in terms of service, specialization and culture,” said TC Wealth CEO William Giffin. “We have always believed culture is key to success. It’s one of the reasons we selected Hightower.” 

The transaction represents the first subacquisition made by TC Wealth, which was acquired by Hightower in January 2022 with a mission to grow across the region and scale nationally. At the same time, Hightower acquired the Trust Company of Illinois, a TC Wealth subsidiary that offers trust and estate planning and administration, executor and co-executor services and retirement plan services.

“From the beginning, it was clear to us that TC Wealth was a firm that had the ability to grow and scale,” said Hightower Chairman and CEO Bob Oros. “This strategic merger is step one.”

Hightower has a dedicated M&A team to help affiliated businesses execute mergers and subacquisitions by providing sourcing, valuation, deal structuring, due diligence, legal and regulatory and pre- and post-close integration services, as well as the capital resources needed for transactions.

Currently, the growing platform of independent advisors supports 131 firms in 34 states and the District of Columbia with a range of services designed to catalyze and accelerate growth. At the end of 2022, the firm managed $113.7 billion in client assets, up from $106.1 billion just three months earlier, and $144.3 billion in assets under administration.

Wealth Enhancement Group Adds $273M Washington Wealth Advisors

Minneapolis-based Wealth Enhancement Group has announced the acquisition of Washington Wealth Advisors in Falls Church, Va., with more than $273 million in managed assets.

Led by managing partners Maura Schauss, who founded the firm in 2011, and Todd Youngdahl, Washington offers financial planning and education, investment management, retirement planning and tax-saving strategies to wealthy families, high earners, women and small-business owners. Schauss and Youngdahl are joined by a team of three financial advisors and four client service professionals.

The latest acquisition brings WEG to more than $60.8 billion in assets and adds more than 250 clients.

“Our two firms have remarkably similar cultures, wealth management philosophies and company values, all of which focus on delivering financial advice in the best interest of our clients,” WEG CEO Jeff Dekko said, in a statement.

“By partnering with our firm, the advisors at Washington Wealth Advisors will have access to additional resources and tools allowing for an even more elevated financial approach built around their clients’ unique goals,” said Jim Cahn, who heads up investments and business development for WEG.

Founded in 1997, WEG serves more than 50,000 households and has more than 85 locations nationwide. Advisory services are offered through the firm’s RIA arm, with some advisors operating as dually registered advisors. 

“We see this partnership as an extension of our promise to each client to offer independent, trusted financial advice throughout their lifetime and an opportunity to deepen our client relationships," Schauss said.

Arkadios Capital Hires Nathan Stibbs to Lead Corporate Strategy After Record 2022

Arkadios Capital, a fast-growing hybrid RIA and broker/dealer based in Atlanta, has announced the appointment of Nathan Stibbs as director of corporate strategy. Most recently, Stibbs was president and chief strategy officer for Continuum Advisory in Atlanta.

The announcement comes on the heels of a record year in which Arkadios added $3.2 billion in assets through the affiliation of 42 advisors across 15 offices, accounting for $16 million in new revenue. Stibbs is expected to play a critical role in helping Arkadios execute a national growth and expansion strategy, according to an announcement, by working to add talented advisors “while providing a strong culture firmly focused on the advisor experience.”

"The Arkadios executive team has worked closely with Nathan Stibbs for many years,” said CEO David Millican. “He is passionate about assisting successful wealth management firms reach their full potential. He knows our capabilities and shares our entrepreneurial culture. He will help us expand our current relationships and add successful advisory groups."

For more than 20 years, Stibbs has served as a strategic consultant to independent financial advisors. Prior to his time at Continuum, he spent more than two decades on the executive team at Triad Advisors, where he helped position the firm as a destination for hybrid investment advisors.

"It was important to me that I aligned with an organization with which I share a similar vision, philosophy and core values," he said. "Arkadios has established itself as one of the fastest-growing IBDs in the industry and their advisor-centric culture make them a top destination for successful investment professionals."

Founded by Millican in 2016, Arkadios supports growth-oriented wealth management firms and oversees more than $8 billion in client assets, including nearly $2 billion under its RIA. The firm has grown to 160 advisors and 42 offices across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico.

Kornitzer Capital Management Names Joe Neuberger and Laura Symon Browne to Lead Firm, Funds

Kornitzer Capital Management, a Kansas City-based registered investment advisor with more than $7.3 billion in client assets, has named Joe Neuberger as president, replacing founder John Kornitzer. At the same time, Laura Symon Browne has been named to replace Kent Gasaway as president of Buffalo Funds, a group of no-load mutual funds managed by KCM.

The moves are part of a planned succession strategy; Kornitzer and Gasaway will remain with the firm as portfolio managers.

Neuberger has more than 38 years of senior management experience, including 28 years with U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, serving as president from 2017 to 2022. As president of KCM, he is responsible for the day-to-day management and long-term growth strategy of the firm.

Symon Browne has more than 30 years of experience in financial services, most recently as a principal at The Vanguard Group, where she led broker/dealer home office sales, business development group sales and Arizona retail operations.

“Joe and Laura are the right leaders for KCM and Buffalo Funds,” said Kornitzer, who launched the firm in 1989. “Their extensive financial services and leadership experience will help KCM carry on its long-term mission of helping private clients and institutions achieve their long-term financial goals.”

Created to manage customized portfolios for private clients and institutions, KCM provides personalized financial management through Kornitzer Private Client Services group while pension, corporate and foundation separate account management is offered through the firm’s institutional services group. Buffalo Funds was created in 1994 and consists of 10 publicly registered stock and bond funds representing a range of capitalization, growth and income options.

The firm serves close to 2,000 clients, including 660 ultra-high-net-worth individuals, 101 pension funds, 37 charities and 10 investment companies across 40 states, according to its latest SEC filing in October of last year.

In other RIA news …

Cetera takes a minority stake in $1.7 billion Kansas City OSJ Prosperity Partners, Steward Partners transitions fourth team of year, and Joe Duran is leaving Goldman Sachs.

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