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RIA Roundup: Lazard Asset Management Acquires Truvvo Partners to Create $8B Family Office

Despite talk of RIA M&A slowing, the industry announced a bevy of new deals this week, transacting almost $19 billion in client assets.

Registered investment advisors announced more than $18.8 billion in transacted assets this week, an indication that M&A in the space has not slowed as much as some predicted.

Lazard Asset Management and Truvvo Partners combined to create Lazard Family Office Partners, while Stratos Wealth Partners took ownership of First Wealth Financial Group in the wake of the sudden death of its CEO.

Meanwhile, Beacon Pointe announced it completed five acquisitions over the past three months, Pathstone is set to acquire $1.5 billion in assets and Merchant-backed Legacy Capital added $365 million in Arkansas. At the same time, Hightower facilitated the first tuck-in for partner firm Schultz Collins, while Snowden Lane lured another Morgan Stanley advisor.

In stories published earlier this week, Integrated Partners and Falcon Wealth Planning each announced their first acquisitions ever, Americana Partners added a $6 billion Houston RIA and Clearstead purchased its second trust business.

Lazard Asset Management Acquires Truvvo Partners, Creating Family Office

Lazard Asset Management, which manages about $216 billion in assets, announced it acquired Truvvo Partners, a New York City-based RIA with $3.8 billion in assets that provides strategic advice, wealth planning and investment management to families.

Together, the firms have formed Lazard Family Office Partners to manage approximately $8 billion in assets—including Lazard’s existing U.S. private client business—and provide advice and investment solutions across public and private markets. The family office will integrate investment management, risk management and family office services into one offering.

As a result of the deal, Lazard’s global wealth management division now oversees approximately $22 billion in client assets, including a European wealth management business.

"Demand for sophisticated and innovative wealth management solutions is increasing as family offices navigate the ever-changing markets and economic environment," Lazard CEO Evan Russo said in a statement.

“We believe leveraging Lazard’s expertise, infrastructure and resources will strengthen our platform and enable a holistic approach, allowing us to better serve our clients,” added Truvvo CEO and CIO Casey Whalen.

Lazard's global investment franchise is expected to complement Truvvo's open-architecture platform and expertise in private markets, according to the announcement. The family office unit will provide investment management, as well as expertise in wealth transfer, tax planning, philanthropy, operational solutions, cash flow and liquidity planning.

The Truvvo team, which will be based in Lazard’s New York office, includes Whalen, Jerome Antenen, Alison Rosenzweig, Caitlin Reynolds and Danielle Roseman.

One of the world’s largest asset management firms, Lazard currently operates out of 26 countries on five continents, providing a wide range of financial advice and management to corporations, partnerships, institutions, governments and individuals.

The firm celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.

Stratos Wealth Partners Expands Ownership Stake in First Wealth

Stratos Wealth Partners, an RIA of Stratos Wealth Holdings, expanded its ownership in First Wealth Financial Group to a majority stake, following the unexpected passing of Founder and CEO Breton Williams.

The owner and leadership transitions are effective immediately, according to Thursday’s announcement, “with no impact to the firm's operations.” As a part of the transition, minority owner Andrew Meyers has been named president of First Wealth.

"As we continue processing the loss of our friend and colleague, we are grateful that Breton had such a detailed business continuity plan in place,” Meyers said in a statement. “I want to assure our clients that First Wealth's team of advisors and staff is committed to providing the valued investment advice and financial planning care they have become accustomed to. Our strengthened partnership with Stratos will allow us to build an even greater business and provide additional services to these loyal clients."

Established in Clinton, Iowa, in 1987, First Wealth oversees more than $348 million in combined brokerage and advisory assets. The firm provides investment management and retirement, estate, pension and tax-favored planning. Stratos has been a non-ownership partner in the firm for eight years, supporting growth as it expanded to six advisors in four locations.

"Breton was a well-respected member of the wealth management community in Iowa, who cared deeply about the well-being of his clients and community, and will be sorely missed," said Charles Shapiro, founding partner and Chief Development Officer at Stratos. "On behalf of Stratos, I extend my condolences to the Williams family, staff of First Wealth and clients whose lives Breton improved over the years. We are honored to build on his legacy alongside Andrew and the First Wealth team, providing an exceptional client experience and growing the firm."

Meyers, an advisor with First Wealth since 2011, recently stepped into a leadership role as part of the planned succession. Working with Senior Client Service Representative Cari Bush, Meyers began implementing the plan established by the late Williams to “ensure a seamless transition for clients.”

Stratos Wealth Partners manages more than $9.6 billion in advisory assets and advises on more than $6.9 billion in brokerage and third-party assets held away at LPL Financial. The platform offers infrastructure and operational, strategic and revenue-generating resources to growth-minded firms. Since its founding, Stratos has grown to 275 independent advisors, with more than 60 home office staff and more than 87 locations nationwide.

Beacon Pointe Adds Five RIAs in Three Months

Newport Beach, Calif.-based Beacon Pointe Advisors completed five RIA acquisitions over the last three months, according to an announcement, with three deals closing at the end of 2022 and two closing earlier this year.

Midwest Financial Advisor Group, Nexus Wealth Advisors, Pinnacle Wealth Management, Ailsa Capital and Bennicas & Associates have become Beacon Pointe regional offices in new and existing markets and extend the firm’s footprint to additional states, including Illinois, Michigan and Utah.

They added a combined $1.5 billion in assets under management, bringing Beacon Pointe to approximately $25 billion in AUM and 46 offices nationwide.

"Coming off of a busy year of M&A activity in 2021, it was great to keep that same momentum in 2022," Beacon Pointe President Matt Cooper said in a statement. "Not only did we expand into several new territories, including three new offices in the Midwest, but we added further density in existing markets that we have been pursuing for quite some time."

With office locations in Skokie, Ill., and Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Midwest Financial Advisor Group brings Beacon Pointe to both states for the first time. Serving clients in the greater Chicago region with around $300 million in assets, husband and wife founders Heather O'Neill Fairbanks and Isamu Fairbanks lead the five-person team.

"A big part of what we were looking for when searching for the right partner was a firm that could provide us the back-office support and resources we needed while still fostering a sense of community and culture that we aligned with," said O'Neill Fairbanks. "Those elements paired with initiatives of Beacon Pointe's Women's Advisory Institute is what truly drew us into the firm."

Pinnacle Wealth Management joins Beacon Pointe with $155 million in assets under management and expands the firm’s presence in the Denver region. Joined by a team of six, President Tom Stefaniak is taking on the role of managing director at Beacon Pointe.

"I was fortunate to have heard about Beacon Pointe through an existing partner at the firm," Stefaniak said. "We're excited to begin leveraging the robust platform and technology Beacon Pointe has cultivated over the years."

Ailsa Capital will become Beacon Pointe's first office in the state of Utah, with around $210 million in client assets. John Martindale is joining as managing director and bringing a team of three.

"The depth of Beacon Pointe's service offerings, particularly from a client standpoint, was what truly drew us into the firm from the outset," said Martindale. "That, paired with established back-office services that would enable us to spend more time with our clients, was one of the main drivers of our decision to partner with Beacon Pointe."

With $240 million in assets under management, Bennicas & Associates is located in Portola Valley, Calif., and will be joining one of Beacon Pointe's existing Bay Area office locations. Founder Georgia Bennicas is joining as partner and senior wealth advisor, along with advisor Michael Dunn and two staff members.

Nexus Wealth Advisors, located in Santa Cruz, Calif., is an extension of Beacon Pointe's existing Bay Area office in Campbell. Nexus founder Lance Wexler and his team will continue serving clients in the Santa Cruz County and South Bay Area.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Pathstone Will Acquire Rex Capital Advisors

Pathstone, a partner-owned and private equity-backed RIA serving families, family offices, foundations and endowments, entered into an agreement to acquire Rex Capital Advisors. Based in Providence, R.I., Rex provides investment advisory and family office services to ultra-high-net-worth families and related entities.

Founded in 2002 by Arthur Duffy, Rex Capital originally served as a single-family office. Working with Michael Chase, Matthew Thibault and Timothy Devlin, Rex has grown to advise 12 client families across the U.S., representing approximately $1.5 billion in assets. In addition to customized family office solutions, the Rex team brings private equity and venture capital expertise.

Once the deal has closed, the Rex team will have access to Pathstone's infrastructure, expanded services and talent to accelerate growth.

"From the first conversation with Arthur and his team, we saw alignment in the way we approach client service, embrace innovation, and view the future of the family office business model," said Pathstone CEO Matt Fleissig. "We're thrilled to partner with such a culturally aligned group and to continue strengthening our presence in New England, in line with our goal of growing within our existing regional offices."

Based in Englewood, N.J., the acquisition will bring Pathstone's total client assets to almost $80 billion, with 17 office locations and nearly 350 team members­—more than 175 of whom are shareholders of the firm.

Merchant-backed Legacy Capital Recruits $650M Arkansas Team

Legacy Capital, a Little Rock, Ark.-based RIA and wealth management firm backed by Merchant Investment Management, is opening an office in Northwest Arkansas with the addition of Brian Wood, Michael Peebles and DeAnn Gann. The team of advisors were most recently with Arvest Bank’s wealth management division.

The deal will expand Legacy’s geographic footprint and strengthen its position as one of the largest independent wealth management firms in Arkansas, according to the announcement, including more than $1 billion in client assets and more than $2.5 billion of in-force life insurance.

The former Arvest Bank team will provide everything from asset management and investments to financial and estate planning, banking and trust services, and insurance solutions to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth families.

Legacy has served individuals and families since 1977 with financial planning, asset management, legacy and estate planning, and insurance solutions. Backed by Merchant since 2018, Legacy has doubled AUM since a 2020 merger with Trent Capital and now serves 400 households with a staff of 20.

“Matt and the team at Legacy Capital were one of Merchant’s first partners,” said Merchant co-founder and Managing Partner Tim Bello. “It’s been remarkable working with them and growing the firm.”

Hightower Supports 1st Acquisition for Partner Firm Schultz Collins

Schultz Collins Investment Counsel, a Hightower firm in California’s San Francisco Bay area, completed its first acquisition with support from its parent platform.

DHR Investment Counsel in Oakland, Calif., a $385 million firm led by husband-and-wife team Davis Riemer and Louise Rothman-Riemer, is joining Schultz Collins and bringing the firm’s assets under supervision to more than $1.3 billion.

Founded in 1987, DHR Investment Counsel “pioneered the implementation of the fiduciary standard of practice among investment advisory firms,” according to the announcement, and is among the industry’s first fee-only firms.

Founded in 1995, Schultz Collins serves individual investors, retirement plan sponsors and institutions. The firm joined Hightower in January 2020.

“Together, Schultz Collins and DHR Investment Counsel serve a highly attractive, complementary clientele,” said Hightower Chairman and CEO Bob Oros. “This acquisition will go a long way in supporting the firm’s ambitious growth plans and helping empower their next generations of advisors.”

Hightower has a dedicated M&A team to help its partner firms execute mergers and sub-acquisitions 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.

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.

Snowden Lane Partners Adds Morgan Stanley Advisor in Miami

Eduardo Alvarez Andreu, a Miami-based advisor managing $132 million in client assets, left Morgan Stanley to join Snowden Lane Partners, a hybrid RIA based in New York.

Working out of Snowden Lane’s Coral Gables, Fla. office, Alvarez Andreu will serve as partner and managing director. He brings nearly two decades of experience in financial services, with expertise in international wealth management and alternative investments.

Prior to Snowden Lane, Alvarez Andreu held the roles of first vice president, international client advisor, alternative investments director and portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley in Miami. He joined the wirehouse as a team research analyst and fixed income trader in 2010.

He has also worked as senior sales associate and trading specialist at Barclays and as a private wealth management certified sales assistant at Lehman Brothers. He’s fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

“It’s always humbling to receive interest from advisors as qualified as Eduardo,” said Snowden Managing Director Doug Flaherty. “His experience working with clients both domestically and internationally will be invaluable, and his attention to detail for each of his clients is a true differentiator.”

Since its founding in 2011, Snowden Lane has grown rapidly by recruiting advisors from Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JP Morgan, Raymond James, Wells Fargo and Fieldpoint Private, among others.

Today, the firm employs 136 professionals, 75 of whom are client-facing advisors, across 13 offices around the country.

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