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RIA Week-End Roundup: Snowden Lane Adds $200M in Assets with UBS Team

Snowden Lane adds UBS duo with $200M in assets, PCIA moves into Memphis, another rebrand is announced and women are named to key roles at Choreo, Lido and Carson.

Amid a busy conference season, RIAs are still getting things done.

Snowden Lane Partners has added a duo from UBS to its NYC office, along with $200 million in assets, while Prime Capital Investment Advisors opened up shop in Memphis with a former Edelman advisor and Planned Financial Services has become Return on Life Wealth in a move to better represent the firm’s ethos.

At the same time, Choreo has named Karen Lee as its first chief growth officer, Lido Advisors brought in Debra Achkire to serve as general counsel and Carson Group announced Julie Pine as its new chief legal officer.

Earlier this week, reported deals announced by Edelman Financial Engines, Waverly Advisors, Robertson Stephens, Coldstream Wealth Management and Creative Planning, two new hires at Savvy and Sanctuary, the rebrand of Sigma Financial as Axtella and the relaunch of Marrella Private Wealth as an independent firm with a new name.

Snowden Lane Partners Adds $200M AUM The Torres Group from UBS

Snowden Lane Partners added a two-person team from UBS, along with $200 million in advised assets.

Based in Snowden’s flagship New York City office, Benny Torres Sanchez joins Snowden Lane as senior partner and managing director alongside Claudia Carmona as vice president and senior registered client relationship manager.

Torres has been with UBS since 2013 and became a senior vice president at the company in 2019. He previously spent about a decade at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Wealth, following its purchase of Lehman. Carmona, who holds Series 7, 63, 55 and life and health insurance licenses, followed the same trajectory and has worked with Torres since around the time they both moved to UBS.

Snowden Lane has now added more than $4 billion in client assets over the last two years, including five advisors—three of whom came from Morgan Stanley—and a total of seven professionals overseeing nearly a billion dollars in 2023.

Founded in 2011, Snowden Lane has grown rapidly through the recruitment of breakaway wirehouse advisors from institutions such as UBS, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo and Fieldpoint Private. The employee-owned partnership platform now comprises 139 professionals, including 77 advisors, across 13 offices in 9 states.

Snowden Lane advisors collectively manage $4.7 billion in client assets and advise on another $5.3 billion, a spokesperson confirmed Friday.

Prime Capital Investment Advisors Moves into Memphis with Edelman Advisor

Prime Capital Investment Advisors has established a new location, in Memphis, Tenn., with the addition of Navy veteran Dale Kelly.

Joining PCIA from Edelman Financial Engines, where he spent the last five years, Kelly is a chartered retirement planning counselor who dropped his brokerage license when he made the move to EFE from TIAA in 2017. Prior to that, he spent time at Cetera, BB&T (now Truist)  and BBVA (a subsidiary of PNC Financial Services). He has also spent time at MetLife and Wachovia.

Kelly is operating as PCIA Mid-South, providing a range of financial planning services primarily for pre-retirees, retirees, heads of a household, families and women.

Before joining the financial services industry, Kelly served in the U.S. Navy as part of the fire control team aboard the USS Blue Ridge between 1996 and 2000.

"What drives Dale is to earn his clients' business every day," said PCIA Chief Development Officer John Seibolt. "This mentality is one that immediately attracted us to Dale and his team, and we knew we'd be lucky to have them."

Founded in 2018 with around $2.8 billion in assets, PCIA now oversees nearly $17 billion in SEC-registered assets across 13 brands and more than 300 employees, including around 190 advisors. The Overland Park, Kan.-based firm is backed by a minority investment from Abry Partners and majority owned by employees.

Early this week, Citywire reported that PCIA has attracted five advisors from Goldman Sachs’ Personal Financial Management unit ahead of its sale to Creative Planning in a deal announced earlier this year. The departure of a number of large teams in the wake of that announcement has led both Goldman and some former advisors to file lawsuits related to non-compete agreements.  

Planned Financial Services Rebrands to Return on Life Wealth Partners

Planned Financial Services jumped on the rebranding bandwagon and changed its name to Return on Life Wealth Partners, the Cleveland-based RIA announced this week.

The new name is meant to represent “the distinct financial philosophy, vision and beliefs” held by owner/founder Frank Fantozzi and his team of 12.

"When we started 29 years ago, we picked a straightforward and functional name so we could hit the ground running," Fantozzi said in a statement. "As we continue to mature and evolve, it's become increasingly important that our name accurately reflects the founding principles that we continue to live by today and that truly differentiate our brand.

"Return on Life speaks to our core commitment to look well beyond financial returns to help our clients use their wealth as a tool to pursue a life well lived,” he said.

The announcement comes as the firm embarks on an ambitious new growth strategy. Return on Life expects to double employee headcount and assets over the next five to seven years, at which point it will begin transitioning to an employee stock ownership program.

Today, Return on Life manages about $352 million in assets for 306 clients, including 20 retirement plans.

Karen Lee Joins Choreo as Chief Growth Officer

Choreo, an RIA established early last year when private equity firm Parthenon Capital lifted out RSM’s wealth management business, appointed Karen Lee to serve in the newly created role of chief growth officer.

Lee joins Choreo after more than five years with Mercer Advisors, where she most recently held the role of chief business solutions officer. Prior to that, she held senior vice president roles within the community banking, corporate strategy and wealth management groups at Wells Fargo. Lee began her career as a business analyst with Accenture Strategy Group.

Joining Senior VP of Advisors Craig Bartlett and Chief Marketing Officer Marissa Fox-Foley as the newest members of the executive team, she will report to Choreo CEO Larry Miles.

Launched with close to $12 billion in advised and managed assets, Choreo now oversees nearly $15 billion for more than 6,000 families from 40 offices nationwide. The firm announced its first two acquisitions in November with $1.8 billion Enzo Wealth Management and $1 billion Cherry Bekaert Wealth Management. In December, Choreo announced it was buying GreerWalker Wealth, with $275 million in managed assets. All three deals closed in January.

In May, Choreo announced the launch of the Choreo Partner Alliance, designed to partner CPAs with Choreo advisors. Cherry Bekaert Advisory and GreerWalker, LLC, the CPA firms out of which the wealth management businesses were lifted, are early participants in the program.

"Choreo is well-positioned to achieve its vision of being the preferred wealth management partner to the tax professional community,” said Miles. “With the team we have assembled, the experience of our advisors and an expanded emphasis on strategic planning and execution in a high-growth environment, we are incredibly optimistic about the opportunities ahead."

Debra Achkire Joins Lido as General Counsel 

Lido Advisors, a Los Angeles-based RIA overseeing some $17 billion in assets, announced this week that Debra Achkire is joining the firm as general counsel.

Achkire is the latest to make the move to Lido from First Republic Bank, which became part of JPMorgan Chase in the wake of its failure earlier this year.

Achkire spent six years as vice president and general counsel at the bank, where she helped to grow its private wealth practice, according to an announcement. Prior to that, she was an executive director in Morgan Stanley’s legal and compliance division, following stints as an attorney for Covington & Burles and Latham & Watkins. Early in her career, Achkire served as a judicial clerk for the Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“Lido is one of the industry's most dynamic and fastest-growing players, and I'm thrilled at the opportunity to work with this incredible team,” added Achkire. “As the wealth management landscape continually evolves, I look forward to leveraging my experience to help chart our continued growth as a firm."

Founded in 1999, Lido has grown by focusing on the recruitment of private bank advisors with high-net-worth clients. Claiming more than $17 billion in assets across more than 4,500 clients coast-to-coast, the firm has 31 locations staffed by nearly 200 employees, more than half of whom provide advice.

Earlier this year, Lido launched IDB Lido Wealth in collaboration with IDB Bank to bring investment management and financial planning to the bank’s clients.

Julie Pine Joins Carson Group as Chief Legal Officer

Carson Group hired Julie Pine to serve as its new chief legal officer.

The firm publicly announced Pine’s addition earlier this week, but she has been with Carson since August, appearing onstage during the last day of the firm’s annual Excell conference in Nashville last month to interview snowboarding and skateboarding legend Shawn White.

“Shawn White has built a career around taking risks, and I too think it's essential to take risks in order to innovate and offer the best services and products to our clients,” Pine said by way of introduction. “It is my and my team's job to not only identify risks, but to come up with creative solutions in order to mitigate risks so that we can be the best financial services company and deliver on all of the cool things we've talked about the last three days.”

Located east of Overton Park, Kan., Pine will report directly to Teri Shepherd, president of Carson Group, and is expected to “play a pivotal role in overseeing all legal and regulatory matters for the firm,” according to the announcement.

Prior to joining Carson, Pine served as executive vice president, general counsel, and chief risk officer at Lead Bank in Kansas City, Mo., where she oversaw legal, risk, compliance, human resources and information security functions. Earlier in her career, she was a commercial litigator and equity shareholder at McDowell, Rice, Smith & Buchanan, P.C., before taking on the role of general counsel for Mariner Wealth.

“She is just such a pro,” said Carson Managing Partner Burt White. “And that's really become our bar. We're raising the bar across our organization on talent. It’s the most important thing that we do, and Julie is living up to that.”

Founded by Ron Carson in 1983, Carson Group is headquartered in Omaha, Neb., serving advisors and investors through three businesses lines—Carson Wealth, an RIA providing investment management and financial planning services to end clients, Carson Partners, a partnership platform for independent advisors, and Carson Coaching, which provides business management support for advisors seeking growth.

Across its platform and advisory business, Carson currently manages some $30 billion in assets for more than 47,000 families served by Carson advisors and a network of more than 140 partner firms.

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