Snowden Lane announced it has recruited its seventh advisor and more than $1 billion in client assets in 2023. After passing $10 billion in total client assets over the summer, the hybrid registered investment advisory firm oversees now more than $10.5 billion across 27 teams working from 13 offices in nine states.
Operating as The Jones Group in Philadelphia, Partner and Managing Director William “Trey” Jones III, along with one additional team member, will establish a new Snowden Lane office in a 10th state, Pennsylvania, in the coming months.
Jones left Merrill on Friday, after a decade at the wirehouse. Most recently in the role of vice president, he started his career in operations in 2013 and completed the Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor program in 2017. He now focuses primarily on helping small business owners and philanthropic organizations manage wealth, taxes, retirement and a range of other needs.
“He’s talented in a lot of areas, but that’s really where his passion is,” said Snowden Lane President and COO Greg Franks, describing Jones. “He’s very disciplined, very process oriented and his entire focus is 100% on his clients and not on himself—that’s refreshing in this industry. When we sat down together, I knew he'd fit in perfectly, and he will.”
Franks said he expects more than 90% of the $230 million in assets Jones managed at Merrill will follow him to Snowden, based on the firm’s track record.
At Merrill for nearly three decades before joining Snowden Lane in 2012, Franks said he’s been aware of the younger advisor for much of his 10-year career. He was the one who reached out to gauge Jones’ interest in making a move.
“I don't want to speak for him, but I think that, like many other individuals who work for what are now these very, very large conglomerates, which are all banks, there is a level of frustration that builds up,” said Franks. “When you're a small cog in the wheel of an organization that has hundreds of thousands of employees, it becomes hard to get things done.
“I think he's been feeling that pressure over time and was looking for independence—which is what we offer—and freedom," Franks said. "And I think that us coming together at exactly the right time when he had made that decision, it worked out perfectly for both of us.”
“I’ve always sought to meet each of my clients where they are in their financial journeys and deliver bespoke solutions that meet their individual needs,” Jones said in a statement. “As I examined options for the next phase of my career, Snowden Lane stood out as a destination where I’d be empowered to carry those same values forward.”
Founded in 2011, Snowden Lane has grown almost exclusively through the recruitment of bank and wirehouse advisors, on a mission to create a private partnership of employee-owners that embodies the best of both the independent and institutional spaces. All recruits are brought in as W-2 employees and principals are offered equity in the transaction.
“We struggled to see how the 1099 model produces value,” Franks explained. “What we’re building is a true firm. Going back to the days when I started in the business, many of the firms were private partnerships and we’ve recreated that model. Our advisors are partners and managing directors; it’s a very inclusive business model.”
Majority owned by Estancia Capital Partners since 2013, Snowden Lane also leveraged debt capital through ORIX Corporation to facilitate the recruitment strategy since 2018. It reupped that credit facility in January and proceeded to add The Upland Group and a new office in New Hampshire the following month, bringing over a team of three overseeing $212 million at Morgan Stanley. One week later, another Morgan Stanley advisor managing $132 million made the leap to Snowden in Miami.
In June, the firm brought in Douglas Gill, who was running his own investment management company with $420 million in assets after 28 years split between Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. And last month, the firm announced the addition of a duo from UBS that advised on around $200 million.
“We look for experienced advisors that are in growth mode and are frustrated because their current environment is not allowing them to do that easily,” Snowden Lane Head of Enterprise Development Alison Burkett told WealthManagement.com’s Director of Editorial and Content Strategies David Armstrong last month during an RIA Edge Podcast. “So, we want to encourage our advisors to have access to the products and services that they need to grow. We provide all of the back-office resources, so they don't have to run their own business and they can focus on their clients.”
About a year ago, Snowden Lane added TD Ameritrade as a custodian alongside Pershing in anticipation of TD’s announced sale to Charles Schwab. After what Franks described as a smooth transition, the firm could welcome its first Schwab-based recruit before the end of the year.
“I don’t want to overplay my hand,” Franks said. “But there’s certainly more to come. It’s looking like the fourth quarter is going to be very busy. And I would say that, looking into the next year, the pipeline of deals is the largest it’s been in our history.”