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Steward Partners co-founder and CEO Jim Gold
Steward Partners co-founder and CEO Jim Gold

Steward Adds Pair of Firms, $488M Under New Acquisition Model

Monaco Capital and Saling Simms have become the second and third firms to join Steward Partners’ new Legacy Division, established via acquisition late last year.

Steward Partners, an employee-owned and private equity-backed network of financial advisory practices overseeing some $32 billion in client assets, is adding five advisors and $488 million in client assets with two additions under a new acquisition model introduced via acquisition late last year.  

In Virginia Beach, Va., Monaco Capital was founded in 2003 by Joseph Monaco, an economics Ph.D who previously spent time with Prudential Securities and UBS. Monaco, who is joining Steward’s Virginia Beach office, manages about $175 million for more than 430 households and a dozen institutional investors.   

Saling Simms, in Columbus, Ohio, includes four advisors overseeing $314 million for more than 450 households and 57 institutions. Led by President Jim Saling and Vice President Brent Simms, the team represents Steward’s first office location in Ohio.  

Both firms were previously operating as independent RIAs and are joining Steward under its new Legacy Division, which was created last year to provide a destination for advisors in need of a succession plan. The division was seeded with the acquisition of Freedom Street Partners, a 7-year-old firm with 28 advisors, 17 locations and $3.2 billion in managed assets. Freedom Street CEO Scott Danner now manages the division along with Steward’s executive leadership team.  

"The teams at these two respective firms have spent their entire careers shouldering the financial burden of their clients,” Danner said in a statement. “Our goal at Steward is to shoulder it for them, ensuring smooth continuity as these advisors transition into the next chapter of their careers and their clients into the next phase of their lives. 

"I have no doubt that this will be a smooth transition for everyone involved,” he added. 

Firms acquired by Steward are given the option of co-branding, adopting the Steward name or joining the Legacy Division. Equity is offered as part of the transaction, and talent is typically brought in on a W-2 basis, but not always. 

CEO Jim Gold told full acquisitions are preferred, but he is open to other arrangements in the right situations. 

“We pride ourselves on flexibility and optionality, so we’re not going to draw any lines in the sand, but I think our general premise is going to be that we want to buy the whole thing,” he said in November. “If there’s a really, really great opportunity that is a minority stake or a majority, but not a whole purchase, we’ll certainly look at that and see if it makes sense.” 

Founded in 2013, Steward has been focused lately on providing optionality to attract advisory talent. In addition to the new division, the firm has W-2, RIA-only and 1099 affiliation models and went multicustodial with the addition of Pershing last year. A 2023 brand “refresh” wrapped up in February when Steward Partners dropped Global Advisory from its name.  

Majority-owned by employees and backed by capital from Cynosure Group and the Pritzker Organization, as well as a $140 million credit facility, the firm has grown assets from $50 million to $32 billion over the last decade, primarily through the recruitment of wirehouse breakaways. 

After adding more than $6 billion through recruitment last year, mostly of breakaway wirehouse and bank-based advisors, Steward Partners expects to duplicate that growth in 2024. 

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