Stratos Wealth Holdings, whose wealth management entities oversee a combined $22.8 billion in client assets, has launched a private wealth model, the firm’s first foray into a branded, single-experience wealth management offering aimed at ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth clients.
To seed the new division, Stratos Wealth has taken a majority stake in one of its existing firms, San Diego-based BWM Financial, which it will rebrand as Stratos Private Wealth. Jeff Brown, CEO and founder of BWM, will serve as president of the new unit and report to Lou Camacho, president of Stratos Wealth Enterprises, the acquisition arm of Stratos.
Stratos Wealth first made a strategic investment in BWM in 2020 and a year later helped the firm acquire Truuwater Financial, another Stratos-affiliated firm. In 2022, Stratos increased its investment stake in BWM to 33%.
The private wealth division currently manages $1.3 billion in client assets, but Camacho said the goal is to quickly ramp up to $2 billion. That will be aided when another wholly owned Stratos partner comes into the model in the next 90 days.
As part of its growth, Stratos Private Wealth plans to add new offices throughout the country in the next 12 to 18 months, Camacho said.
Stratos Wealth is an office of supervisory jurisdiction of LPL Financial and historically has served independent advisors running their own client experiences, asset management models and technology stacks. The firm takes care of all the back- and middle-office functions, IT, finance, billing, etc.
But advisors that come into the private wealth division will operate as W2 employees under one national brand, asset management model, technology stack and client experience.
The parent firm will provide advisors with lead generation support, asset management, tax and estate planning and marketing tools, all of which will be integrated and built in-house.
Stratos Private Wealth will take on only existing partners that the firm has a controlling interest in, like BWM. The firm will also recruit advisors into the model from the wirehouses and other broker/dealers.
“The goal here is essentially to provide a turnkey solution, whether it be for existing advisors, wirehouse brokers that are looking to join the Stratos platform or IBD reps,” Camacho said.
Outside of private wealth, Stratos continues to be active in the mergers and acquisitions space, he added. The firm is also seeing a lot of interest from advisors coming out of First Republic Bank, in the wake of its acquisition by JP Morgan, although no deals have come to fruition yet.
“We’re having several conversations while we’re out West right now with First Republic advisors that are presenting some very interesting opportunities for us,” Camacho said.