April 2024 Financial Advisor and RIA Moves and Acquisitions

The RIA industry has experienced significant growth, particularly among large RIAs with assets over $1 billion, which now control more than 80% of RIA client assets. This dominance has led to increased valuations for these firms, as they receive higher valuation multiples due to their substantial size growth. This trend has made big RIA acquirers more selective, thereby creating opportunities for midsize firms. In terms of advisor recruitment, LPL Financial reported a record-breaking first quarter in 2024, with $20 billion in recruited assets from January through March, marking its most successful recruiting quarter to date.

At the end of April, Dakota documented roughly 40 transactions, and you can see these all in Dakota Marketplace.

In this article, we're reporting the 40 transactions we saw so you are in the know. By the end of this, you'll have a better understanding of the shifts this past April. 

One of the larger acquisitions this month, Cerity Partners has merged with Denver-based Agility, the investment outsourcing branch of Perella Weinberg Partners (PWP). Agility, serving as an outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) for nonprofits, university foundations, and wealthy families, managed approximately $15 billion in assets. Through the transition, Cerity Partners will now manage approximately $100 billion in assets. The merger enhances Cerity Partners' OCIO capabilities, with Agility known for its exceptional services in this area. The deal is expected to close in June, with Agility to be rebranded as Cerity Partners OCIO. Agility's leadership includes Chris Bittman, former CIO of the University of Colorado Foundation, and Deputy CIO Kent Muckel, former CIO of Baylor University.Cerity specializes in serving ultra-high net worth clients and has a history of merging with other RIAs and service providers catering to this demographic. This transaction with Agility marks Cerity Partners' first in 2024. The merger is part of Cerity Partners' growth strategy and enhances its service offerings. Cerity aims to keep Agility's investment research and processes that contributed to its growth within PWP.

One of the larger moves this month, Cresset has expanded its San Francisco presence by acquiring two advisory teams formerly associated with J.P. Morgan Wealth Management and originally from First Republic Bank. These teams include three lead advisors and 12 additional financial professionals, managing a combined total of approximately $5 billion in assets. One of the teams, consisting of 10 members, is led by Dagny Maidman, who recently joined Cresset. Maidman had an eight-year tenure at First Republic and JP Morgan, most recently serving as a senior managing director at First Republic. Her team has been together for approximately 10 years and includes associates with CFA designations and two Certified Financial Planners. They are known for their ability to create comprehensive solutions for ultra-high-net-worth clients. The second team, comprising five members, is directed by Chris Chase and Erik Ralston, who each have more than 20 years of industry experience. Chase, who joined First Republic in October 2015, was a managing director there until its acquisition by JP Morgan. Similarly, Ralston joined First Republic in 2015 and served as a managing director and wealth manager post-acquisition. The two teams have had a successful partnership and are looking forward to providing their clients with access to Cresset's platform.


UBS has extended its arms to The Bucher Group in Birmingham, Michigan. The new addition consists of the father-son advisor duo Matthew J. Bucher and Matthew M. Bucher, along with Client Service Associate Christina Lynn Propst. The Bucher Group specializes in offering investment strategies and wealth management advice tailored for high-net-worth individuals and families. They manage approximately $700 million in assets. Prior to joining UBS, The Bucher Group was part of a larger team at Merrill Lynch known as The Locniskar Pursel Bucher Biddinger Group, which managed around $4 billion in assets. Matthew J. Bucher, the senior advisor, has been active in the financial industry since 1983. Matt is active in various community groups. He has served on the board of the Friends of the Detroit Film Theatre, and is a former member of the finance committee of the Detroit Athletic Club. In addition he holds CPFA and CRPC designations. His son, Matthew M. Bucher, entered the industry in 2015. Both have spent their entire careers at Merrill Lynch before their move to UBS. Matthew, the son, also holds a CFP designation. 

Raymond James has recruited financial advisor Joseph Martinez from Wells Fargo. Martinez joins the Raymond James Financial Institutions Division through Pinnacle Asset Management. Alongside Registered Client Services Associate Lucy Chism, Martinez will work out of Pinnacle's Nashville, Tennessee office. At Wells Fargo, Martinez was responsible for managing approximately $243 million in assets. His career in the financial sector began in 2001 when he first registered as a broker with Bank of America Investment Services. Throughout his career, Martinez has worked with a total of five different firms, joining Wells Fargo in 2016 where he served as both a broker and investment advisor. This move marks a significant transition for Martinez and adds to the talent pool within Raymond James' Financial Institutions Division.

Raymond James has added a team of financial advisors from RBC Wealth Management, who managed over $1.1 billion in assets. Through the shift, the advisors formed the Pahnke Wealth Management Group. The team, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, includes advisors Glenn Pahnke, Ted Churchill, and Austin Pahnke, alongside Practice Business Manager Gretchen Forler, Senior Investment Portfolio Analyst Mark Ackel, Investment Portfolio Associate Tracy Jenkins, and four client service associates. Glenn Pahnke has been in the financial industry for over 30 years. Before joining RBC, where he spent 12 years, Glenn Pahnke worked at Robert W. Baird & Co. and has experience with several other firms, including a UBS predecessor. As an active member of his community, Glenn spends time outside the office with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley as well as the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation. Ted Churchill began his financial career at Zions Bancorporation in 2006 before moving to RBC in 2016. Austin Pahnke, Glenn's son, started his career in financial services at RBC in 2017 and holds a CFP designation. 

Stratos Wealth Advisors has expanded its team by acquiring a six-person group of financial advisors from RBC Wealth Management based in Reno, Nevada. This newly formed team will operate as Reno Tahoe Wealth Management and consist of Peter Bessette, Carla Bessette, Drew Bessette, Dan Roberts, Erich Brenner, and Sonni Schafer. They collectively manage approximately $500 million in assets, marking Stratos' entry into the Northern Nevada market. Peter Bessette brings over two decades of experience in financial services, having spent 23 years at RBC where he collaborated with Roberts and Brenner. Carla Bessette, who has been in the industry for thirty years, also moved from RBC to Stratos in 2000. Drew Bessette, the newest member, started his career in the industry in 2020 as a wealth planning associate. 

Joseph John "JJ" Marus and Lauren Norris, former advisors at Merrill Lynch managing $700 million in assets, have left the wirehouse to establish their own firm, Vincita Investment Partners, via Sanctuary Wealth. Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, the duo aims to leverage their extensive experience, with Norris having spent her entire nine-year career at Merrill and Marus having a decade at Merrill after a three-year tenure at Goldman Sachs. Both Marus and Norris bring not only financial expertise but also distinguished athletic backgrounds to their new venture; Marus is a former U.S. Olympic trials swimmer, and Norris is an all-American lacrosse player and coach. The name Vincita translates to "winning" or "victory" in Italian. The new firm will cater to business owners, C-suite executives, and many others. Both Marus and Norris hold a combination of designations which include CEPA, CPWA, CRPC, CFP, and CPFA respectively. 

A trio of Wells Fargo advisors, Erick Simonds, Eugene Sninski II, and Lisa Sninski, have joined ` Financial, bringing with them $250 million in managed assets. The team is set to operate under the name Windward Wealth Advisors in Brick, New Jersey.They chose the name Windward Wealth Advisors as a nautical tribute, symbolizing the skill and adaptability required in both sailing and financial advising. The team, consisting of Simonds and the Sninski siblings, has a long-standing professional relationship, with Simonds and Eugene Sninski collaborating for 17 years before Lisa Sninski joined them three years ago. Simonds holds a CRPC designation. The move is part of a trend of advisors transitioning from Wells Fargo to LPL Financial. 

Ashton Thomas Private Wealth has added a $300 million advisory team, known as the Confluence Team. The team is based out of Colorado. The team is led by Angela Johnson and Doug May, both of whom were previously associated with WealthSource. Johnson joined WealthSource in 2021, and May has been with the firm since 2016. Accompanying Johnson and May in the move to Ashton Thomas are an additional advisor, an investment analyst, and two client service associates. Johnson and May had been running separate practices at WealthSource but had sought to unite their efforts under a new firm. Ashton Thomas was among the top choices for Johnson and May due to the wealth solutions and supportive environment it offers. The addition of the Confluence Team marks the establishment of Ashton Thomas's second team and third office in Colorado. This move signifies Ashton Thomas's strategic growth and its appeal to high-performing advisory teams looking for supportive and aligned platforms.

Kestra Financial has added Borger Financial Services, a wealth management firm from the New York Metro area. Borger is led by Debra Clark and co-principal Lawrence Elie Borger and manages approximately $600 million in assets. The firm also has offices in Connecticut and New Jersey. Debra Clark began her career in 1989 when she started with First Albany Corporation. She also had stints at four different firms before joining Hornor, Townsend & Kent in 2010. Clark specializes in managing portfolios for high net worth individuals, sole proprietors and small businesses. In addition, she holds a CFP designation and FINRA Series 7, 63 and 65 registrations. Lawrence on the other hand, entered the industry in 2003 and joined Clark at Hornor, Townsend & Kent in 2010. Lawrence provides comprehensive financial planning to business owners, professionals and corporate executives. Before switching into the finance sector, Borger practiced corporate law for fortune 500 companies. Clark and Borger switched to Kestra back in October 2023 with Clark in Connecticut and Borger in the New Jersey office, respectively. 

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A group of financial advisors from Merrill Lynch in Birmingham, Alabama, has shifted to Dynasty Financial Partner. Through this transition, the advisors have formed Fairvoy Private Wealth. The team comprises Senior Wealth Advisors Stephen Davis, Neal Carroll, Ashley Davis, and H. Alan Word, Private Wealth Advisor Claudia Johnston, and Associate Wealth Advisor Alma Maric. Together, they managed $550 million in assets while at Merrill Lynch. Neal Carroll and Ashley Davis started their careers at Merrill Lynch in 2003 and 2007. Collectively, the duo holds CFP, CPWA, CPFA, CPA, and CRPC destinations. Carroll and Davis also serve as the firm's Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, respectively. Stephen Davis has been in the financial industry since 1998, spending the majority of his career at Merrill Lynch. H. Alan Word entered the finance sector in 1976 and joined Merrill Lynch in 2013. Claudia Johnston began her career at Goldman Sachs in 2004 before moving to Merrill Lynch in 2010. Alma Maric registered as a broker and investment advisor with Merrill Lynch in 2023, but has extensive knowledge having worked at Morgan Stanley and Dicover as a Customer Service Representive. Fairvoy Private Wealth has chosen Fidelity as its custodian in this new phase of independence.

David Gottlieb, an advisor with a specialty in real estate, has joined Savvy Advisors after previously working at Prosperity, known before as EisnerAmper Wealth Management. With a background in managing diverse real estate portfolios, including industrial, office, retail, and multifamily properties, Gottlieb brings a unique expertise to Savvy's network. He was drawn to Savvy by the firm's advanced technology infrastructure which will support his approach to managing real estate investments. Gottlieb will be based in West Orange, NJ. The partnership between Gottlieb and Savvy Advisors is expected to create investment solutions tailored for clients in the real estate sector. Prior to Prosperity, Gottlieb had stints that included time at Morgan Stanley and Ameriprise. He also holds APMA and CRPS designations, respectively.

Kingsview Partners has added a trio of financial advisors from Edward Jones to join their team in Greensboro, North Carolina. The advisors, Greer Ducker, Jeff Champigny, and Lisa Rosenberg, specialize in retirement, charitable giving, and estate planning, with a particular focus on multigenerational wealth management. They will be joining Kingsview as partners. Greer Ducker has been with Edward Jones since the beginning of his career in the financial services industry in 1999. This long tenure has given him substantial experience. Jeff Champigny started his financial services career at Merrill Lynch in 2017, later moving to Edward Jones in 2022. Lisa Rosenberg, wife of Greer, began her career as a broker and investment advisor just last year, registering with Edward Jones in July. Their move to Kingsview marks a significant transition and is poised to enhance the services Kingsview offers to its clients in North Carolina.

Wealth Enhancement Group has named three leadership roles including a new Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Investment Officer, and Chief Product Officer. They have hired Jim Cahn, Michael Fredericks and Dan Stampf to assume these roles, respectively. Michael Fredericks has taken over the role of chief investment officer, following his previous role as Managing Director and Head of Income Investing at BlackRock. In his new position, he is responsible for the investment process at Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services and for maintaining the quality of investment offerings for clients. Fredericks began his career in the finance industry in 1999 with Baring Investment Services and had a stint at JPMorgan Asset Management before joining BlackRock. Dan Stampf has been appointed as the Chief Product Officer at Wealth Enhancement Group. Prior to this role, he served as a Vice President at Empower and has also held positions at Fisher Investments and Personal Capital. His duties at Wealth Enhancement include overseeing financial and estate planning, tax strategies, and other client services. Fredericks will report directly to Jim Cahn, who was appointed as the chief strategy officer and chair of the investment committee. Cahn was formerly the chief investments and business development officer at Wealth Enhancement. 

A six-person advisory team from Morgan Stanley, managing approximately $1.2 billion in assets, has transitioned to Wells Fargo. The team, known as the AGR Group, is based in Beverly Hills, California and includes Advisors Lisa Amster, Gerald "Jerry" Gallagher, and Larry Roth, as well as Wealth Managers Michael Blood, Kelly Drinan, and Sammy Elguindi. They were previously at Morgan Stanley for about a decade after joining from Barclays Capital in 2014. At Morgan Stanley, they provided a range of services such as advice on corporate stock plans, pre-liquidity planning, risk management, and wealth education. The team will now report to Phil Winterson and Paul Vannuki at Wells Fargo. Amster, Gallagher, and Roth have extensive experience in the finance industry, with 21, 23, and 22 years respectively. Gallagher and Roth have previously worked together at UBS, Merrill Lynch, and Northern Trust Securities before joining Barclays, where they were joined by Amster. Michael Blood and Kelly Drinan, who have 19 and 20 years of experience respectively, also moved with the group from Barclays to Morgan Stanley. Blood had prior experience at Citigroup Global Markets, and Drinan at Goldman Sachs. Sammy Elguindi is the newest member of the industry, having been at Morgan Stanley since 2016.

Matthew Gotlin has been appointed as the Chief Investment Officer of Choreo. Gotlin recently joined the firm in November 2023 after its recent acquisition of the affiliated wealth management business of BDO USA. In his new role, Gotlin will lead a team focused on developing client-centric investment solutions and conducting research on various aspects of the financial markets, including both public and private markets, and economic trends. Gotlin brings a wealth of experience to the position, having previously served as Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at BDO USA. Prior to BDO, he was the Director of Research at Biegel & Waller. He also co-founded March Capital, a private equity firm targeting the lower middle market. He holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation and has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an undergraduate degree from Duke University. 

LPL Financial has added a trio of financial advisors Greg Mullaney, Colleen Kelly Abate, and Peter Pagano to its platform. The team, previously with Ameriprise Financial, reported managing approximately $300 million in assets. With their transition, they have launched Somnio Wealth, an independent financial practice located in Louisville, Kentucky.The name "Somnio Wealth" derives from the Latin word for "to dream," reflecting the firm's mission to aid clients in achieving the American Dream. The firm's colors, red, white, and blue, further emphasize this focus. Greg Mullaney serves as the Chief Executive Officer and a Private Wealth Advisor. Mullaney has over 15 years in the financial services industry and obtains a CFP designation. Colleen Kelly works as a financial advisor for Somnio Wealth. Before joining LPL Financial, she served as a financial advisor at ARGI Financial Group and worked in various roles within foreign services. During this time, she learned Spanish and studied French and Chinese. Similar to Mullaney, she also holds a CFP designation. 

Matt Dmytryszyn has been appointed as the new Chief Investment Officer of Miracle Mile Advisors, a Los Angeles-based RIA managing approximately $5.1 billion in assets. He replaces Peter Lowden, who has taken on the role of CIO at Syon Capital, San Francisco-based  a wealth management firm. Lowden's registration as an investment advisor with Miracle Mile ended on January 26 of this year. Dmytryszyn joins from Telemus Capital, where he served as CIO for nearly three years and was part of the team for over five years. Telemus Capital is supported by Focus Financial Partners. Before his tenure at Telemus, Dmytryszyn worked at LaSalle Street Capital Management, Russell Investments, and Piper Jaffray. Matt holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Outside of work, he is very active in the community, serving on the board of directors of Bridge Communities, and is a member of the Village of Downers Grove Planning Commission. 

Financial advisors Alejandro "Alex" De Leon and Robert "Bob" Gorman have joined LPL Financial from Wells Fargo. With this transition, the duo has established their own independent firm, Spotlight Financial, managing about $200 million in assets. Spotlight Financial is based in Corpus Christi, Texas. Alejandro "Alex" De Leon has been in the financial industry for over 20 years and also an active member of his community, where he serves as the President of the Corpus Christi Literary Reading Series. Bob Gorman is a seasoned financial advisor with 32 years in the industry. Their new venture aims to enhance client experiences with a strong emphasis on financial education and transparency. 

Taimur "Tam" Baig, seasoned financial advisor specializing in serving technology and biotechnology professionals, has moved from Morgan Stanley to join Raymond James & Associates in California. He will operate as Be Wealth Efficient, in which he brings $130 million in assets from Morgan Stanely. Baig started his financial services career at Merrill Lynch in 2009. He worked for seven years at Wells Fargo and then spent eight years at Morgan Stanley. In 2024, he founded Be Wealth Efficient at Raymond James. Additionally, Baig has served in the United States Marine Corps.

Stifel Financial has acquired a team of advisors from Wells Fargo Advisors, which manages $395 million in assets. The team, based in Omaha, Nebraska, operates under the name Robino Private Wealth Management Group and consists of advisors Michael Robino and Brett Becker, Senior Client Associate Michelle Hattam, and Marketing Associate Katie Swanson. Robino's career in the financial industry began in 1994 at Financial Network Investment Corp., and he has also been associated with Wells Fargo. Michael earned the CFP certification and has built a practice that emphasizes strong client relationships, in-depth customization, and committed service. Brett Becker started his career in 2014 with Waddell & Reed and has worked with Insight Securities and Wells Fargo. Brett’s primary role is supporting Mike with client portfolios and works closely in wealth management. Brett holds both CFA and CAIA designations. Michelle Hattam has been in the industry since 1998, with registrations at Ameritrade, Scottrade, and multiple stints at Wells Fargo. Katie Swanson brings over nine years of experience from her tenure at Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo has added a high-profile team of financial advisors from JPMorgan, consisting of Jeremy Schneider, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Langbert, and Roy Apple. Operating under the name Rizzo, Apple, Schneider, and Langbert Group, they are now part of Wells Fargo's bank channel in Palm Beach, Florida. The team was responsible for managing over $1.3 billion in assets at JPMorgan. They also generated more than $9.3 million in trailing 12-month production prior to their transition. Each member brings a wealth of experience: Schneider began in the financial services industry in 1996 an equity trader in the oil services sector. Anthony Rizzo since 1995 and prior to joining Wells Fargo, he previously managed growth, balanced and ETF portfolios as a member of J.P. Morgan Wealth Management Portfolio Manager Program. Roy Apple has over 30 years of financial services experience, including a background in both fixed income and equities since 1986. All three originally joined JPMorgan from Deutsche Bank Securities in 2014. Brett Langbert started his career in 1997 and moved to JPMorgan in 2018 from AllianceBernstein. 

Clayton Ortloff, a former Merrill Lynch advisor, has launched Heritage Private Wealth, an independent firm, in collaboration with LPL Financial. Based in his hometown of Midland, Texas, Ortloff is deeply connected to the community, offering insights into the local financial landscape. Since beginning his career in financial services in 2007 with Merrill Lynch, he has accumulated a significant clientele, managing around $800 million in assets, primarily for high-net-worth, multigenerational families in the oil and gas industry. Ortloff offers a range of wealth management services, including diversification strategies, management of concentrated stock positions, legacy planning, and charitable giving. Beyond his professional life, he is committed to his community, actively participating in charity work and local volunteer efforts. His team at Heritage Private Wealth includes Director of Client Relations Gloria Folsom, and Wealth Manager Assistants Allison Gordon and Rachael Sawyer.

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LPL Financial has recruited a team of financial advisors from PNC Investments. The advisors, Chris Mukoda, Brad Travis Jr., and David Crouse, have opened their own independent practice, Sussex Wealth Partners, based in Lewes, Delaware. As part of their move, they will also align with Momentum Wealth Partners, an existing LPL firm. The team previously managed approximately $415 million in assets at PNC. Chris Mukoda, who began his career in the financial services industry in 1993, had been with PNC since 2004. Throughout his career, Chris has made significant contributions to well-known financial firms, including Dean Witter, Charles Schwab, TD Waterhouse prior to joining PNC. Chris is also a huge Philadelphia sports fan. David Crouse also started with PNC in 2004 but began his career in the industry even earlier, in 1989. Bringing over three decades of industry experience, David is adept at foreseeing market shifts, mitigating risks, and seizing opportunities, empowering clients to embrace retirement with assurance. Outside of work, Crouse indulges in outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and yard work. Brad Travis began his career in 2006 with JPMorgan before moving to PNC later the same year. For 15 of those years, Brad has been directly advising clients on their financial planning and investment needs.  Outside of work, Brad likes to give back to his community through service on the Beebe Medical Foundation Board of Directors and on the alumni advisory council to his college fraternity. Brad is also a CFP in Sussex County, Delaware. 

Daniel Applegarth has left Orion Advisor Solutions to join Carson Group as the new Chief Financial Officer after a significant tenure of 18 years at Orion. During his time at Orion, Applegarth was responsible for overseeing financial operations within the firm’s advisory technology and wealth management divisions. Following his departure, Jeff Goeser, Orion's Executive Vice President of Finance, will step in as the interim finance leader. Orion is actively conducting an external search to find a permanent replacement for Applegarth. Carson Group has made multiple strategic hires recently, including bringing on former Envestnet executive Dani Fava as Chief Strategy Officer. These additions come at a time when Carson Group is expanding; the company currently manages $35.5 billion in assets. It also supports 50,000 families and operates through a network of 150 advisory partners. 

LPL Financial has welcomed back financial advisor Justin Souma. Managing around $190 million in assets, Souma has rejoined LPL Financial after a stint at Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. Upon his return, he launched Hickory Ridge Wealth Advisors, an independent financial advisory firm based in Highlands, N.C. Hickory Ridge Wealth Advisors provides extensive investment planning and wealth management services tailored to individuals, multigenerational families, non-profits, and corporations. In this venture, Souma is assisted by Client Services Associate Barbara Fish. His career began in 2004 with A.G. Edwards & Sons in Charlotte, NC. Beyond his professional role, Souma is deeply involved in his community, having served on the boards of several non-profit organizations.

Kip Johansen and Patrick Wight have recently joined Cetera Advisor Networks through AdvisorNet Financial as part of Mill City Financial Partners, which oversees more than $135 million in assets. Johansen, with 25 years in the field, holds various Series registrations and is an active member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. His hobbies include basketball, teaching, golf, and spending quality time with his family. Wight brings over two decades of experience in the financial industry, also holding multiple Series registrations. He participates in the Minnesota chapter of Chartered Market Technicians and Kingdom Advisors, which emphasizes investments aligned with personal values. Additionally, Wight serves on several non-profit boards and enjoys playing piano, fly fishing, hunting, and family time. Together, Johansen and Wight bring a wealth of experience and a commitment to personalized financial planning and investment advice. Their diverse professional backgrounds and personal interests are poised to enrich their roles at Mill City Financial Partners, enhancing client strategies in financial planning and investments.

Raymond James has welcomed Sloane Fox, a financial advisor previously with Merrill Lynch, to join their independent advisor channel. Fox established Sloane Financial Planning in Tampa. During her tenure at Merrill Lynch, she and her team oversaw roughly $125 million in client assets. Tracie Bailey, a Registered Client Service Associate, will join Sloane Fox at the newly established Sloane Financial Planning. The firm will cater to a diverse clientele including families, individuals, women investors, and clients who are nearing or have reached retirement. Fox's career in the financial services sector began in 1997. She initially joined Merrill Lynch in 1999, working out of New York. After a stint at Citigroup Global Markets beginning in 2001, Fox returned to Merrill Lynch in 2007, this time operating out of Tampa. Sloane also earned CFP, CRPC and ADPA designations. 

LPL Financial has added Strategic Wealth Partners, who was previously affiliated with Lincoln Financial. The team from Strategic Wealth Partners, which manages around $860 million in assets, is based in Dallas with an additional office in Minden, Louisiana.Ryan Rayburn, the owner of Strategic Wealth Partners, has 25 years of experience in financial planning. Throughout his career, Rayburn has held various leadership roles and has been actively involved in recruitment and mentorship before deciding to focus more directly on working with individuals and multi-generational families. Ryan and the SWP team are passionate about giving back to local Dallas charities and strengthening the community by regularly supporting HopeKids and Jonathan’s Place. He is supported by R.E. “Mike” Woodard III, also a CFP, and a six-member office staff. Woodard has provided wealth management and financial planning solutions for more than 47 years, beginning his career with Lincoln Financial Group. Woodard is also passionate about giving back to the community.  He focuses his time on numerous local non-profit and charitable organizations, namely The Minden Foundation, Minden St. Jude, and Project Reclaim. Together, they offer personalized financial planning and investment analysis services.

Melissa Holding has been named the new director of wealth management at Huntington National Bank, with her appointment taking effect on May 1. She takes over from Michael Robinson, who retires after a 40-year career in banking, including 12 years with Huntington. Holding will manage various aspects of the division, including private banking, wealth management, legacy planning, as well as investment and portfolio management, fiduciary administration, trust services, institutional custody services, and retail brokerage investments. Previously, Holding was the director of the mass affluent client segment at Huntington, where she oversaw the unit’s strategic direction, business outcomes, and expansion. She joined Huntington in January, following a four-year term as head of premier banking at Truist, and before that, she spent more than twenty years in wealth leadership positions at BB&T. Huntington, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio and founded in 1877, operates around 970 branches across 11 states. The bank manages assets totaling $194 billion and offers a range of services including banking, payments, wealth management, and risk management to a diverse clientele that includes individuals, small and mid-sized businesses, corporations, municipalities, and other organizations.

Acquisitions & RIAs:

EP Wealth Advisors has acquired Wacker Wealth Partners, adding 22 team members and approximately $1.2 billion in managed assets. This acquisition enables EP to establish a presence in Central California, bridging their existing operations in Northern and Southern California. Wacker Wealth Partners was founded in 1988 by Founder Bob Wacker, who recently passed away in February. The Wacker team is known for serving 700 households and 27 institutional clients across various industries. The former CEO of Wacker, Ryan Caldwell, has been appointed as EP's new regional director for Central California, while Bryan Krill, the former President and COO, will serve as associate regional director. The deal marks EP's second major acquisition in 2024, indicating a continued growth trajectory. The integration aims to provide Wacker's advisors and staff with more tools and support, facilitating further growth and development.

Creative Planning has acquired ML&R Wealth Management, a move that marks its first deal of the year. ML&R Wealth Management manages $2.2 billion in assets for a diverse clientele, including individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits. The acquisition brings 18 new employees to Creative Planning, enriching its team with six additional advisors. ML&R’s operates out of Austin and Round Rock, expanding Creative Planning's geographic footprint.

Sequoia Financial has acquired Houston-based AltruVista, a wealth management firm with approximately $310 million in assets. AltruVista was established in 2009 by Ali Nasser and specializes in serving affluent business owners and families. The firm is well-regarded for its comprehensive financial planning and wealth management services. AltruVista offers its clients a tailored service model which includes a range of services encompassing business and family succession planning, advanced investment strategies, liquidity and cash flow management, asset protection, risk management, lifestyle and legacy planning, lifetime tax strategy, and coordination with external advisors.This acquisition marks Sequoia's inaugural entry into the Houston market. 

Stratos Private Wealth, part of Stratos Wealth Partners, has expanded by adding two new offices. These additions mark the first expansion since the division's launch last year. Heald Financial Advisors in Marlton, New Jersey, and Claricity Wealth & Planning in Purchase, New York, are the newly incorporated offices. These will be rebranded as Stratos Private Wealth – South Jersey and Stratos Private Wealth – Westchester, respectively. Both locations will provide wealth planning, retirement planning, and estate, tax, and trust strategy services tailored to high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the announcement. Following the expansion, Stratos Private Wealth will manage a combined $1.7 billion in investment advisory assets. The company aims to continue its growth by establishing key offices in major markets such as Texas, Boston, and Arizona. Stratos Wealth Partners, the parent company, oversees more than $11.8 billion in advisory assets. The expansion strategy includes avoiding multiple offices in one area and instead spreading out strategically across the country.

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Waverly Advisors has acquired McShane Partners, a Charlotte-based investment advisory firm, marking its third acquisition in 2024. This latest transaction increases Waverly's assets by approximately $700 million. McShane, established in 1985, was one of the first fee-only RIAs in Charlotte and is known for its boutique approach to investment management and financial planning. Daniele Donahoe, CEO and Partner, joined the firm in 2010. Prior to McShane Partners, Daniele was with Columbia Management, as a Senior Portfolio Manager she co-managed the Columbia Small Cap Growth II fund. She also holds a CFA designation. The acquisition is part of Waverly's expansion strategy following equity investments from Wealth Partners Capital Group and HGGC's Aspire Holdings in December 2021. The financial and legal specifics of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Apella Capital has acquired ClearLogic Financial, a Reston, Virginia-based RIA managing $464 million in assets. This transaction marks Apella's seventeenth acquisition and notably, its sixth since partnering with Wealth Partners Capital Group (WPCG) in 2021. The financial specifics of the deal were not disclosed to the public. ClearLogic Financial was founded by Mark Atherton and was initially registered under the name Ticknor Atherton & Associates in 2004. The firm underwent a rebranding to ClearLogic in January 2015. It primarily provides financial advisory services to professionals and pre-retirees across both public and private sectors. Clearlogic is made up of an 8-person team. As of March 2024, Apella Capital managed approximately $3.8 billion in assets. 

New York-based Hybrid RIA, Steward Partners, acquires its first two RIA acquisitions made through its new mergers & acquisitions division. This model was established in December of 2023 and has since spurred significant growth. The firm has agreed to acquire Monaco Capital in Virginia Beach, VA, with $175 million in assets, and Saling Simms in Columbus, OH, managing $314 million. Monaco Capital will integrate into one of Steward's existing Virginia Beach offices, while Saling Simms will establish Steward's first presence in Columbus. Both acquired firms were previously utilizing Raymond James’s custody platform. The advisors from both Monaco Capital and Saling Simms, including President Jim Saling and Vice President Brent Simms of Saling Simms, will join Steward as employees and equity partners. This move is part of the integration into Steward’s Freedom Street entity. With these acquisitions, Steward Partners now manages approximately $32 billion in assets and collaborates with over 200 independent advisors nationwide.

Wealth Enhancement Group (WEG) has bolstered its operations in Maryland with the acquisition of Lynch Retirement Investment Group, now its fourth location in the state and its third acquisition this year. Lynch Retirement Investment Group, a hybrid RIA based in Columbia, MD, manages $502 million in assets and has been active since 1990. Formerly affiliated with Raymond James, the team is led by Managing Director John Lynch. John, who brings over 31 years of experience in finance and financial services, is supported by two other advisors, including Andrew Fentress, and three support staff members. With a focus on retirement planning for over 24 years, John has collaborated with numerous Fortune 500 companies to guide their employees in creating effective retirement investment strategies. Beyond his professional commitments, John dedicates his time to community service as a board member of Bethesda Cares, an organization committed to addressing homelessness.

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Written By: John Washington, Data Research Analyst

John Washington is the Data Research Analyst at Dakota.