December 2022 Financial Advisor and RIA Moves and Acquisitions

The last month of 2022 did not disappoint from an activity basis as many RIAs, FAs and acquisitions took place ahead of the FINRA holiday shutdown which occurred on December 22 through year end.

As many who have experienced a transition in the past, the planning a move requires detail around timing and the regulatory filings which are needed so you are not stuck in a grey zone during a transition.

We saw the fruits of Merill’s recruiting push bear fruit in the last month of the year, however it was not enough to offset that they had lost the largest amount of assets during 2022.  As Merill’s recruiting push began in October, Morgan Stanley’s ended which was apparent in the transitions during the month as both Wells and Merrill took advantage of. 

On a net assets basis, none of the major national wires ( MS, UBS, ML and Wells) gained assets during the year, while LPL, Rockefeller and Cetera were the top three winners in terms of net assets on the year. 


Commonwealth Financial Network announced their intentions to purchase minority stakes in dually registered practices who currently clear through them.  They intend to keep their stakes at 40% or below.  This mirrors what other national independent firms such as LPL and Cetera have done in 2022.

Ryan Financial Group based in Hibbing, MN and includes FAs: Jack Ryan,John Ryan, III, Greg Stalsberg, Tony Wilson and Ryan Wahlund who manage $750 M AUM, have joined Commonwealth Financial Network.  The Team was previously with Lincoln Financial Group.

Trudy Leen, Ashley Scribner and Dara Fogg with $140 M AUM based in Seattle, WA have joined the Pillar Financial Group, part of Northwestern Mutual. They were previously with LPL. 

Scott LoPresti and Dean DiPierro in Coton on Hudson, NY who manage $500 M AUM have joined Lincoln Financial Network.  The team had been with LPL. 

Jeremy McChesney, Marci Rosenfeld, Jim Morehouse, Todd Duncan, and Jessica Huang whose team manages $1.25 B AUM, has joined Frist Republic in Palo Alto, CA and departed Wells Fargo. First Republic has recruited 13 teams managing over $12B during 2022

The Schmitt Group which is led by Steven Schmitt and Terence Belfor based in Beverly Hills, CA who manage $365 M AUM has joined Raymond James.  The Team specializes in serving the LGBTQ community and was previously with Morgan Stanley. 

Twin River Wealth Management in Selinsgrove, PA had joined Prospera. Led by Thayer "Terry" Potter, the team is brining $180 M AUM with them from Wells Fargo. 

Commerce Financial Advisors, the advisor unit of mid-west based Commerce Bank, is joining the LPL institutional platform. Approximately, 30 advisors managing $4.5 B AUM will be brought to the LP platform with the transition.

Tim Truebenbach has joined LPL in Tacoma, WA under True Private Wealth Powered by LPL Financial managing $350 M AUM. He was previously with Morgan Stanley. 

Financial House has joined LPL’s dually registered RIA/BD platform. The team is based in Centreville, DE manages $650 M AUM and is led by Joseph Biloon, Robert Griesemer and Emily Woodson . They were previously with Lincoln Financial. 

Menninger & Associates Financial Planning in Norristown, PA has joined LPL’s dually registered RIA/BD platform. The team is led by Michael Menninger and manages $155 M AUM. They were previously with Cetera.  

DA Davidson opened two new offices in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, NC as they brought on board Hilary Kosloske and Rick Class managing $465 M AUM.  Both advisors came from Truist.

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Sara McCue has joined UBS in Las Vegas, NV with $145 M AUM.  She was previously with Merrill Lynch. 

Morgan Stanley acquired the remnants of retirement focused robo advisor “ Bloom” that recently went bankrupt.  They were based in Kansas City, KS with $5 B AUM and mainly used ETFs and index funds as part of its process. 

Roei R. Gigi has joined Morgan Stanley in Great Neck, NY managing $1B AUM. Gigi has left his producing manager role at Merrill Lynch and is ranked on the Forbes best in State list. 

Ira Hershkowitz, Matthew Westphal, Erin C. Westphal, and Ryan Clemens based in Bellevue, WA who manage $1.7 B AUM have joined Morgan Stanley. The team is ranked on the Forbes Best in State list and typically target clients with a $1 million minimum.  They were previously with Merrill Lynch.  

Wesley T. Crowley has joined Morgan Stanley in the Cleveland, OH office managing $550 M AUM. His team includes five additional advisors (Edward B. (Ned) Siegler, Dominic B. Najem, Michael R. Brennan and Alishia Hussain) and has been named to the Best in State list.  They departed Merrill Lynch noting frustrations with grid changes over the years 

Joining the same Morgan Stanley office in Cleveland, was Craig Leone who brought $300 M AUM with him after departing Merrill Lynch.  

Frank A. Falco, Kevin C. Condon, John R. Huber and Alexandra Maksimow, of Great Neck, NY who manage $1B AUM have joined Merrill Lynch.  The Team was previously with Citi Private Bank and continues the trend of salaried bank based brokage teams moving to true FA focused firms. 

Scott Nash based in Bala Cynwyd, PA has joined Merrill Lynch under the team name “Nash Wealth Management Group”, departing Janney. 

Lane Wilson and Teri Miller have joined Merrill Lynch in Huntsville, AL and will operate in their bank broker division. The duo manage $180 M AUM and are coming from Morgan Stanley where they were part of the Monte Sano Group. 

Jeff Sartaine has joined Merrill Lynch in Huntington, WV and will be part of the “community markets” program at ML.  He is brining $160 M AUM with him in his move from Morgan Stanley. 

Steven Esposito based in Lake Forest, IL and manages $435 M AUM has joined Wells Fargo FINET division.  Esposito is ranked on the Forbes Best in State list and was previously with Morgan Stanley 

Roni Murshad is also joining Wells Fargo FINET in Gaithersburg, MD outside of DC brining $80 M AUM with him from Morgan Stanley. 

Wells recruiting from Morgan Stanley continued as Howard Lee and Terri Lane joined the Westlake Village, CA office with $400 M AUM. 

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Acquisitions and New RIAs: 

Bridgecreek Investment Management who manages $1B in Tulsa, OK has been purchased by Hub International. Bridgecreek’s practice has concentrated on multi-generational families, corporations and foundations.   Hub has been very acquisitive in 2022 overall, this marking the 42nd as they continue to add wealth management capabilities to their insurance brokerage base. 

Cherry Bekaert Wealth Management based in Richmond, VA has been purchased out of their accounting firm parent, by Choreo (PE backed).  Cherry Bekaert manages $560 M in discretionary and $435 M in advisory.  Cherry Bekaert Wealth Management manages roughly $569m in client assets and advises on another $435m. 

Spectrum Wealth Management in Indianapolis, IN who is led by Leslie Thompson, has joined Focus Financial bringing $977 M AUM to the firm.  This is the sixth transaction for Focus in 2022.

In one of the rarer moves, a new RIA was launched from the ground up by Dynasty Financial Partners in Radnor, PA called Nordwand Capital. Jim Martin, previously with Morgan Stanley will lead the team with $5B AUM and focus on families with $100M or more.  The firm has chosen to custody assets with Fidelity 

BTR Capital Management an RIA led by Lewis Katcher based in Oakland, CA with $1B AUM has been purchased by WEG (PE backed).

Ginsburg Financial Advisors who manages $237 M AUM in Oakland, CA led by Larry P. Ginsburg has been purchased by WEG. 

Mercer had been very busy in the closing weeks of 2022.  The Asset Advisory Group led by Jeannette A. Jones in Cincinnati, OH with $370 M AUM has been purchased by Mercer Global Advisors (PE backed). 

Vintage Financial Services, an RIA managing $850 M AUM based in Ann Arbor, MI was purchased by Mercer Global Advisors. All 16 employees of Vintage will be joining Mercer. 

Resource Planning Group led by John E. Howard based in Atlanta, GA managing $325 M AUM was purchased by Mercer Global Advisors. 

Regis Management Company based in San Francisco, CA managing $5 B AUM has been purchased by Mercer Global Advisors. The RIA is led by Robert Burlinson, Peter Gifford, Stephen Donahue, Matthew Krensky, and Steven Go. Post these acquisitions, Merger Global’s AUM will be near $40 B AUM. 

Perennial Financial Services in Los Angeles, CA has purchased Ford Financial Group led by Brian Ullman and Ryan Louie in Fresno, CA with $860 M AUM.  Both firms were affiliated with LPL’s RIA unit and together will managed $1.9 hybrid RIA.  Ford will retain its firm name. 

Nauset Wealth Management LLC, an RIA with $330 M AUM in Westport, CT and a team of four FAs has been purchased by Perigon Wealth Management (PE backed) . They will also be opening up a new office in Atlanta, GA and brings their assets to $4 B AUM. 

Clintsman Financial Planning, led by Bryan Clintsman in the Dallas, TX and manages $509 M AUM has been purchased by Buckingham Strategic Wealth.  Buckingham is backed by Focus Financial. 

Davis & Seiley Wealth Management an RIA managing $189 M AUM in San Diego, CA led by Marc Davis and Joe Seiley has been purchased by Hoyle Cohen (backed by Focus Financial).  This will bring their AUM near $3.3 B post merger. For Focus, this is the 21st acquisition of the year.  

Sage Financial Advisors led by Brian Loy and based in Reno, NV with $194 M AUM was acquired by Wealthspire Advisors.  Wealthspire is part of NFP. 

Bernhardt Wealth Management based in McLean, VA led by Gordon Bernhardt and manages $750 M AUM has been purchased by Modera Wealth Management.  Modera is backed by TRIA Capital Partners. 

Ballast Rock Private Wealth based in Charleston, SC , has been established by splitting off from Ballast Rock Asset Management which focuses on alts for HNW clients.  The new RIA will have $220 M AUM mainly in established alts and attracted an additional $50 M in additional incoming assets since the split into their own practice. 

One of the larger acquisitions during the quarter was Willow Street, who is a trust company based in Jackson, WY with $35 B in AUM, was purchased by RIA Pathstone ( PE backed).  Wyoming is a popular state for trusts due to dynasty trust laws and Pathstone had been seeking a trust offering for UHNW clients. 

Diagonal Investment Office, has been launched as a new RIA in Miami, FL by Sanctuary Wealth.   They will be focusing on family office services to UHNW Latin American clients and have amassed $200 M AUM at the time of launch. 

Hayes Financial based in San Jose, CA has been purchased by Mariner Wealth Advisors. Hayes is led by Zachary Hayes and manages $325 M AUM and focuses on clients in the tech sector.  Post-acquisition, this is Mariner’s 81st office. 

For more information on moves and acquisitions, we'd love to offer you a free trial of Dakota Marketplace!

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Written By: Gui Costin, Founder, CEO

Gui Costin is the Founder and CEO of Dakota.