Merit Financial Advisors Partners with ClearBridge Wealth Management to Expand Presence in Atlanta


ATLANTA, Dec. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Merit Financial Advisors (“Merit”), a Georgia-based financial advisory firm that specializes in financial planning and wealth management solutions for high-net-worth individuals and families and those navigating life transitions, announced today it has acquired ClearBridge Wealth Management (“ClearBridge”). The firm, based in Atlanta, Georgia, will expand Merit’s existing presence in the region and increase assets by $300 million.

Founded by Preston Byers, CPA, CFP®, ClearBridge specializes in investment management and business and financial planning for individuals, families, and business owners. Preston has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and will join Merit as Wealth Manager and Partner along with ClearBridge’s operations and client support teams.

“My desire to join Merit was two-fold: first, Merit’s strong back-office support team and extensive technology suite will allow me more time to connect with my clients,” said Preston. “Second, the core values of our firms align, which was the primary reason for us to pursue this partnership.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Preston and his team to Merit,” said Kirk Wilkerson and Andy Lubben, Merit Regional Directors. “From our first meeting together, it was clear that Preston embraces a client-centric approach, which aligns with how the Merit team operates. We can’t wait to see what we will achieve together in Atlanta.”

This is Merit’s twenty-second acquisition since taking a minority investment in December 2020 from Wealth Partners Capital Group (“WPCG”) and a group of strategic investors led by HGGC’s Aspire Holdings platform. In August, Merit announced its acquisition of Reis Financial Services, LLC, which added approximately $178 million in assets and expanded Merit’s presence in Wisconsin.

“Preston has achieved remarkable success within the industry, largely due to his client-first mentality and commitment to providing his clients with quality wealth management solutions,” said Nick Trepp, Principal at WPCG. “Preston’s expertise and focus on client service complements Merit’s approach, and it is exciting to watch Merit build their Atlanta presence by partnering with such a talented advisor.”

The merger was finalized on December 1, 2023. Financial and legal terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About Merit Financial Advisors

Merit Financial Group, LLC, doing business as Merit Financial Advisors (“Merit”), is a national wealth management firm that supports both the independent broker-dealer and RIA models. Merit exists to enrich the lives of those they serve, and its mission is to revolutionize the client experience by building the RIA of the future. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Merit has over 40 offices throughout the U.S. and managed approximately $9 billion in assets as of September 30, 2023 ($6.4 billion in advisory, $2.36 billion in brokerage assets and $197 million in assets under advisement). 

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Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Merit Financial Group, LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. Merit Financial Group, LLC, Merit, Merit Financial Advisors are separate entities from LPL Financial.

About Wealth Partners Capital Group

Wealth Partners Capital Group (“WPCG”) is a financial services holding company, which invests in and partners with select leading wealth management firms. WPCG assists its partner firms by identifying and integrating like-minded registered investment advisors and financial advisors who are seeking access to expanded business capabilities, strategic growth and customized transition solutions. For more information, please visit

About HGGC

HGGC is a leading middle-market investment firm based in Palo Alto, Calif. with over $6.9 billion in cumulative capital commitments. HGGC is focused on partnerships with management teams, founders and sponsors who reinvest alongside HGGC, creating a strong alignment of interests. HGGC makes investments in RIAs via its Aspire Holdings platform, which is targeting $300 million of total investment in the space. More information is available at

SOURCE Merit Financial Advisors


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