RIA Roundup: Sunshine Private Wealth Joins Steward from Hightower


Steward Partners Global Advisory added the first team under its new RIA-only model as it moves to capture more mergers and acquisitions opportunities, while Allworth Financial named John Bunch to replace founders Scott Hanson and Pat McClain as CEO.

Wealth Enhancement Group, EP Wealth Advisors, Kestra Private Wealth Services and Gaddis Premier Wealth Advisors also announced new additions this week, and Pitcairn has promoted two employees to new executive positions as the family office prepares for the retirement of CEO Leslie Voth.

In other news of the week, Concurrent added the largest team in its history; tru Independence supported the launch of a $1.9 billion firm from Morgan Stanley; Rockefeller Global Family Office brought over teams from Janney Montgomery Scott and Wells Fargo; and an Atlanta team from MML joined Cetera,

Meanwhile, a host of advisors have left the Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management unit ahead of its sale to Creative Planningto join a new RIA formed by other Goldman PFM breakaways, launch their own practice or join other existing firms. The spate of departures has resulted in a flurry of legal action, as Goldman seeks to enforce non-compete agreements.

Sunshine Private Wealth Joins Steward Partners from Hightower

Steward Partners Global Advisory, an employee-owned partnership platform based in New York City, added its first team under a new investment advisory representative-only affiliation model.

Joining Steward from Hightower Advisors, Sunshine Private Wealth is led by Faiza Kedir and based in Sarasota, Fla., with around $170 million in managed assets. Kedir began her career with Bank of America before joining Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management on the Wells Fargo Financial Advisors Network in 2012 and picking up her investment advisor registration in 2014. She dropped her brokerage license in 2018 and operated as an advisor on the Landsberg Bennett ADV until the firm joined Hightower in 2021, according to federal filings.

Sunshine establishes Steward’s third office in Florida, where there are plans for further expansion.

“We are very excited to have Faiza as our newest partner and the first to choose our RIA-only, IAR offering, which we think is the gateway to the next chapter of Steward’s growth story,” said Jeff Gonyo, Steward’s Senior divisional president in the Southeast, in a statement.  

“We believe adding the investment advisory representative or “RIA-only” option to our total offering will make Steward even more attractive to independent advisors like Faiza because it offers regulatory, compliance and operational support,” he said. “Advisors not only continue to own their book of business but also are equity partners in the overall enterprise.”

Kedir said she had been looking around for years before finding Steward’s partnership model to be unparalleled.

“I will have the opportunity to offer fiduciary advice to my clients, while also allowing me to maximize the growth potential of my business and build a larger team,” she said. “Additionally, I’ll have the ability to market my firm and build my own brand with the support and resources of the entire company behind me.”

Launched in July 2013, Steward has grown assets from $50 million to around $30 billion over the last decade, primarily through the recruitment of wirehouse breakaways. The firm is backed by capital from Cynosure Group and the Pritzker Organization, as well as a $140 million credit facility, but remains majority owned by employees.

A hybrid RIA and broker/dealer with multiple affiliation models and custodians, CEO Jim Gold said about 84% of assets on the platform are under its RIA and added that “a number” of partners have simply chosen not to take advantage of the brokerage. The new IAR-only option was created to appeal to a wider range of potential fee-only recruits and RIAs as Steward looks to become more active in the mergers and acquisitions space.

“I want to make sure that we give a person as many options as possible to tell us yes,” Gold said.

Allworth Financial Names New CEO

Former Edelman Financial Engines executive John Bunch will replace founders Scott Hanson and Pat McClain as chief executive officer of Allworth Financial, the firm announced, effective Nov. 6.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have John join us to lead this great company through its next chapters of growth,” said Hanson. “Both Pat and I have known John for over a decade and there is no one better fit for this role than Bunch.”

Hanson and McClain will remain with Allworth in an advisory capacity and continue producing their Money Matters radio show. McClain will still head the firm’s mergers and partnerships division, while Hanson steps into the role of vice chairman. 

After growing Allworth to around $18 billion in managed assets over the last three decades, news that the pair would be stepping down broke this summer after the firm’s board of directors engaged executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help find a replacement.

Most recently in the role of chief financial services director for Evelyn Partners in London, Bunch spent more than a decade with Charles Schwab before joining TD Waterhouse in 2004 and becoming part of TD Ameritrade two years later. In 2012, he joined The Mutual Fund Store, where he was CEO until its acquisition by Edelman Financial Engines. At Edelman, he held the roles of executive vice president, chief operating officer and president. In 2019, he briefly took over as CEO of software company Veriship, now Sifted.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join the incredible folks at Allworth as we build one of the nation’s top financial advice firms,” Bunch said in a statement. “The independent advice model is clearly the platform of choice for consumers and Allworth has a phenomenal cadre of advisers and a superior team of associates.”

Allworth Financial comprises 34 offices in 18 states, providing investment management, tax planning and preparation, estate planning, and 401(k) management for some 23,000 clients. Among the fastest growing RIAs in the nation, the active acquirer has added more than $3 billion in assets in 2023.

Wealth Enhancement Group Snags Los Angeles Team Managing $373M

Minneapolis-based Wealth Enhancement Group added a three-person Los Angeles team managing about $373 million in the 12th deal the hybrid RIA has announced this year—bringing total acquired assets in 2023 to more than $5 billion.

KCS Wealth Advisory is led by Managing Partners Laura Gilman and Ken Waltzer, financial advisors who merged their individual practices in 2014. They are joined in the move by Senior Client Service Manager Gayle Fuhr, who served as director of compliance at KCS.

Gilman and Waltzer both cited the broader range of resources the partnership with WEG will provide, including extensive back office and administrative support, and an expanded menu of investment and planning options.

“At the same time, I feel confident that my clients will remain in excellent hands when I eventually retire,” said Waltzer. 

The new office, located a 10-minute walk from UCLA in LA’s Westwood neighborhood, represents WEG’s 17th California location and its third in the greater Los Angeles area.

Established in 1997, Wealth Enhancement Group oversees more than $70 billion in client, advisory, trust and brokerage assets for more than 55,000 households nationwide. Private equity firms TA Associates and Onex Partners both hold controlling shares in WEG, alongside management.

EP Wealth Buys 2 Firms Managing $191M

EP Wealth Advisors, among the nation’s largest pure RIAs with nearly $20 billion in managed assets, announced the firm’s third and fourth acquisitions of 2023—Marble Capital in California’s Bay Area and Foothills Financial Planning & Wealth Management in Phoenix, Ariz.

Managing $62.8 million in client assets, Marble Capital was founded in 1995 and wholly owned by Harry Kirsch, who is joining EP as a senior wealth advisor. Foothills Financial was launched in 2008 by Kevin O’Reilly, its sole owner and chief compliance officer, who joins EP as a senior vice president along with $128.4 million in managed assets.

Both firms expect to benefit from EP’s technology platform and suite of services around financial and retirement planning, as well as the firm’s investment management and research capabilities, according to an announcement. 

Headquartered in Torrance, Calif, EP Wealth has acquired 29 firms since 2017, when it received a minority investment from Wealth Partners Capital Group, and now comprises 32 offices across 12 states.

Kestra PWS Facilitates Georgia Tuck-In Recruit

Kestra Private Wealth Services, an Austin-based hybrid partnership platform owned by Kestra Financial, recruited an advisor from Edward Jones to join partner firm Inspired Wealth Planning in Cordele, Ga.

Helmed by President Ricky Smith, Inspired Wealth joined Kestra PWS in March and now oversees about $350 million in assets. Bob McCullough, who spent 27 years with Edward Jones, established a second office in Perry Ga., about a 40-minute drive from Cordele. He is joined by associates Kathy Duke and Katherine Moore, bringing the Inspired team to a total of six across both locations.

Longtime friends, Smith and McCullough are focused on providing bespoke financial planning for clients around milestones such as multi-generational planning, liquidity events, legacy strategies and longevity preparation.

“After witnessing the success Ricky achieved with the full support of Kestra Private Wealth Services, I’m confident joining the firm is beneficial for my career goals, the continued success of Inspired Wealth Planning, and the clients we serve,” said McCullough.

Following the sale of Grove Point Financial, with around $15 billion in client assets, to Atria Wealth Solutions early last month, the Kestra Financial ecosystem now comprises five subsidiary companies overseeing a collective $103 billion in assets, including $51 billion under management.

Majority owned by Warburg Pincus, Oak Hill Capital took over a minority stake in Kestra from Stone Point Capital last fall.

Leah Anne Brooks Joins Gaddis Premier Wealth Advisors from Osaic

Gaddis Premier Wealth Advisors recruited Leah Anne Brooks as a partner and advisor in the firm’s Durant, Okla. office. 

Brooks previously spent six years affiliated with Securities America, an Osaic subsidiary being rolled up into the new brand, as founder, manager and owner of Texoma Wealth Management. Prior to that, she was a financial consultant with Landmark Bank of Oklahoma for more than six years, during which time she was affiliated with Cetera and Raymond James, following 2 1/2 years as an advisor at Edward Jones.

Brooks also brings 15 years of experience in healthcare and non-profit administration, according to an announcement, and is designated as an accredited investment fiduciary, a certified plan fiduciary advisor and a behavioral financial advisor.

At GWPA, she will provide advisory service to clients in Durant and the surrounding area.

Formed in June 2022 through the merger of Gaddis & Gaddis Wealth Management in Ada, Okla., and Premier Investment Advisors in Denison, Texas, GWPA comprises 15 team members managing close to $227 million in assets for fewer than 1,000 clients. The firm has primary offices in Ada and Durant, and satellite locations in Ardmore, McAlester and Oklahoma City, Okla., as well as Denison.

Pitcairn Names New Head of Wealth Management as CEO Prepares to Step Down

Pitcairn, a century-old multifamily office based in Philadelphia, announced two executive promotions as CEO Leslie Voth prepares to move into the role of chairman after 30 years with the firm.

Effective immediately, J. Matthew McCarte oversees all relationship management teams in the role of managing director and head of wealth management and Managing Director Karen Carlson reports directly to McCarte as the firm’s new head of the ultra-high-net-worth relationship management team. They will work closely with new CEO Andrew Busser when he takes over from Voth in mid-November.

“Matt and Karen are both outstanding leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to delivering a client experience that is truly outstanding,” Busser said in a statement. “They are both experienced leaders who have contributed greatly to making Pitcairn the firm it is today and what we plan to become over the next hundred years. We are pleased to recognize their dedication, abilities, and contributions to Pitcairn’s success, and we congratulate them on this milestone.”

McCarte celebrated a quarter century at Pitcairn this year and Carlson has been with the firm for 13 years.

As a relationship management team leader, McCarte was focused on succession planning, generational wealth transfer, asset allocation and tax optimization in the development, implementation, and monitoring of financial plans for many ultra-high-net-worth families. He is a member of Pitcairn’s investment strategy committee, as well as the strategic leadership and family office leadership councils.

Carlson also sits on the strategic leadership and family office leadership councils, as well as the Pitcairn diversity, equity and inclusion council. Previously in the role of personal financial analyst, she will now be primarily responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of long-term financial plans for multi-generational families, with focus on asset allocation, portfolio management and tax planning.

Established in 1923 and incorporated as a trust company since 2000, Pitcairn has 73 employees, half of whom are women, and a fully open-architecture platform with more than $7 billion in advised assets. The firm has additional offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., as well as a presence in Florida.


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