At least seven advisors have left Convergent Wealth Advisors in the wake of former CEO David Zier's suicide.
"It's mayhem," a former Convergent advisor who spoke on condition of anonymity said of the mood at the firm -- where, he said, many advisors are "looking for their plan B."
Convergent's newly named CEO, Douglas Wolford, said via email Monday that the firm's executives "are disappointed at [the departing advisors'] decision, but it's not going to affect our ability to meet the needs of our clients.
"We have a terrific team in place and all of the resources we need to provide clients with the best-in-class service and advice they've come to expect from Convergent," Wolford said.
The firm's most recent ADV filing, filed Nov. 4 -- before the most recent round of departures -- says the firm has 45 investment advisor representatives. Much of the firm's ultrahigh-net-worth team has departed, however, say multiple sources, all of whom declined to be identified.
Four advisors -- including Steve Aucamp, who ran Convergent's ultrahigh-net-worth division for clients with more than $10 million in assets, along with Brian Pierson, Samantha Dean and Brad Lackey -- left the firm to open a new Presidio Group office in Washington, D.C.
It's unclear how much Aucamp and his group managed. The November ADV filing put Convergent's assets at more than $8.4 billion, including $2.3 billion in non-discretionary assets.
Three other advisors also have left the firm -- the wealth management arm of Los Angeles-based City National Bank -- since Zier's death on Oct. 15.
Gregory Blake last week joined WMS Partners in Towson, Md.; and last month, Max Meltzer joined Convergent rival Highline Wealth Management in Rockville, Md., and Denis O'Sullivan joined Hemington Wealth Management in Tysons, Va. (Indeed, while Meltzer's bio on the Highline website cites his time at Convergent, his LinkedIn profile makes no mention of it, simply showing a three-year gap before his arrival at Highline.)
When asked how losing so many advisors could fail to affect client service, Wolford declined to respond.
City National did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
Aucamp and Pierson -- who will both run the new Presidio office as managing directors -- along with Lackey represented almost the entire ultrahigh-net-worth practice at Convergent, according to a different former Convergent advisor, who said that Dean worked with both ultrahigh-net-worth and HNW clients.
All Convergent advisors have noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements in place, said two former Convergent employees who asked not to be named.
Yet Aucamp, who practiced law for several years before shifting into first estate planning and then wealth management, is likely to fight aggressively to break those agreements, one of the former employees said.
On the same day as the Aucamp group's departures, Convergent also announced that its founding CEO, Steve Lockshin, had stepped down as chairman. Lockshin had brought Zier into the company.
Sometime before Zier's death, Wolford says, Convergent had asked the SEC, FINRA and the Maryland State Securities Division to look into "irregularities" in a fund that Zier ran outside of his Convergent responsibilities.
- Lockshin Steps Down as Convergent Chairman
- After Apparent CEO Suicide, 'Sharks Circling' Firm
- Convergent Client Funds Safe After CEO's Apparent Suicide, Chairman Says