The Buckingham empire has added another "thought leader" to its stable, picking up planner and women investor advocate Manisha Thakor.

Thakor will serve as director of wealth strategies for women for both Buckingham and its affiliated TAMP, BAM Advisor Services, which together manage or administer $24.7 billion in client assets.

"The thing that I'm most excited about is the combination of being an advocate for women investors," Thakor says, "and introducing them to the power of an evidence-based investment philosophy in the context of true wealth management."

In joining the firms, Thakor is merging her existing practice, MoneyZen Wealth Management in Santa Fe, N.M., and its $30 million in AUM (according to recent SEC filings), into St. Louis, Mo.-based Buckingham.

Although she says she plans to keep the MoneyZen brand, she will be shutting down the RIA and suspending her own work with clients -- whose portfolios generally range in size from $3 million to $10 million, she says. Instead, she'll focus on speaking and writing, while giving her existing clients a choice of several Buckingham advisors with whom they can choose to work.

SHARED INVESTMENT PHILOSOPHY

She calls the transition "seamless," crediting both "the power of the community and what happens when a group of different firms and different teams come together around an investment philosophy. The investment philosophy transcends the individual person as really the unifying denominator."

All of Buckingham's authors and media personalities -- including New York Times columnist Carl Richards and its director of research, author Larry Swedroe -- espouse Buckingham's central philosophy of passive and evidence-based investing.

The merger with Buckingham gives Thakor a way to affect the financial situations of women with fewer assets, she says. Whereas her MoneyZen clients had millions in investable assets, Buckingham can serve women clients with as little to $80,000 to invest, she says.

"To bring more women into that fold is a dream come true," Thakor says. "What is so exciting is the ability to introduce women to an investment philosophy and a form of true wealth management that enables them to really feel calm and competent about their finances.

"I feel that so many women have told me that seeking financial advice feels like going to buy a used car and you wonder if you are going to be taken for a ride," she adds.

Although she began her career focused on active investing, Thakor says she went through a "180-degree" change years ago that convinced her that active investing is "a loser's game."

Thakor has written two personal finance books, appeared on TV shows and been quoted in major media outlets, including The New York Times.

OTHER EXECUTIVE CHANGES

Buckingham announced her hiring at the same time it announced other management changes at the firms. Buckingham's former chief marketing officer David Levin is now its president and Jeff Remming has been promoted from COO to president of BAM Advisor Services.

Backed by Focus Financial, Buckingham has seven offices nationwide. BAM Advisor Services is a TAMP for more than 140 RIA firms around the country.

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