Focus Financial Partners, the advisory industry’s biggest consolidator with $65 billion in assets, is beefing up its executive team.

The five new top-level hires strengthen the succession planning, recruiting, transition, legal and information-sharing departments at the company, which has 27 advisory firms in its stable.

Anita Venkiteswaran joins Focus as a vice president to run business development strategies at Focus Successions, the firms’ new succession planning division. Her appointment signals the “hard launch” of Focus’ succession planning program for advisors, Focus CEO and partner Rudy Adolf tells Financial Planning.

The Succession Solution program, soft-launched last fall, will be open to “any qualified RIA,” Adolf says. Venkiteswaran previously worked at Audax Private Equity and CI Capital Partners, middle market-focused private equity firms, where she was responsible for sourcing, evaluating and structuring transactions, according to a Focus announcement.

RECRUITING PUSH

Recruiting top advisors and RIA firms will be a priority for former Goldman Sachs VP Pradeep Jayaraman, joining Focus as a vice president and concentrating on business development and acquisition. At Goldman, Jayaraman specialized in merger and acquisition transactions and debt and equity offerings, Focus says.

Robert Freedman joins the firm as a senior manager to run marketing at Focus Connections, providing strategic guidance and transition support to teams and individual advisors leaving wirehouses to either create their own independent RIA or join an existing Focus firm. Freedman was previously a marketing executive for HighTower Advisors.

Focus’ newly established manager of information sharing will be Ilse Hamblin. The new position expands Focus' effort to connect partner firms and employees to share best practices in areas including investments, marketing, technology and operations.

Focus also tapped Michael McGowan as assistant general counsel, responsible for working with the general counsel on internal and external legal affairs including mergers and acquisitions. McGowan had been a corporate associate at Houston-based law firm Vinson & Elkins.

Focus has now added 14 new hires since the beginning of this year to its Connections, Successions, business development, legal and finance teams.

“As we continue to see an increased demand from RIAs and broker teams seeking a better home for their clients and teams, we are committed to supporting many more partners,” Adolf said in the company statement.

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