Amid 20 big IBD moves, SagePoint enterprise’s growth and new RIA stand out

With expanding types of affiliation in the broker-dealer world and billions of dollars in assets shifting from brokerage to advisory accounts, firms are racing to keep up.

The evolving sector — which has also been buffeted by record volumes of M&A deals across wealth management for seven straight years — has placed an onus on firms to give advisors more flexibility in RIA affiliation and greater resources for advisory services. A roundup of 20 recent recruits, executive appointments and other moves (see below) displays the high stakes.

In the competitive fight, financial advisor Tom Goodson’s Santa Barbara, California-based AmeriFlex Financial Services has leapt ahead. Since the beginning of 2017, the SagePoint Financial enterprise has almost tripled to 45 registered representatives from 16 and climbed to $2.1 billion in client assets from only $550 million, according to Goodson.

Amid the industry’s turnover, AmeriFlex stands out for the notable size of its growth and the soft launch of its RIA. In a struggle that often revolves around the amount of a recruiting bonus, the office of supervisory jurisdiction also shows the increasing importance of OSJ services.

AmeriFlex plans to transfer around $1 billion from third-party asset management platforms like AssetMark into the RIA. About 40% of the enterprise’s advisors have also purchased stakes in the RIA, which officially registered with the SEC in December.

With the size and the hybrid RIA, AmeriFlex is taking a different path from some other advisors. For one, LPL Financial recruited at least 16 advisors with some $800 million in client assets from different SagePoint enterprises in the first week of 2020. For another, Advisor Group is currently offering rewards to advisors for placing assets on its corporate platforms.

Goodson’s RIA enables advisors to affiliate without any BD registration while helping them to avoid being “at a disadvantage” in a new era of rising fiduciary services, he says. The enterprise aims to get to $3 billion or more by the end of this year by focusing on practice management, specialty planning services and business solutions to boost advisors’ practices, Goodson says.

Financial advisor Tom Goodson's Ameriflex Financial Services has expanded to 45 registered representatives with more than $2 billion in client assets.

“The reason people are attracted to us is that, instead of just getting a big check from a broker-dealer that's trying to attract them, we give them a durable, recurring source of revenue that's going to outpace that check in a year,” Goodson says.

A few of the advisors that make up the firm’s 11 offices in four states came from other SagePoint enterprises, but the majority came from BDs that are outside the Advisor Group network, Goodson says.

SagePoint “supports both advisors who prefer to work with the SagePoint corporate RIA, as well as independent RIA firms,” said SagePoint CEO Jeff Auld in a statement.

AmeriFlex advisors have a wide array of enterprise-level resources, including divorce services, business transition consulting, high-end insurance needs and conferences on practice management topics. Many advisors who affiliated as sole practitioners or as part of other small practices have doubled their annual revenue or grown even more with the OSJ, Goodson says.

Some 40% of the advisors are women, led by Santa Barbara partner Hannah Buschbom. She and Goodson launched a networking organization in 2017 called the W Source, which connects local women professionals from many industries to share business and best practices. W Source’s website lists chapters in 15 different states, with several areas having more than one.

Goodson’s enterprise is far from the only one making big moves, though. To see 20 notable recent moves, scroll down the slideshow. For a roundup of 24 moves from January, click here. All client asset figures came from company announcements, and each date corresponds with registration dates listed on FINRA BrokerCheck or the SEC IARD database.

Legacy Wealth Management
Location: Fargo, North Dakota

Financial advisors: Paul Meyers and Brady Brunsvold

Total client assets: $140 million

Date of move: Dec. 9

New BD: LPL Financial

Prior BD: Woodbury Financial Services (Advisor Group)

Remark: Meyers, a onetime teacher, says he brings his dog Lucy to the office every day and serves clients hot chocolate by a fireplace to set the mood. He spent nine years affiliated with the Advisor Group IBD in the course of a 28-year financial services career before switching to LPL and its corporate RIA.
John Clendening
Position: CEO

Location: Irving, Texas

Financial advisors: 4,119

Total client assets: $67.7 billion

Date of move: Jan. 16

BD: Avantax Wealth Management (Blucora)

Remark: The parent of the tax-focused IBD relieved its CEO of his duties and seat on the board, effective at the end of January. Over four years atop the radically restructured firm, Clendening oversaw a massive gain in stock value and the deal last year to acquire 1st Global and combine it with HD Vest. The company cites “differences in views on the scope of Mr. Clendening’s authority as CEO.”
Chris Walters
Position: CEO

Location: Irving, Texas

Financial advisors: 4,119

Total client assets: $67.7 billion

Date of move: Jan. 30

BD: Avantax Wealth Management (Blucora)

Remark: Walters has served since 2014 on Blucora’s board, where the company credits him for playing “a key role” in the company’s growth strategy of recent years. He earlier spent time with McKinsey, The Weather Company and Bloomberg before leading Encompass Digital Media as CEO and acting as a partner of consulting firm Activate.
Connie Gregory
Position: Head of broker-dealer development

Location: Los Angeles

Financial advisors: 2,000

Total client assets: $53 billion

Date of move: Oct. 10

New BD: Cetera Financial Institutions

Prior BD: CUSO Financial Services/Sorrento Pacific Financial

Remark: Cetera’s bank and credit union channel tapped a rival’s executive to lead its national recruiting efforts. In addition to her four years with CUSO and Sorrento, Gregory spent nine years with fellow bank and credit union-serving BD Invest Financial in the course of more than three decades in wealth management.
Paradigm Wealth Partners
Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Financial advisors: Mike Sisco, Sandra Larson, Steven Larson, Casey Larson, David Scott, Michael Lynch, Timothy Frey and Rick Yoder

Total client assets: $260 million

Date of move: Jan. 2

New BD: LPL Financial

Prior BD: SagePoint Financial (Advisor Group), Ameriprise

Remark: Yoder dropped Ameriprise for LPL and its corporate RIA under the OSJ enterprise launched by Sisco and six other advisors switching their affiliations from the Advisor Group IBD. The enterprise operates from offices in Texas and around the Midwest.
Location: New York

Registered reps/licensed professionals: 4,330

Total clients: 2.8 million

Date of move: Jan. 14

Prior BD: AXA Advisors

New BD: Equitable Advisors

Remark: Nearly two years after Paris-based AXA spun off its U.S. business in an IPO that raised $2.75 billion, the firm has rebranded to a name reflecting the company founded in 1859 as The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. Equitable has been offering variable annuities since 1970 and credits itself as having “pioneered” the structured VA in 2010. It also has more than 1,000 reps who service 403(b) plans for teachers and staff at K-12 schools.
Armand Alaverdian
Position: Regional director of advisor acquisition, Western region

Financial advisors: 1,344 advisors and registered reps

Total client assets: $57.1 billion in retail wealth management client assets

Date of move: Jan. 14

BD: Waddell & Reed

Remark: The asset manager and IBD firm which has been implementing massive changes in recent years says it has completed the expansion of its national recruiting team with the promotion of the 11-year company veteran. Alaverdian joins Steve Bielke and Mark Hovanic, who came to the firm from Wells Fargo in the fourth quarter, as the three regional directors of advisor acquisition. Waddell & Reed has altered its recruiting efforts to focus more on attracting experienced advisors than its traditional model of training up reps at the start of their careers.
Pinnacle Wealth Management
Location: Chicago

Financial advisors: Brian Sheehy

Total client assets: $130 million

Date of move: Jan. 9

New BD: LPL Financial

Prior BD: World Equity Group

Remark: Sheehy’s practice also includes a location in Woodland Hills, California. He had spent 13 years affiliated with the Wentworth Management Services-owned BD before switching to the No. 1 IBD and its corporate RIA.
Rob Costello
Position: COO

Location: Rockville, Maryland

Financial advisors: 600 advisors

Total client assets: $15 billion in client assets

Date of move: Jan. 6

New BD: H. Beck (Kestra Financial)

Prior BD: Pruco Securities (Prudential Financial)

Remark: The veteran executive joins the Warburg Pincus-backed Kestra independent subsidiary IBD from Prudential, where he served as vice president of advisory operations. With prior experience at Advisor Group and MetLife’s IBD over more than 20 years in the industry, Costello is now leading “the continued transformation of H. Beck to an innovative digital wealth management platform geared toward ease of doing business, efficiency, and growth,” the firm says.
Matesich Financial Services
Location: Grove City, Pennsylvania

Financial advisors: William Matesich

Total client assets: $140 million

Date of move: Jan. 15

New BD: LPL Financial

Prior BD: Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network

Remark: Matesich affiliated with the No. 1 IBD and its corporate RIA following 11 years with the Wells Fargo IBD and a dozen with Edward Jones. He decided to become a financial advisor in 1987 after his wife died, five other relatives passed, and he also lost his job.
Morton Seidel Century City Advisor Group
Location: Los Angeles

Financial advisors: Joan Seidel, Arnold Seidel

Total client assets: $177 million

Date of move: Nov. 27

New BD: Ameriprise

Prior BD: Morton Seidel

Remark: The nearly 100-year-old firm located in the Beverly Hills area is dropping its BD to affiliate with Ameriprise while combining with Alan Tarko’s five-advisor indie franchise practice. Joan Seidel runs the practice alongside her husband Arnold — the son of the firm’s founder — and their daughter-in-law, paraplanner Gina Seidel.
ClearPlan Financial
Location: Orchard Park, New York

Financial advisors: Christopher Urban

Total client assets: $25 million

Date of move: Jan. 10

New BD: Cadaret, Grant (Atria Wealth Solutions)

Prior BD: Equitable Advisors (AXA Advisors)

Remark: Urban merged his practice into the seven-advisor firm founded by ClearPlan President Robert Kloss while affiliating with Atria’s private equity-backed IBD subsidiary. He had spent his entire nine-year career with the firm previously known as AXA Advisors.
Integrity Wealth Management
Location: The Woodlands, Texas

Financial advisors: John Mata

Total client assets: $135 million

Date of move: Jan. 8

New BD: SA Stone Wealth Management (INTL FCStone)

Prior BD: Cetera Advisor Networks

Remark: Mata’s Houston-area practice caters to airline pilots and other professionals. He affiliated with the subsidiary of INTL FCStone and its corporate RIA after tenures with Cetera’s largest IBD and the shuttered firm that folded into it in 2017, Girard Securities.
Glenn Flego
Position: Franchise Field Vice President, New Jersey and Northeastern Pennsylvania

Location: Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Financial advisors: 300

Date of move: Dec. 6

New BD: Ameriprise

Prior BD: Raymond James Financial Services

Remark: The former regional director for the northeast at the Raymond James IBD is now supporting the Ameriprise region’s some 300 advisors. He reports to Regional Vice President Tom North.
Elite Retirement Consultants
Location: Sparta, New Jersey

Financial advisors: Salvatore Dispenziere, Nuri Gunes, David Buys, Enrico Brex, Patrick Bivona, Ken Rosenblum and Mark Likes

Total client assets: $225 million

Date of move: Jan. 7

New BD: LPL Financial

Prior BD: SagePoint Financial (Advisor Group)

Remark: Dispenziere leads the enterprise as OSJ manager, affiliating with the No. 1 IBD and its corporate RIA following tenures with the Advisor Group IBD, Cadaret, Grant and National Planning. Bivona, Rosenblum and Likes each operate their own practice as part of the OSJ.
Waddell & Reed
Location: Los Angeles; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Mesa, Arizona; Hutchinson, Kansas

Financial advisors: Ron Galen, Jim Summers, Brian Tollefson, Mathew Watt, Cynda Wright

Total client assets: $250 million

Date of move: Nov. 15 through Jan. 24

New BD: Waddell & Reed

Prior BD: J.W. Cole Financial, Cetera Financial Institutions, Commonwealth Financial Network, LPL Financial, Oppenheimer

Remark: Waddell & Reed says it added five experienced advisors with combined annual gross dealer concessions of $1.77 million. The firm aims to attract more tenured and productive advisors from rivals as it moves away from its traditional training program for new reps.
Flatiron Financial Group; De Jonge Financial
Location: Bedford and Lincoln, New Hampshire; Visalia, California

Financial advisors: Rob Normandin, Troy Neily, Robin Morrell, Sean Smalley, Don De Jonge

Total client assets: $257 million

Date of move: Sept. 16; Dec. 6

New BD: Ameriprise

Prior BD: LPL Financial; MML Investors Services (MassMutual)

Remark: Normandin and Neily affiliated the Flatiron practice with the Ameriprise franchise channel after 13 years with LPL, while De Jonge’s California-based practice aligned with the IBD following five with MassMutual’s firm.
Elluvium Financial
Location: Appleton, Wisconsin

Financial advisors: Cody Mares, Sam Sigler and Brent Mares

Total client assets: $130 million

Date of move: Jan. 3

New BD: LPL Financial

Prior BD: Ameriprise

Remark: Cody Mares and Sigler affiliated with the No. 1 IBD and its corporate RIA after naming their new independent practice for a geological term denoting fertile soil produced by changes to rocks and minerals over time. Mares’ son Brent is a CFP who is part of the practice’s succession plan. The elder Mares had been affiliated with Ameriprise since 1985.
U.S. Investors International
Location: Portland, Oregon

Financial advisors: Craig Lewelling and Greg Krpalek

Total client assets: $330 million

Date of move: Jan. 3

New BD: LPL Financial

Prior BD: SagePoint Financial (Advisor Group)

Remark: The succession plan for Krpalek’s Albany, Oregon-based Krpalek Financial Services calls for the practice to operate independently from Lewelling’s practice while pooling resources for an eventual transition in the future. Lewelling spent two decades affiliated with the Advisor Group IBD and predecessor firm SunAmerica Securities, while Krpalek had aligned with the firm in 2016 following a 21-year tenure with First Allied Securities.
Retirement Wealth Specialists
Location: St. Augustine, Longwood, and Sarasota, Florida

Lead financial advisor: Mitchell Walk

Total client assets: $400 million

Date of move: Announced Jan. 30

Buyer: Bluespring Wealth Partners (Kestra Financial)

Remark: Walk sold a majority of the practice to the M&A, succession and consulting firm launched last year by the parent of his BD of two decades. Bluespring has also acquired ownership stakes in at least three other practices with $1.35 billion in combined client assets.