Washington Wealth Management is continuing its rapid growth -- albeit at a slighter slower pace than its own CEO had forecast.

The company announced Tuesday that it had recruited the two-advisor practice Kimball Creek Partners of Bellevue, Wash., with $220 million in assets under management.

The platform provider has brought over a bit more than $1 billion in AUM in the last year, after multiple deals with former wirehouse advisors in the past year. But that total falls short of a prediction made by CEO Robert Bartenstein in 2011 -- that the firm would attract $3 billion in AUM by the end of 2013.

“There’s no question that the first half of this year took a little bit of wind out of our sails,” Bartenstein says. “I think, industry-wide, the first half of 2013 wasn’t terribly productive from a recruitment standpoint because many advisors just wanted to enjoy the relative peace and quiet,” Bartenstein adds. With the markets posting strong returns and untroubled by volatility, he says, “the idea of upheaval [in joining a new platform] is a little less palatable.”

The $1 billion figure may grow, he says, because the past year's deals actually accounted for $1.5 billion in AUM. He points out that once a firm decides to move to a new platform, it can take as long as a year to convince clients to move and to execute all the paperwork related to such a move.


Bartenstein says he thinks more wirehouse advisors are once again ready to hazard some creative disruption. As a result, he says, his firm may close multiple new deals this year -- including larger ones at year’s end.

Kimball Creek’s cofounders, Dean Bennion and Mike Vincent, both worked as senior vice presidents at Wachovia/Wells Fargo Advisors’ Seattle office prior to joining Washington Wealth.

Washington Wealth, which is based in San Diego and affiliated with LPL Financial, was founded in 2010 with the express purpose of offering a more independent option for wirehouse advisors with roughly $1 million in revenue.

"What we fight with every day is the lack of education within wirehouses about how great the offerings are outside of the wirehouse," Bartenstein said last year. "As tired as advisors are of carrying the water for wirehouses, many of them don't want to leave. Our job, as we see it, is to build a model that is as familiar as possible to a wirehouse and yet [delivers] all the benefits of independence."

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