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Kestra RIA M&A arm makes first pair of deals

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Bluespring Wealth Partners, Kestra Financial’s RIA M&A arm, made its first acquisitions by buying two practices with $550 million in client assets.

The buyer, which opened earlier this year, purchases RIAs and provides succession, consulting, training and other services to firms who generate at least $1 million in EBITDA and sell at least 51% of their businesses.

Bluespring first acquired Hickory Asset Management, an independent RIA with $152 million in AUM. Concord, Ohio-based Hickory offers comprehensive financial planning and portfolio management to corporate executives, business owners and other retail clients.

The fee-only practice is led by Daniel LeScoezec, who has 25 years of industry experience with prior tenures at three broker-dealers before dropping brokerage affiliation in 2013. Bluespring is a Kestra subsidiary but doesn’t require RIAs to affiliate with its parent IBD.

“Establishing an effective succession plan is paramount to our business and the most important step in building our legacy as a firm,” LeScoezec said in a statement.

Bluespring also purchased Believeland, an Alpharetta, Georgia-based practice with $400 million in client assets operating under financial advisor Ted Jenkin’s office of supervisory jurisdiction, oXYGen Financial.

Co-managing partner Brandon Hayes launched the practice in 2017, with the name paying tribute to Cleveland, his hometown and that of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland became commonly referred to as “Believeland” in 2016, when LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the Cavs on an NBA championship run.
Hayes and Jenkin have been affiliated with Kestra since 2015, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Hayes had prior stints with Investacorp and FSC Securities, while Jenkin had earlier affiliations with Investacorp and Ameriprise over 28 years in the industry.

The purchase marks one of the prototype acquisitions to launch what Bluespring calls its G2 program — an offering designed to provide coaching on operating and growing a wealth management business, according to Bluespring.

The Believeland deal “will set the stage for many future successful acquisitions,” Bluespring President Stuart Silverman said in a statement.

He added that Bluespring is delighted to “work more closely with an independent team under the oXYGen Financial brand and to ultimately build an effective succession plan that will establish a meaningful legacy for the firm’s founders in the years to come.”

It’s the G2 program that initially drew in the Believeland crew. The company's initiative targets the next generation of advisory firm owners, a demographic Hayes considers himself a part of.

“I was taught how to structure our practice thanks to a similar program,” Hayes says.

G2 assists with everything from staffing the practice to human resources — a “collaborative group exclusive to Bluespring,” according to Hayes.

At the forefront of their move was enhancing their client experience, Hayes says.

“Most independent advisors lack succession plans,” Jenkin said in a statement, adding that he believes Bluespring’s G2 model “is going to sweep the country.”

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