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Carson stakeholders top 200 as coaching client swaps equity

Carson Group, which added nine new offices in the first quarter, drew more advisors to its fold under an equity swap with another major RIA.

A fee-only practice with $575 million in assets under management sold a 25% stake in the practice in exchange for a non-controlling interest in Ron Carson’s RIA.

Leslie Thompson and Bob Phillips of Spectrum Management Group reached the deal with Carson on April 1. The Indianapolis-based practice marked the fifth RIA with more than $500 million in AUM to swap equity with Carson in the past 12 months, according to the firm.

The market is expected to remain heated in the months ahead.
April 9

Advisors who joined Carson in the first quarter brought $607 million in AUM with them, while expanding Carson’s affiliated practices to 58 partner firms with $8.7 billion across its advisory platforms. Carson’s firm now has 210 stakeholders, after its latest equity swap.

Under the deal, Spectrum will rebrand as an office of Carson Wealth while Thompson and Phillips’ eight-member team retains the day-to-day management of the practice, they said in an interview. They had been longtime clients of Carson’s coaching services.

Leslie Thompson and Bob Phillips of Spectrum Management Group

“Carson was really the only organization that had flexibility in terms of structuring something that made sense for both sides,” Thompson says. “It's important for us to continue to operate. We weren't looking to get out of the business.”

CWM is providing Spectrum with back-office services like technology, marketing and operational support, along with co-management of certain investment strategies for Spectrum’s clients. Maintaining control after the deal was important to the practice, Phillips notes.

“The world’s evolving rapidly, and having the resources to remain state of the art is really critical,” he says. “We weren't ready to cash out.”

Spectrum dates back to 1995, when Phillips and Thompson both worked at a CPA firm. The pair joined Raymond James & Associates in 2005 but went indie in the full RIA channel in 2011. They won’t affiliate with Carson Group’s broker-dealer, Cetera Advisor Networks, in the deal.

The swap will allow the practice, which currently custodies with Charles Schwab, to add Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions and potentially TD Ameritrade as custodians. In addition to the co-founders, the firm has one other advisor, a client-facing representative, a portfolio manager and three support staff.

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