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Carson lands $300M Waddell & Reed shop

Carson Group has added $1.2 billion in net new assets this year thus far, following the addition of a 12-person former Waddell & Reed team that managed $330 million in assets.

In total, 13 firms have joined Carson in 2019 under its two different affiliation models: equity swaps to join its Carson Wealth Management division and a basis point split to join Carson Partners.

The three managing partners of Driven Wealth Strategies in Wichita, Kansas, scrutinized more than 10 other potential suitors before selecting Carson Partners. The team was drawn to Carson's vaunted coaching program, Driven partner Karsten Bond said in a statement.

Brent Dome - Carson $300m shop
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"Carson’s offering had many of the solutions we were looking for in the day-to-day issues we face,” Bond said, adding the coaching program will help "catapult" the firm to new levels of growth.

The aggregator's technology was another factor, the partners said.

Over the past three to four years, Carson has invested more than $70 million to build out customized technology, according to company spokesman Joe Steuter. Founder Ron Carson spent more than 20 years as the No. 1 producer at the country's largest independent broker-dealer LPL Financial and joined Cetera in January 2017 — in part over his frustration with LPL's technology. Most of its technology investment was made after Carson's departure.

"When [Carson Partners] showed us just how easily we could process business through the use of technology," says Brent Dome, another Driven partner, "we knew it would empower us to focus on the critical components of our clients’ financial plans and lesson the operational friction.”

Driven's third managing partner is Chad Phipps.

As with all Carson Partners firms, Driven will pay Carson anywhere from 25 to 65 basis points, "depending on the investments they choose," Steuter says, adding that Driven may not yet know precisely what it will be paying as they transition..

"You're probably looking around that 65 bps for that average partner who is folded underneath us and using our investment strategies," Steuter says, speaking generally.

The three advisors merged to form Driven just two months ago.

Bond and Phipps worked for a Waddell & Reed office in Wichita, on the east side of the city. Brent Dome ran his own Waddell branch on the west side of town under the Driven brand.

The newly reconstituted firm operates in two offices on both sides of town, allowing it to serve clients throughout Wichita.

Bond, Dome and Phipps, like other Carson Partner firms, will continue to own and run their firm.

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