A new advisory firm made up of three Morgan Stanley veterans has announced a partnership with Stratos Wealth Partners, a large RIA affiliated with LPL Financial.

After breaking out of the wirehouse last month, the newly formed Ellsworth Private Wealth Management now advises on roughly $200 million in fee- and commission-based client assets, according to an LPL statement.

Ellsworth CEO Tim Clepper says he and his founding associates settled on Stratos, a big OSJ based in Beachwood, Ohio, after nearly 12 months of searching. One key factor, Clepper says, was the ability to control the firm's own brand while piggybacking on Stratos' use of LPL's RIA and broker-dealer technology platforms.


"We're in a situation where we can control the brand in terms of what we do for clients," Clepper says. "Often times, people don’t know if you’re in the investment banking business, retail banking or what you actually do for a company that you work for. Here, it’s now known that we’re in the private wealth management business."

"If there's a specific technology that we want, and that really helps what we're trying to do, we can utilize it without having to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to get it," adds Kelly Kuennen, who joined Clepper in moving to the new firm (along with fellow former Morgan Stanley advisor Max Schindler).

Ellsworth focuses on high-net-worth individual investors, families and small to medium sized-business owners, Clepper says.


Nearly 150 independent financial advisors nationwide have already partnered with Stratos, the LPL statement says.

Stratos founder and CEO Jeffrey Concepcion began the firm in 2008; it now has nearly 9,000 total clients and reports approximately $2.3 billion in assets under management, according to the SEC.

"We bring the resources of a national firm to a local level to enable advisors to provide an objective, highly customized financial advice platform that consistently serves a broad spectrum of client needs," Concepcion says in the LPL statement.

Steve Pirigyi, executive vice president of business development at LPL, emphasizes LPL's hybrid approach. "We’re one of the only firms to allow the client, who may have assets with an RIA and a brokerage, to receive one statement," Pirigyi explains. "This enables our advisors, including Ellsworth and Stratos, to have accounts both in an RIA asset management type basis and a broker’s statement."

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