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$420M husband-wife firm bolts Royal Alliance for Kestra

Kestra Financial grabbed a husband-wife team managing $420 million in client assets from Royal Alliance Associates as the firm added $16 million in topline revenue in a first-quarter recruiting push.

Lead advisors Sonya and Taylor Ranker of Questmont Strategic Wealth Advisors moved over to the No. 13 independent broker-dealer from the Advisor Group firm, Kestra announced this week. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-area practice also brings three other advisors.

The average annual production per new advisor joining Kestra through recruiting moves in the first quarter amounted to $500,000, says Dan Schwamb, senior vice president of business development. The 1,800-broker firm has brought in 183 new advisors with $5.9 billion in client assets in the past two years.

The recruiting grabs show how the private equity-backed Kestra is “very appealing to advisors in that larger independent firm setting,” says Schwamb. The Austin, Texas-based IBD pitches advisors on its consulting services around issues like benchmarks, staffing levels and marketing expenses, he says.

“The things that immediately attract them are technology, tools and resources,” Schwamb says. “As their businesses get bigger, they start running into the natural challenges of running a larger business, and we assist them with that.”

One of the biggest notable losses came from Merrill Lynch, which lost a team managing $1 billion to the independent space.
April 11

A spokeswoman for Advisor Group declined to comment on Questmont’s departure, noting a company policy against discussing advisors no longer affiliated with the firm. The network itself saw record recruiting in 2017, adding 614 advisors across its four IBDs, including 172 at Royal Alliance.

Prior to his five years with Royal Alliance, Taylor Ranker had spent seven years with National Planning during his 26-year financial services career, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Sonya Ranker came to Royal Alliance in 2014, and the Camp Hill-based practice formally joined Kestra on Jan. 22.

Sonya Ranker, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, leads the firm’s specialty services aimed at women in transition due to the death of a spouse or a divorce. Questmont’s offerings in that area include referring clients to teams of experts, handling estate plan impacts and working on settlements.

The practice’s assets split roughly in half between brokerage and advisory. However, the team expects to focus heavily on advisory assets in the future, in part due to an upcoming acquisition, Schwamb says. Questmont’s corporate advisory assets have transferred from Pershing to Fidelity under the move.

“Our mission at Questmont is and always will be to efficiently and effectively protect and grow our clients’ wealth,” Taylor Ranker said in a statement, describing Kestra as a fit for the team’s criteria of a partner with “a client-first mentality” and technology tools to boost the practice’s business.

Kestra, which is majority-owned by Stone Point Capital, purchased the No. 44 IBD, H. Beck, in December and tapped veteran IBD executive Michelle Barry to lead the firm. Kestra remains interested in further acquisitions, Schwamb says, where there are opportunities that align with its strategies.

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