Running an independent wealth management firm with 70 to 80 advisors sounds like a massive operation, but Paul Beideman, the chairman and chief executive officer of newly formed Merion Wealth Partners, wants to ensure that each advisor has a personable relationship with his or her clients.

Merion actually just got off the ground. Right now, it has a group of seven advisors in its Berwyn, Pa., headquarters, but it is actively recruiting seasoned advisors who service affluent and high-net-worth families.

It has more than $250 million in client assets under management. Judging by the discussions the firm is having with potential recruits, it could have as much as $1 billion by the end of the first quarter. Ultimately, Beideman said, he hopes to see the firm get up to $8 billion with offices in local offices in major cities. It already has offices in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Pa., and Farmington, Conn.

The goal is to create a firm that gives comprehensive guidance—from referral through close—on a range of financial planning services and products that clients will need. It should become, according to the company, a firm where registered investment advisors and breakaway wirehouse advisors can provide enhanced services to clients, do so with lower operating costs and improved profitability.

Services will include investment management, life insurance, plus insurance for long-term care and disability, annuities, estate planning and charitable giving. Some advisors tend to be uncomfortable with technical inner workings of insurance products, and prefer to focus on investment asset management. But the former need to be part of the financial planning conversation, Beideman said. “I think it is the ability to—in a comprehensive way—understand what the clients’ needs are,” he said.

The company said it has formed a partnership with Ash Brokerage, which provides access to more than 75 different insurance companies and an array of risk management and estate planning strategies. There is one important in house service at Merion Wealth Partners, investment management. The company said it has a proprietary economic and investment management team, led by professionals with more than 100 years of combined experience in the business. Bob Andres, founding partner and chief investment officer at Merion Wealth Partners, will lead that group.

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Citi Private Bank hired Philip Sharkey as a managing director and head of investments for the bank’s New York region. He was a managing director and head of U.S. portfolio management at Guggenheim Partners.

Los Angeles-based Cetera Financial Group hired Jon Frojen as chief financial officer. He was managing director for Milestone Advisors LLC, an investment bank for the financial services industry, where he co-founded and served as CFO of Milestone Asset Resolutions Co., its advisory and asset management platform. He also co-developed Milestone’s government services practice serving the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and its other agencies.

Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors hired Wilson K. Magee as director of global REITs and lead portfolio manager on all FTREA REIT funds. He was president and portfolio manager for Colony Investment Management. Previously, Magee held senior real estate portfolio management positions with firms including Goldman Sachs and Grantham, Mayo & Van Otterloo.

Benjamin Woloshin has joined New York Life Insurance Co. as a senior vice president and head of relationship management for its Retirement Income Security business. Previously, he was a vice president at Goldman Sachs, responsible for institutional relationships in its Reinsurance Group.

Hartford Financial Services Group appointed Don MacQuattie as vice president and director of retirement plans for healthcare, education and tax-exempt organizations. MacQuattie, who has been with the company since 2004, was vice president and director of strategic relationships, and managed relationships between key retirement plan partners

Trust Company of America, based in Centennial, Col., hired Bob Oros as its vice president and national sales manager. It also named Jennifer Nealson as its chief marketing officer to the management team. Oros was an executive vice president of custom clearing services for LPL Financial. Before that, he worked  at Charles Schwab, where he was president and a senior divisional manager, focused on the sales, development and growth of initiatives for registered investment advisors. Nealson comes to Trust Company from Republic Financial Corp., an international private investment firm based in Aurora, Col., where she was vice president of marketing and communications.

Wilmington Trust appointed Walter B. Rose as a consultant in its wealth advisory services office in Los Angeles. He is a founding partner of Venture Consulting Corp., based in Los Angeles, which provides consulting services to small businesses and venture capital companies.


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