Harold C. Brown & Co., a small broker-dealer that became an RIA during its 80-year-old history, has lost four major partners.

United Capital Private Wealth Counseling, the national partnership of advisory firms, has snagged three of the firm’s partners, which managed $240 million in client assets under management, the company announced.”

Peter Grogan, Will Kelly and Mimi Schanzlin, all partners in the former Harold C. Brown firm, are joining United Capital as managing directors. The deal brings an end to the Buffalo, N.Y.-based broker-dealer’s history, but starts a new chapter in the managing directors’ careers. The firm had transitioned over to a heavily advice-driven business model around 1994. The expenses of operating a broker-dealer with the heart of an RIA became financially burdensome.

“This fits right in with the way we had been working with our clients at Harold C. Brown,” said Peter Grogan, managing director of United Capital Buffalo, the firm’s new name. “We were spending as much time on the compliance part of our as we spent on working with clients.”

Now, United Capital will handle the firm’s compliance work from its headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif. Girard Securities will take over as the firm’s broker dealer, clear through NFS Securities, and custody through Pershing Advisor Services, Matt Brinker, senior vice president of partner development and acquisitions said in an interview.

“We make it a habit of partnering with exceptional wealth counseling teams that care deeply about their clients’ well-being,” Brinker said in an interview. “They’re coming from a well-respected and storied firm in the greater Buffalo market. Our partners have control and autonomy and influence and are being operated locally.”

Grogan, Kelly and Schanzlin made the move to United Capital, but several of the firm’s other partners decided to go to other firms, Grogan said. That includes Katherine Christoferson, who had been with Harold C. Brown for about 30 years, and joined Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

“We did not want a pure financial transaction,” Grogan said. “We wanted to join an organization where we’d have a say in how it operates. We’re very interested in growing UC and growing the enterprise to become the best way to deliver advice to clients.”

Donna Mitchell writes for Financial Planning.





















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