Industry Moves

$450M Wells Fargo Team Breaks Free

A pair of veteran Wells Fargo Advisors registered representatives have struck out on their own with a fee-only RIA.

Christopher Brown and David Miller have opened Brown Miller Wealth Management outside of Washington, D.C. The pair previously oversaw $450 million at Wells Fargo, according to a Brown Miller spokeswoman.

Brown began his financial services industry career at Wells Fargo predecessor A.G. Edwards & Sons in 1992, the Brown Miller announcement notes.

Miller joined Brown’s team in 2004. The pair and their support staff continued with the firm once it was acquired by Wachovia Securities, which was then acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008, according to the press release.

“We realized that the best way to continue to provide a fiduciary standard of care and be able to provide our clients with the best possible investment offerings, was to become independent and establish the firm as an RIA,” Brown says in the press release.

The team will now operate as an independently owned and operated outfit but will use First Clearing, which is the clearing arm of Wells Fargo. The upstart RIA will also work with TradePMR for technology and custodial support, according to the press release.

As part of the launch, Brown Miller moved to new offices in McLean, Va., the company says.


Captrust Names New Prez

Captrust Financial Advisors has named Ben Goldstein as its president and made several other appointments in its management suite.

Goldstein joined the firm in 2010 and has been serving as its chief operating officer and head of business operations. In that role, he oversees mergers and acquisitions, client services, compliance and human resources among other areas.

In his new role as president, Goldstein will continue reporting to Captrust cofounder and CEO J. Fielding Miller, the company says.

At the time Goldstein joined the firm, Captrust had 140 employees and represented $44 billion in client assets. The firm now has more than 650 employees and $368 billion under advisement, the press release notes.

“At this important time in our expansion, it is critical that we continue to build out and empower leaders like Ben to meet the increasing complexity of our organization.”

Captrust also named Michael Vogelzang as the firm’s chief investment strategist. Vogelzang joined from Boston Advisors in October, the company says.

John Leissner has been promoted to senior director, head of institutional client services and operations, and Jennifer Doss has been named director and defined contribution practice leader, according to the press release.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Captrust, founded in 1997, has bold goals for growing its business. In December, strategic wealth senior director Rush Benton told FA-IQ that the firm expects to make five to six acquisitions every year. So far in 2020, Captrust has acquired at least one practice — Wilmington, N.C.-based Fountain Financial Associates.


Wells Fargo Names Acting Legal Chief

Wells Fargo’s appointment of Douglas Edwards — promoting its interim general counsel to acting legal chief — which occurred before the firm’s $3 billion settlement with regulators, requires approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Bloomberg Law reports.

Edwards Feb. 7 appointment preceded the bank’s $3 billion settlement with regulators over abusive sales practices in its banking unit. It also came the same day that C. Allen Parker, who was the bank’s general counsel before taking the role of interim CEO in March 2019, stepped down from his day-to-day responsibilities, a Wells Fargo spokesman confirms to Bloomberg Law.

Edwards will serve as a member of the firm’s operating committee until the appointment of a new general counsel, Wells Fargo spokesman Peter Gilchrist tells Bloomberg Law. Gilchrist declined comment on a timeline for appointing a permanent replacement for Parker, Bloomberg Law writes.

A 2018 consent order mandates that the OCC provide input on Wells Fargo’s senior executives and board appointments, according to the news service.

An OCC spokesman tells Bloomberg Law that the agency doesn’t comment on specific individuals, while Gilchrist deferred the news service’s questions about Edwards and its process for selecting Parker’s permanent replacement to the OCC and to the 2018 consent order.

Last month’s settlement with the Department of Justice and the SEC was part of a deal to resolve criminal and civil investigations into Wells Fargo’s sales practices that first came to light in 2016, when it emerged that thousands of the firm’s retail bank employees opened millions of accounts without clients’ authorization.


Mariner Wealth Scoops Up $400M Practice

Mariner Wealth continues growing by acquisition, most recently adding the assets of a wealth management practice in New Jersey, the company says.

The newly acquired Roseland, N.J.-based Wealth Health LLC represents about $400 million in assets, according to a press release from Mariner Wealth.

Rich Coppa and Darin Gartland founded the firm in 2003 and will remain with Mariner Wealth and oversee the Roseland office, the company says.

The companies didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal.

The acquisition marks Mariner Wealth’s fourth office in New Jersey and its 11th acquisition in the past 14 months, according to the press release. In September, the company also poached an experienced financial advisor from Merrill Lynch.

Mariner was founded in 2006 with $300 million in assets under management. By the end of 2019, the firm had grown to more than $28 billion in assets, according to a press release.


Arkadios Adds HNW Wealth Practice in Western New York

Arkadios Capital has added a western New York wealth management practice with $400 million in client money, the company says.

Lewiston, N.Y.-based Princeton Equity, led by Russell Conrad, has moved to Arkadios’s hybrid advisor broker-dealer platform, according to a press release from Arkadios.

"The clients we serve will benefit significantly from Arkadios Capital’s expertise," Conrad says in the press release. "The support will further enable our continued growth as we take Princeton Equity to the next level."

Princeton Equity plans to open another office in Naples, Fla., Arkadios says.

Conrad has been in the financial services industry since 1996 and was registered at seven different firms before joining Arkadios, according to his BrokerCheck profile. Most recently, he had been with Independent Financial Group, which he joined in 2016 after a year at Summit Brokerage Services, according to BrokerCheck.

Arkadios added several advisors in 2019, including at least three independent wealth management practices previously affiliated with Triad Advisors.

Founded in 2017 by David Millican, the hybrid advisory broker-dealer represents more than $3.5 billion under advisement and now has more than 60 advisors, the company says.


Ameriprise Nabs FAs from Wells Fargo, Stifel

Wells Fargo Advisors and Stifel have lost financial advisors to Ameriprise’s franchise channel, the Minneapolis-based broker-dealer has announced.

Foundation Wealth Management, led by Rick Yanez and Lance Mackall, has joined Ameriprise in Bakersfield, Calif., Ameriprise says in a press release. The team, which also includes financial advisors Cathie Joughin and John Rodgers, office manager Monica Lopez and client service manager Crystal Gilman, manages $189 million.

Yanez and Mackall have each been in the financial services industry for more than a decade, while Joughin and Rodgers each has more than 35 years of experience, according to Ameriprise.

“We want to be with a firm that is committed to helping its advisors grow,” Yanez says in the press release. The cited the firm’s support to growing companies and technology as deciding factors when evaluating broker-dealers to join.

In addition, John McLaughlin has joined Ameriprise in Olean, N.Y., from Stifel, the company says. McLaughlin, who’s been in the financial services industry for 34 years, manages $83 million, according to the press release. He’s joined by paraplanner Lisa Zlockie, Ameriprise says.

Last month, Ameriprise nabbed an advisor practice from Merrill Lynch and a team of advisors from Summit Brokerage Services. In January, Ameriprise lost advisors to Stifel, LPL Financial and Pallas Capital Advisors, but also added advisors from LPL and MML Investor Services.


Stifel Snags Merrill, Wells, Morgan Stanley FAs

Stifel Financial keeps plucking advisors from the wirehouses.

The firm last week announced that it had recruited teams representing $418 million to its platform.

Jim McLendon joins Stifel’s Atlanta private client group office from Wells Fargo Advisors, Stifel says. He previously managed $186 million at the wirehouse.

Stifel’s Bloomfield Hills, Mich., office, meanwhile, has added the father-son team of Joseph Moceri and P. Joseph Moceri. The pair previously managed $158 million at Merrill Lynch. The two will use the Bloomfield Hills office temporarily with plans to open Stifel’s new office in Rochester, Mich., which will be Stifel’s 17th in the state, according to a press release.

And Stifel’s Florham Park, N.J., office has added Michael Lieberman, who previously managed $74 million at Morgan Stanley, Stifel says.

Stifel also picked up advisors from Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley in February. In January, Stifel added advisors from Merrill Lynch and Ameriprise, as well as more advisors from Wells Fargo.