Industry Moves

$650M Merrill Advisor Team Bolts for Kestra

Canton Wealth Partners joins Kestra in Georgia.

Kestra Private Wealth Services says it has nabbed a team of Merrill Lynch financial advisors.

The latest addition is Roswell, Georgia-based Canton Wealth Partners, which is led by managing partners Matt West, Benji McLeod and David Combs and specializes in serving corporate executives and small business owners, according to Kestra.

The team, which also includes registered client associate Angela Moore and client associate Hardy Fortson, manages $650 million in client assets, Kestra says.

West and Combs have each been in the financial services industry for 26 years and with Merrill since 2008, according to their BrokerCheck records.

McLeod joined the industry in 2000 and went to Merrill in 2013, according to BrokerCheck.

The advisors were drawn to Kestra’s open-architecture platform and “the independence to provide clients with individualized solutions and goal-oriented service without a competing agenda from an outside institution,” Kestra said in a press release announcing the move.

“There are a lot of logistics that go into this type of transition, but Kestra PWS has the expertise to easily navigate complex situations, making this a smooth journey,” the Canton Wealth team said in the announcement.

Adding the Merrill team in Georgia, meanwhile, was a result of Kestra “eyeing the greater Atlanta region for some time as a growth opportunity in the Southeast, given the success of our Florida and South Carolina offices,” Rob Bartenstein, senior managing director and chief executive officer of Kestra, said in the announcement.

This summer, Kestra also lured a pair of Merrill advisors in Florida and another Merrill team in Michigan.

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Sanctuary Nabs Merrill Vet to Head Quorum NY Office

Dylan O’Shea, a Merrill Lynch advisor for 11 years, has joined $1 billion- Quorum Private Wealth.

An 11-year Merrill Lynch advisor has joined Quorum Private Wealth in New York City in order to help build out the $1 billion practice's East Coast presence.

Dylan O’Shea joins Quorum, which and was founded by fellow Merrill vets, Mike Barry and Kelly Milligan, and joined the Sanctuary Wealth network in April 2021.

“We have a significant client base on the East Coast” and O’Shea “will provide boots on the ground in the New York City Metro area,” Milligan, who is based in Danville, Calif., said in a statement.

O'Shea joined Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in 2011 and most recently served as wealth management advisor, first vice president.

While at Merrill, he reported to Paul Sullivan, who joined Sanctuary earlier this year and currently runs the firm’s New York office.

Joining O’Shea within Quorum’s East Coast practice will be wealth associate Sunny Springer. She most recently served as a financial advisor with Certified Financial Services in Paramus, New Jersey.

Founded in 2018 in Indianapolis, Sanctuary has now grown its network to include more than 70 partner firms in 27 states, with more than $25 billion under advisement.

Sanctuary has added a number of Merrill Lynch advisors to its network this year, including a $1 billion Denver-based team in September and a $564 million Texas-based team in October.

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Oppenheimer Fortifies Its Nashville Branch with Acquisition

The firm plans to expand into the nation’s emerging economic markets.

Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. announced that it has increased its presence in the Nashville, Tennessee market via the acquisition of Meridian Wealth Group.

Meridian joins Oppenheimer’s private client division and will operate as the Meridian Wealth Group of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., according to an Oppenheimer spokesperson. Meridian is led by John Wade, who brings more than 20 years of experience. He will serve as executive director. Wade first registered at First Tennessee Brokerage in 2000 and moved to UBS in 2006 and B. Riley Wealth Management in 2009, per his BrokerCheck record.

Meridian’s team also includes Aaron Fiske, director of investments, and two associates, according to Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer identified Nashville as one of the “country’s fastest-growing and most economically vibrant markets,” and opened its branch there in March, according to a press release announcing the acquisition. The firm sees Nashville as desirable because of its rapidly expanding population, burgeoning economy and deep pool of professional talent, says Ed Harrington, executive vice president of Oppenheimer.

When considering acquisition offers, Meridian focused on four selection priorities: research and solution methods of potential firms; available technology; history and culture of the company and the transition for clients, Wade said in an emailed response to a request for comment.

“With Oppenheimer, we found a firm that is committed to allowing us to continue fulfilling our value proposition to clients while providing us with the additional tools, technologies and support resources we need to realize our long-term growth objectives," Wade added.

Oppenheimer had $35.3 billion in client assets and 985 advisors across 91 offices as of September 30, according to a company spokesperson. In March, the firm enhanced its digital experience platform for advisors by partnering with fintech firm InvestCloud.

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Contact the reporter: apadalka@money-media.com