Ron Carson Completes Move From LPL to Cetera

The wealth management group has over $6.5 billion in assets on its RIA platform and other operations

Carson Wealth CEO Ron Carson. Carson Wealth CEO Ron Carson.

Carson Wealth Management has switched broker-dealers, two months after news leaked that the team was making the move.

Led by Ron Carson, the group has been affiliated with LPL Financial since 1989. Its website now says it trades securities through Cetera Advisor Networks and has 13 wealth advisors.

Carson Wealth had $2.6 billion of assets with LPL, $1 billion on its advisory platform and $1.6 billion on its brokerage platform, as of Oct. 31; according to Forbes, the advisor and affiliated organizations work with $6.6 million in total assets.

“This was a timely and pivotal win for Cetera likely helping them in their recruiting goals for 2017,” said Jon Henschen, an independent-advisor recruiter. “It will also help to distance themselves from their past with [Nicholas] Schorsch and reflect a clean slate of new opportunity. I can only assume that Cetera [Financial] Group’s new CEO’s history with LPL helped in landing Carson Wealth.”

Cetera Financial Group is currently lead by Robert Moore, who was president of LPL Financial from May 2012 to March 2015. In March 2015, Moore joined the executive board of Carson Institutional Alliance, a support platform for RIAs, after leaving LPL; he is no longer listed as a board member as of Thursday.

“Recruiting often times is about momentum, and landing a large high-quality group can help greatly in establishing recruiting momentum as well as recruiting credibility for the broker-dealer as a whole,” Henschen explained.

Carson Wealth has offices in Omaha, Nebraska; Vincennes, Indiana; and San Rafael, California.

(Calls to Cetera Financial Group and Carson were not returned.)

Carson, Cetera Past

In May 2016, Carson Group Holdings – the parent company of Carson Wealth, Carson Institutional Alliance and the advisor-coaching group Peak Advisor Alliance – received a $35 million infusion from Long Ridge Equity Partners for investments in “advisor solutions, technology, and resources, as well as additional strategic support,” the two entities said in a press release.

Founded in 1983, Carson Wealth had $6.5 billion in assets under advisement at the time of this announcement. Its institutional operations, launched in 2012, included 37 partner firms; Carson Wealth says this business has grown assets 100% in each of the past few years.

In connection with Long Ridge’s investment, two of the firm’s partners – Jim Brown and Kevin Bhatt – were named to Carson’s board.

In October of this year, Carson became a partner of the Rockford, Illinois-based RIA firm Savant Capital Management, which also obtained $50 million in capital from investors. The deal solved succession planning and ownership issues for the $5 billion AUM firm, while also giving it financial resources to continue its growth plans.

For its part, Cetera Financial Group includes Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities and Summit Brokerage Services.

The broker-dealer group’s current owners include Fortress Stategic Capital, Carlyle Investment Management and Eaton Vance Management.

These investors took ownership during the bankruptcy proceedings at RCS Capital, the earlier name of Cetera’s parent company, which is now Aretec.

The bankruptcy was tied to Schorsch, a founder of RCS Capital, and some of his business partners, who became embroiled in an accounting scandal tied to a nontraded real estate investment trust group and related matters roughly two years ago. 

Also in September, the former CFO of American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP), an entity founded by Schorsch, was arrested for overstating the publicly traded REIT’s financial performance.

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