May has been a busy time for recruiters, who are eager to get deals signed before advisors take their summer vacations. While several independent broker-dealers have been successful at attracting breakaway brokers, the wirehouses and other employee channels have drawn their fair share of advisors from rivals.
HighTower said Monday that the Ezzell Group of Sacramento, Calif., has affiliated with the independent advisor group. The team moved from Merrill Lynch and oversees nearly $300 million in client assets.
“The Ezzell Group will build equity in their own businesses and retain 100 percent autonomy over their practices, while leveraging the HighTower platform to lower operating risk and increase access to world-class investment solutions,” said HighTower CEO Elliot Weissbluth, in a press release. “Network teams have access to the industry’s best investment solutions and a robust services and technology platform to fuel their growth starting on day one.”
The Ezzell Group incluces Jason Ezzell, managing director and founder, and Alec Fisher, senior manager.
Ezzell joined Merrill Lynch in 1999 and specializes in individual wealth management, deferred-compensation plans, concentrated stock and option plans and business-succession planning.
Fisher develops holistic financial plans based on individual client needs, goals and tolerance for risk. The team serves the Sacramento and San Francisco areas.
“HighTower’s culture of transparency and integrity reflects the values that inform every one of our client relationships,” said Ezzell in a statement. “The firm’s sophisticated technology and deep operational resources will be invaluable in driving our growth and enabling us to go above and beyond for our clients.”
Focus Financial said Tuesday that a team of former-Wells Fargo advisors joined its partner firm, LVW Advisors, in Rochester, N.Y. Joseph Zappia and Ted Garofola, CFP, previously part of the Zappia Investment Group at Wells Fargo have joined LVW to launch LVW Family Wealth.
The team previously managed about $400 million in client assets.
“Lori Van Dusen and the team at LVW are truly among the very best in the country, and we are thrilled to support this noteworthy firm achieve their growth objectives through high caliber transactions,” noted Rudy Adolf, CEO of Focus Financial Partners, in a press release. “We remain committed to supporting the transition of advisors, like Lori and Joseph, out of the wirehouses as RIAs continue to gain market share. Our track record with transitions and mergers speaks for itself and we are proud to support this continuing trend.”
The latest advisor move was facilitated by Focus Connections, a program aimed at helping wirehouse teams make successful transitions into independent firms, the firm says. LVW was itself launched through the program in 2011 and now has $2 billion in client assets under management.
“Joe [Zappia] has been an industry peer for years, and I am delighted to have someone with such deep investment and financial planning expertise as part of our team,” said Lori Van Dusen, CEO of LVW, in a press release. “With the ongoing support and counsel of Focus, we continue to look for like-minded partners, like Joe, as we expand our offering and add talent.”
“As our industry evolves, we felt strongly that becoming fiduciaries and partnering with LVW Advisors would allow us to best serve our clients’ interests,” explained Zappia, in a statement. “I am excited about leveraging this partnership and using our combined experience to serve the needs of high-net-worth families, who will benefit from the firm’s state-of-the-art infrastructure that supports sophisticated investments typically unavailable to private clients.”