Hybrid RIAs continue to add reps, do M&As.

Washington Wealth Management, an independent hybrid RIA, said Thursday a former Morgan Stanley (MS) rep joined its office in Lancaster, California, with about $100 million in client assets.

Nadia Dickinson came on board several weeks ago with nearly 30 years of industry experience.

With the addition of Dickinson’s practice, Washington Wealth says it has recruited 10 new advisory practices since being acquired by National Financial Partners (NFP) in March.

“Ms. Dickinson’s decision to maximize her firm’s opportunities for growth and independence by joining our team further demonstrates the strength of WWM’s platform, which enables exceptional former wirehouse advisors like Ms. Dickinson to expand their practices by transitioning seamlessly to the independent channel,” said Rob Bartenstein, CEO of San Diego-based Washington Wealth, in a statement.

Dickinson joined Morgan Stanley in late 1985 in Palmdale, California.

“I am thrilled to be joining WWM’s platform, particularly at a time when Dickinson Graham Capital Management is expanding its staff to meet the demands of a growing client base,” the advisor said in a press release.

“As I transition to independence, there was no better partner for both developing and growing my practice than WWM. WWM’s turnkey multi-custodial platform, along with its unique understanding of the needs of successful advisors, will enable me to create a highly responsive, client-centered environment.”

For its part, NFP Advisor Services said in early October that it had added advisors Terry Sawchuk and Bill Langenstein in Troy, Michigan, with about $155 million in client assets. The group was formerly affiliated with SII Investments.

Stratos Wealth

In other California news, ex-Wells Fargo Advisors (WFC) rep Richard Gibson said Tuesday that he joined independent RIA Stratos Wealth Partners in Carmel Valley.  

“Richard will be a tremendous asset to our team … and, as an independent business owner, will now be able to focus on developing higher-quality relationships and offering unbiased wealth management advice to his clients,” said Charles Shapiro, founding and managing partner of Stratos Wealth, in a statement.

Gibson focuses on tax-advantaged fixed income strategies and wealth planning. He joined Wells Fargo in 2007, after working for UnionBanc Investment Services, U.S. Bancorp and Prudential Securities (which he joined in 1999).

“I made the decision to join Stratos Wealth Partners because the firm’s RIA model allows me to have equity ownership and a partnership in a major wealth management firm, as well as the freedom to run my practice as a business owner and not an employee,” the advisor explained in a press release.

“More importantly, it was very clear to me that Stratos’ organizational structure, technology and practice management capabilities will allow me to better serve the needs of my clients,” Gibson said. “I will now have the opportunity to spend more time working with the families I serve, and that shift in focus is exactly what I was looking for.”

Stratos Wealth Partners says it has added about 45 new financial advisors to its network over the past year and now has some 180 affiliated reps. Stratos also has over $1.8 billion in client assets under management in advisory accounts and $3.1 billion in brokerage assets held in accounts with LPL Financial (LPLA), the firm’s broker-dealer.

New Lebenthal Office

Lebenthal Wealth Advisors said Monday that it opened an office in Williston, North Dakota.

Clay Skurdal, a former advisor with Morgan Stanley (2009-2012), is leading the effort, according to Lebenthal. Advisors Brent Lee and Brion Norby, will join him; they have been in the financial-services business seven years and 12 years, respectively.

“There is tremendous opportunity for a well-positioned wealth advisory firm to succeed in this environment by providing excellent client service, well-founded independent investment advice and strong performance,” said Lebenthal Wealth Chairman & CEO Frank Campanale, in a statement.

“We believe that it takes a unique understanding of the local business and social landscape in order to meet the needs of the people in the area,” explained Campanale. “The very talented team of Brent, Brion and Clay, all native sons of Williston, combined with the Lebenthal model for independent financial advisors, will compete strongly in this market.”

According to Lebenthal Wealth, North Dakota’s economy grew 9.7% in 2013, the fastest among all states, while its unemployment rate of 2.8% was the lowest in the U.S. Also, Williston lies in the Bakken Shale Formation, which includes large reserves of oil, coal and potash.

“Williston is a city of hard-working, family-oriented folks, and many of these families are conservative in nature and value long-term relationships, said Skurdal, in a press release. “The Lebenthal family brand will resonate very well with them. I am also looking forward to working with Jeff Lane, Frank Campanale and Andy Grillo, all of whom I have worked with over the last 30 years,” he concluded.

Prior to Morgan Stanley, Skurdal worked for Citigroup Smith Barney, Lehman Brothers and E.F. Hutton. Lee and Norby co-founded the independent financial planning and advisory firm TruWealth Financial in 2013.

“We are local men, born and raised in the community. The oil boom has created tremendous wealth for many of our residents,” explained Lee in a statement.

“Many of our clients and potential clients are making more money than they ever dreamed they would make, and they have to implement decisions that will affect not only their lives but also the lives of their kids and grandkids,” he said. “Our purpose is to work with families, clarify and simplify their financial lives and provide the best possible advice and management.”

— Check out What Low Oil Prices Mean for MLPs on ThinkAdvisor.