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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Recruiting Roundup: Big Groups Move to Focus, Kestra & Raymond James

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A group of independent reps in the Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network has left the firm and launched an RIA that is now part of Focus Financial Partners.

Registered investment advisor GYL Financial Synergies opened its doors on Aug. 1 in West Hartford, Connecticut. Its team includes Gerald Goldberg, Jonathan Yolles, Michael Lepore and Claire McDonald. Goldberg will serve as chief executive officer, Yolles as chief investment officer and Lepore and McDonald as senior managing directors.

The principals oversee some $4.5 billion in client assets, according to the “Wall Street Journal,” and have spent over 15 years working together at Wells Fargo and its predecessors; in 2014, they formed Goldberg, Yolles & Lepore, LLC and became part of Wells Fargo FiNet.

“Our guiding principle has always been to put our clients’ interests first. Establishing GYL as an independent RIA puts us in the best position to provide objective advice, expanded access to best-in-class investment options and excellent service to our clients,” said Goldberg, in a statement. “We are very excited to work with Focus, a firm known for supporting entrepreneurial RIA firms. The access to resources and capital we will have as a part of the Focus partnership will enable us to grow our new firm, both organically and through M&A transactions.”

“The founding mission of the Focus Independence program is to help elite advisors fully realize their entrepreneurial potential and serve in the clients’ best interests,” said Chris Dupuy, president of Focus Independence, in a press release. “GYL’s long standing commitment to excellent client services and their drive to grow makes them a natural fit for Focus.”

Independent advisor platform Kestra Financial, says it has welcomed the billion-dollar advisory team of Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Wiser Financial Group, which formerly worked with Transamerica Financial Advisors. Advisors Wesley Lentz, Clinton VanLinder, Robert Amberg, Jr. and Robert Campbell collectively manage nearly $1 billion in assets at the firm, which was founded in 1960.

“The Wiser Financial Group’s established, sophisticated advisory team is well positioned to take advantage of Kestra’s vast resources while allowing the advisors to focus on serving clients and growing the firm,” James Poer, CEO of Kestra Financial, said in a statement. (Kestra used to operate as NFP Advisor Services but recently changed its name when its ownership transferred from Madison Dearborn Partners to Stone Point Capital.)

Meanwhile, advisors at Abilene, Texas-based First Financial Bank are set to work with Raymond James Financial Services for investment and wealth management services they offer clients—as will Sturgis Bank & Trust Company of Sturgis, Michigan.

First Financial Brokerage Services, First Financial Bank’s investment program, was affiliated with Cetera Investment Services, for the past 18 years, before joining the Raymond James Financial Institutions Division. The First Financial program includes seven advisors and seven assistants, with its advisors collectively managing some $406 million in client assets and covering community markets throughout Texas.

“We are proud to welcome the advisors at First Financial Brokerage Services to our growing Financial Institutions Division,” said John Houston, Raymond James Financial Institutions Division’s managing director, I a statement. “As with Raymond James, First Financial is dedicated to providing superior client service. We look forward to providing the support they need as they continue to expand their investment program and offerings throughout Texas.”

Sturgis Bank’s investment program, Oakleaf Financial Services, previously had been affiliated with LPL Financial (since 2000); its three advisors, Chad Keim, Vince Little and Brian Oswald, collectively manage more than $300 million in client assets.

“We are excited to align with Raymond James, and for the ability to offer our clients and community premier access to the best service in the industry,” Keim said in a statement. “As a firm that prides itself on client service and community investment, Oakleaf couldn’t be better aligned with Raymond James and their unparalleled support.”

In other news, Bob Lamb has joined Springfield, Missouri-based BKD Wealth Advisors as a senior managing advisor in its Houston office. Lamb has spent 17 years in the financial-services industry, and was formerly senior vice president of client service and operations at a national RIA prior to joining BKD.

Wealth-data aggregation and reporting firm Private Client Resources has brought in Bob Miller as vice chairman and strategic advisor. Miller is the founder and former CEO of data aggregation and reporting firm CorrectNet, and three financial tech companies prior to that.

Read the July 28 Recruiting Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.


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