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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Ron Carson Jumping to Cetera From LPL

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Carson Wealth Management is poised to switch broker-dealers, according to a source familiar with the firm. Led by Ron Carson, the group has been affiliated with LPL Financial since 1989 but is likely set to join a broker-dealer within the Cetera Financial Group over the next few weeks or months.

Carson Wealth’s website states that the group still trades securities through LPL and that Robert Moore – the current CEO of Cetera and former-president of LPL Financial – is a board member. (Both LPL and Cetera declined to comment on the matter.)

As of Oct. 31, Carson Wealth had $2.6 billion of assets with LPL, $1 billion on its advisory platform and $1.6 billion on its brokerage platform.

In March 2015, Moore joined the executive board of Carson Institutional Alliance, a support platform for RIAs, after leaving LPL.

“We value our longstanding relationships with both Ron and Robert,” said LPL Chairman & CEO Mark Casady, in a statement at the time. “The advice and counsel Robert will bring to Alliance Partners and Carson Wealth Management as part of the board will add to their continued success. We are pleased that Robert will remain connected to LPL in this manner.”

Carson Wealth has offices in Omaha, Nebraska; Vincennes, Indiana; and San Rafael, California. In addition to Ron Carson, it has 12 wealth advisors.

Carson’s Growth Spurt

In May, 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, Ill.-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.

Cetera’s Story

Cetera Financial Group struck a deal in September to sell Legend Group, a broker-dealer with about 350 advisors and $6 billion in assets, to Lincoln Investment Capital.

Cetera, which before the Legend deal announcement had about 9,000 affiliated reps, includes the following broker-dealers: Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities and Summit Brokerage Services. It recently merged reps with Investors Capital into Cetera Advisors and those with VSR Group into Summit.

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 Nicholas 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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