Recruiting in '17 is off to a busy start.

HighTower says a group formerly working with Wells Fargo Private Bank is now using its platform: Fortress Wealth Planning, which has about $1 billion client assets, recently came on board with advisors Michael Skowfoe, Eileen Ortega, Jay Rolfe and Jim Williams. (Skowfoe has 18 years in the industry.)

“The fiduciary standard is the foundation of the HighTower culture and business model,” said Michael Parker, chief development officer for HighTower, in a statement. “HighTower offers independent business owners like the team at Fortress Wealth Planning a likeminded community, unparalleled resources and unwavering dedication to the best interests of clients.”

In 2016, HighTower said 14 new teams with about $4 billion in assets in six states joined it. The firm now has 67 teams and offices in 26 states.

Focus Financial

Focus Financial Partners says one of its partner firms, the Colony Group, has completed a merger with Jones Barclay Boston, a registered investment advisory firm based in Denver with about $343 million in assets.

This deal marks Colony’s sixth transaction since joining the Focus partnership in 2011. The deal will “expand Colony’s practice supporting those in the professional sports and entertainment industries,” according to a press release, and allow the firm to open its first office location in the West.

Colony became part of Focus Financial in 2011. Since then, it has made five strategic transactions—adding five offices and more than doubling the number of employees.

“We are delighted to have the Jones Barclay Boston team join us,” said Michael Nathanson, Colony’s Chairman and CEO, in a statement. “This merger brings key talent to our firm in a new geography, while also allowing us to launch what we believe will be a best-in-class professional athlete and entertainment practice.”

The Colony Group— an independent, fee-only, financial advisory firm—has roughly $5.5 billion in assets and 100 employees in Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Florida and Colorado.

“The two firms share common values and a commitment to growth and exceptional client service, and complement each other in their geographic expansion and service offerings,” said Rudy Adolf, CEO and founder of Focus, in a press release.

Other News

S2K Financial, a wholesale broker-dealer that works on offering registered securities and private placements to retail investors via independent BDs and RIAs, says it hired Megan Smith as the firm’s director of national accounts. It also two new regional wholesalers, Steven Reed, covering the West Coast; and Jeff Arnold, covering the Midwest.

“Consumer, regulatory and technological changes have disrupted traditional financial product distribution models, and opened up an enormous opportunity for disruptive wholesaling strategies that have a paramount focus on the end retail investor,” said S2K Financial CEO Steven L. Kantor, in a statement. “Bringing on board Megan, Steve and Jeff in these pivotal roles will further enable us to serve as a top change agent in a field that is very much in need of transformation.”

Smith previously served as executive vice president and national accounts manager with KBS Capital Markets; earlier, she was with AXA Distributors and Liberty Funds Distributors. She started her career at Fidelity Investments and the former Dean Witter Reynolds.

Semper Capital Management, a private fixed-income investment manager, has brought on Christopher Mendez as general counsel and chief compliance officer from Goodwin Procter.

“I’m thrilled to join the Semper team at such an exciting time of opportunity and growth for the firm. I look forward to helping the firm navigate the ever-changing legal and compliance landscape while serving the firm’s clients,” said Mendez, in a statement.

Mendez began his career at Vanguard over ten years ago following service as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. 

“We’re very fortunate to have Chris on board,” said Semper CEO Greg Parsons. “Not only will he provide comprehensive guidance in all aspects of the firm’s legal matters, but I am personally pleased to have the leadership of another Marine on the Semper team.”

MVP Realty Advisors says Audrey Kamin, a securities professional with more than 20 years of experience, has joined the company as senior vice president, national accounts manager. The firm also hired Engage BD, owned and managed by real-estate securities veteran Bonnie Shekarabi, as a consultant for broker-dealer relations.

“Audrey is a results driven professional who brings with her a wealth of industry relationships and a proven track record in real estate securities sales,” said Mike Shustek, chief executive officer of MVP Realty Advisors, in a statement.

Kamin joins MVP from Independent Financial Group; she also has worked for ATEL Securities and MetLife Investors, after spending 11 years as a financial advisor with Great American Advisors.