Recruiting in 2017 is off to a busy start.

HighTower has attracted a pair of breakaway brokers that manage some $1 billion in client assets: Joel Talish, formerly of Wells Fargo Clearing Services in Westchester County, New York, and John Buffa, who used to work for a Morgan Stanley office in Paramus, New Jersey.

The two formed Cognetic Capital Advisors, which is affiliated with HighTower.

“2016 was one of the most successful years in HighTower history, and we’re continuing that momentum into 2017 with two significant additions,” said Michael Parker, chief development officer for HighTower. “Joel, John and the rest of the team at Cognetic Capital Advisors exemplify the high caliber of independent business that thrives on the HighTower platform.”

Talish has 21 years in the business, while Buffa has 18, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

Cognetic Capital Advisors is the second billion-dollar team to join HighTower community this year. Earlier in 2017, Fortress Wealth Planning launched on the HighTower platform in Jacksonville, Florida.

RBC Wealth Management says it recruited two advisors from Merrill Lynch in Minneapolis with over $1 million in yearly fees and commissions and about $145 million in assets under management.

Steven Culbert and Mark Smith each has over 10 years of industry experience; they made the move to RBC with investment associate Nathan Conery.

“We’re very excited to welcome Steven and Mark to RBC Wealth Management,” said Tom Schulenberg, director of the Minneapolis complex, in a statement. “They have strong industry knowledge and backgrounds, and will work tirelessly to meet the needs of their clients. They are great additions to the firm.”

RBC Wealth Management, based in Minneapolis, has $279 billion in total client assets managed by about 1,800 financial advisors operating in 200 locations in 40 states.

In late-January, RBC welcomed a new branch director to its Raleigh, N.C. office: Bob Gipp, who formerly worked for Wells Fargo Advisors.

First Allied Recruiting

San Diego-based First Allied Securities, part of the Cetera Financial Group, says that the affiliated independent financial advisory firm Lifestyle Financial Advisors recently welcomed the Laura A. Nagle independent advisory practice into its business in the Gulf Coast region of Texas.

Ms. Nagle, a 35-year industry veteran, moved to Lifestyle with more than $167 million in client assets; Lifestyle is led by founder Michael A. Wegner, CWS.

“First Allied is very pleased to have assisted in the merger of Laura Nagle’s independent advisory practice into Lifestyle Financial Advisors,” said First Allied President &C CEO Kevin Keefe.

“Ms. Nagle has been an extraordinarily successful, well-established financial advisor, primarily serving retirement-planning accounts in the South Houston area, and her business fits extremely well with Lifestyle’s advisory specialties and geographic footprint,” Keefe explained.

Lifestyle Financial Advisors is in Friendswood, Texas, and has offices in Texas City and Deer Park, Texas, all in the Gulf Coast area. With the addition of the Laura Nagle practice, Lifestyle will now serve roughly $510 million in client assets.

“First Allied has dedicated significant resources to helping our advisors realize their expansion goals, and we are delighted to assist Lifestyle in continuing to fulfill its growth strategy of adding additional advisors to its business in the South Texas region,” added Keefe.

Advisor Jason R. Radakovich and his team recently moved their practice from Waddell & Reed to LPL Financial in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Radakovich manages over $156 million in client assets and has over 15 years of industry experience.

“In looking out for the best interest of my clients, I recognized that joining LPL Financial would provide me and my team the extensive tools, resources and support needed to administer service excellence,” said Radakovich in a statement.

The team’s practice, Full Circle Wealth Strategies, “is founded on four basic principles; honesty, trust, integrity and experience. LPL fully supports our mission and this transition will allow our team to exemplify our values while providing unbiased financial advice,” he added.

Holli L. Radakovich serves as operations manager, Jared W. Walker is an advisor; and Kelsey R. Abbott works as a client service specialist.

Beacon M&A News

In other news, Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors said it recently merged with Walden Capital Advisors, a Philadelphia-based RIA with a team of five managing about $150 million in client assets. This is the second M&A transaction for BPWA in the past three months.

Jill Broder Steinberg, founder of Walden Capital Advisors, has more than 30 years of investment advisory and investment banking experience.

Beacon Pointe says it “breaks industry demographic stereotypes with an employee base that is more than 50% women, of which many are in leadership roles within the company and the majority of the firm’s department heads are women.

“Jill and her colleagues are phenomenal assets to the Beacon Pointe Team – their culture, their philosophical approach to client service and focus on financial planning resonate extremely well with our firm’s approach. We have a lot of talent joining the Beacon Pointe Family – smart, driven people with bright futures ahead of them and we are very excited to have them on board,” explained Matt Cooper, president of BPWA, in a statement.

In addition to Steinberg, Bryan Moylan, CFP, also moves to Beacon Pointe as an advisor, along with Stephanie Vogt, CFA, who is an associate wealth advisor, and Fran Gibson, a client service manager.

“We are extremely excited to join forces with the talented Beacon Pointe team and leverage the firm’s supportive resources to further enhance our clients’ experiences,” Steinburg said in a statement. “Our passion for serving and empowering female investors is also an important mission of Beacon Pointe, and our team is very excited about the alignment of philosophies and approaches to helping all clients achieve their financial and life goals.”

Steinburg and her team work with clients in the greater Philadelphia region, including parts of New Jersey.

The merger of Walden Capital Advisors will bring BPWA total assets under management to over $2 Billion. Including BPWA, RIA Beacon Pointe Advisors and Beacon Pointe Wealth Advisors, the combined entities have over $9.5 billion in combined assets under management.