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Former Morgan Stanley, Advisor Group Execs Launch New Firm, Buy 2 BDs

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A group of executives previously with Morgan Stanley and the Advisor Group of independent broker-dealers have formed a wealth management group and struck a deal to buy two broker-dealers – that have 500 bank advisors and about $30 billion in client assets – with the support of Lee Equity Partners.

New York-based Atria Wealth Solutions (Atria) on Wednesday announced the news, which entails the purchase of CUSO Financial Services (CFS) and Sorrento Pacific Financial (SPF).

The new venture is being led by CEO Doug Ketterer, the former head of field management at Morgan Stanley; COO Eugene Elias, the prior head of client and advisor platforms at Morgan Stanley; and Chief Growth Officer Kevin Beard, who previously led acquisition and recruiting strategies for the Advisor Group of IBDs (which had been owned by AIG until 2016).

“In an industry that is undergoing more change than anything I have ever seen, in terms of … regulation and other areas, and at a pace that is faster than ever, we [decided to] look at the change and disruption as an opportunity to provide something new for advisors and clients who want something more from wealth firms,” Ketterer said in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

“They want a trusted partner to do better for them as advisors and for their clients as they grow their practices,” the CEO explained, “so Atria was born. Our mission is to help advisors help their clients in a new wealth-management world.”

With “so much change going on,” advisors need “a next-generation set of tools and capabilities,” Ketterer added. “We will bring that through the experience of our three partners, who had longstanding wealth-management careers in different channels.”

M&A Terms

Atria is buying out the limited partners of CFS. CFS general partners and co-founders Valorie Seyfert and Amy Beattie are set to keep an equity interest in the firm and will stay on as its leaders in San Diego.

“We saw a perfect partner to [work] with to reach the objectives we had set for the firm,” explained Seyfert, in an interview.

“Together, we can grow our technology and continue to expand our strong operations and compliance work,” she added. “We have recently celebrated 20 years of success and are now set up for the future. It’s very exciting, and we’re so pleased to have aligned with what we knew would be a great partnership from the beginning.”

As Atria adds advisors, they will work on the CFS-SPF platform, which does its clearing and custodial work with Pershing. 

— Related on ThinkAdvisor