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LPL Affiliate Forms $2.6B Group: Recruiting Roundup

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Merit Financial Group, an independent RIA firm and a super office of supervisory jurisdiction affiliated with LPL Financial has merged its operations with those of Botsford Financial Group and Financial Development Systems.

The combination puts the total number of Merit professionals at 60, and the group’s assets under management are $2.6 billion.

Botsford Financial specializes in retirement and asset preservation planning for high net worth clients, while Financial Development provides holistic wealth management services that include estate planning and tax strategy.

“The strategic combination of Merit with Botsford Financial Group and Financial Development Systems is a major milestone that sets us up for considerable future success in serving retail investors, advisors, plan sponsors and benefits consultants in the qualified retirement plan space,” said Rick Kent, president and founder of Merit, in a statement.

“By joining forces now, the advisors and clients of each of our firms will benefit with access to enhanced strategies, experience and capabilities that weren’t immediately available to our businesses on a stand-alone basis,” Kent explained.

Botsford Financial will be led by its President, Kay Lynn Mayhue. Erin Botsford, Botsford’s founder will serve as a strategic business development officer.

FDS will operate as a partner under the Merit brand and platform; Merit has served FDS as its OSJ since 2014.

Jody Owenby, previously president of FDS, will serve as a senior partner at Merit. Greg Gerhard, previously COO and CFO, will act as partner and chief internal strategy officer of the combined firm.

“We thank LPL Financial and our transaction advisor, FP Transitions, for their significant assistance in helping us facilitate this strategic combination,” Kent added.

According to Andy Kalbaugh, head of National Sales and Consulting: “LPL is proud to be able to deliver the strategic resources and support that help valued clients such as these accelerate their growth.”

Raymond James recruited financial advisor Phil Closuit, to its employee channel in Boston, according to Tom Galvin, North Atlantic regional director for Raymond James & Associates.

Closuit joined the firm from Merrill Lynch and previously managed more than $150 million in assets and had about $1.2 million in yearly fees & commissions. He makes the move with Jane Fitzwilliam, senior registered client service associate.

Closuit has been in the industry for 20 years. He began his financial services career at UBS and moved to Merrill Lynch in 2009. Fitzwilliam has worked with Closuit since 2002.

More Developments

“Raymond James’ strong presence in the Northeast continues to grow with the addition of experienced advisors like Phil,” said Galvin. “We’re excited to welcome Phil and Jane to the firm, and we’re proud that they chose Raymond James as their partner in providing best-in-class wealth management services to their clients.”

Commonwealth Financial Network said Spiegelman Wealth Management of Lafayette, California, is now part of its network of independent financial advisors. Formerly affiliated with Northwestern Mutual, advisors Adam and Alan Spiegelman—along with their team—have managed about $350 million in assets.

“We’re excited to welcome Spiegelman Wealth Management to the Commonwealth community,” said Andrew Daniels, managing principal of business development, in a statement. “This is a hardworking family office that offers white-glove service to its clients, and we look forward to providing that same level of service to this team.”

Adam Spiegelman, CFP, said in a statement, “After extensive due diligence at all major advisory firms nationwide, we agreed that Commonwealth was the right move for us—not only for the offerings and opportunities that are now available to us but from a cultural standpoint as well.”