Industry veteran Larry Roth has found himself another act — leading a wealth management consulting firm, New York-based RLR Strategic Partners, which will do M&A work with Berkshire Global Advisors.  

Roth has served as head of Cetera Financial Group (2014-2016), its predecessor Realty Capital Securities (2013-2014), AIG Advisor Group (2006-2013) and ING Advisor Group (1991-2000). These posts entailed weathering the financial crisis and troubles tied to an accounting scandal and the subsequent bankruptcy of RCS’ parent company, RCS Capital. 

“Earlier in my career, I was with ING Advisor Group, and that is now the core of Cetera. It’s a small world,” Roth said in an interview. “I’ve run firms during good times and in challenging times.”

“Now, I’m really taking my skills experience, expertise and contacts to work with leadership teams, boards, etc., and pulling it all together. This [new] work will focus primarily on already successful firms, broker-dealers, tech groups, wealth managers and private-equity groups that are in growth mode,” Roth explained. “I will help them identify ways to grow their businesses and streamline them.” 

Roth has logged more than 25 years of work in financial services. Recently, he was tapped for a seat on the board of the investment firm Oppenheimer & Co. He has a J.D. and an accounting degree, as well as Series 7, 24, 63 and 79 FINRA registrations.

Today’s Wealth Management Scene, M&As

How does he see the current climate for advisors and their practices?

“Because regulatory pressure seems to have eased a bit and the economy is strong, we have a bunch of alignments,” Roth said. “The equity markets are up, as are interest rates. There is massive private-equity capital and borrowing available, so firm valuations continue to increase.”

As a result, he continues, “Comps in our space … are at 2 or 3% of their all-time highs, and these positive trends should tend to accelerate.”

Roth says this bodes well “as more folks on the sidelines jump in,” as opposed to what the scene was like a few years ago, when PE firms stayed on the sidelines.

What’s been most surprising for him in this scenario? “That there’s been such a prolonged alignment of the tailwinds,” he said. “I can reach out private equity firms that have no history of investing in wealth management and find many keen on understanding the space today.”

Others agree.

“The retail wealth management space is undergoing significant transformation, driven by technology, regulatory and demographic changes,” Bruce Cameron, co-founder and partner at Berkshire Global Advisors, said in a statement. “Larry’s proven track record for effectively managing complexity to drive successful outcomes in deals and strategic planning within the wealth management industry translates into enormous potential opportunities for both Berkshire Global Partners and the RLR team.”

For Roth, the new ventures has “been fun so far and now formalizing it has been really exciting, particularly our strategic alliance with Berkshire … which has done hundreds and hundreds of transactions.”

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