Raymond James says a team of advisors from Morgan Stanley has joined its independent channel in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Giovanni Duran, CFP, Joseph Cataldo and Nick Penna, CRPC, who work with about $520 million in combined assets and do business as IronRidge Wealth Management Group.

“We knew as a team that the next best step for us and our clients was to become an independent practice … ,” said Duran, managing partner, in a statement. “We are excited to launch our independent practice and operate as true business owners as we continue to serve our clients.”

Duran started his career at Gibraltar Securities more than 20 years ago; he joined Smith Barney in 2002 and Morgan Stanley in 2008. Cataldo began work in the business in 1990 and moved to Smith Barney in 1997 and Morgan Stanley in 2008. Penna became part of the team in 2011.

“We are delighted to welcome Giovanni, Joseph, Nick and Lauren to Raymond James’ independent channel,” according to  Shannon Reid, Northeast regional director for RJFS’ Independent Contractor Division. “They were thorough in their due diligence, knowing how they wanted to enhance, grow and move their practice forward, so we are very pleased they chose to partner with us in this important Northeast market.”

New Kestra Group

Kestra Private Wealth Services, an RIA unit of Kestra Financial, said a five-person team in Melbourne, Florida, is now part of the organization. The group, which used to be with UBS , works with roughly $175 million in assets and does business as Three Bridges Planning.

Director of Portfolio Management Dennis Laughlin — who has been in the business for 35 years — is the father of Brian Laughlin, CFP, AIF, director of Financial Planning; and Client Relationship Manager Judy McCarthy is the mother of Brendan McCarthy, director of Wealth Management. Samantha Verzi, who serves as the team’s client service expert, has 11 years of experience in financial services.

“Now more than ever before, full-service independence has become increasingly attractive to advisors who have a long track record of client satisfaction and success. To enhance this level of service, sophisticated teams like Three Bridges Planning are stepping out of the wirehouses in droves and establishing their own businesses for the first time,” according to Rob Bartenstein, CEO and Senior Management Director of Kestra PWS.

“Our turnkey model has proven highly effective for advisors in these exact scenarios,” Bartenstein added.

The team’s name is tied to the main “bridges” of financial planning: investments and insurance, retirement income, and personal wealth strategies.

“Exceptional client service has always been at the forefront of our firm’s ethos, and our decision to align with Kestra Private Wealth Services furthers that commitment,” said Dennis Laughlin, in a statement. “From the get-go, Rob and his colleagues have made our transition to independence effortless so we can continue to put our clients’ best interests first through every step of the financial planning process.”

LPL News

Meanwhile, LPL Financial says Mike Bensey of Orlando has affiliated with the firm and with Good Life Companies. Bensey managed about $275 million of client assets previously with Ameriprise Financial Services.

“I’m happy to move to an independent model that offers increased support with the partnership of both Good Life and LPL Financial,” according to Bensey. “Good Life has been instrumental in helping transition and establish my business.”

Bensey has over 30 years of experience in financial services. He is joined by his son Drew Bensey and son-in-law Daniel Thornton.  

“We look forward to having Mike and team anchor our office in Orlando … ,” said CEO Conor Delaney, in a statement. “As advisors increasingly look to find a turn-key solution to support all of their non-revenue generating activities, Mike is blazing that trail with the support of Good Life and LPL.”

According to Rich Steinmeier, LPL Financial managing director and divisional president, Business Development: “We understand our advisors and the advice industry because it’s our sole focus. And in today’s environment, advisors who chose to run an independent business need to be able to outsource more of the day-to-day operations and support services so they have more time in front of clients, where they have the most value.”

In April, a team of six advisors moved to LPL and Good Life from Foresters Financial with about $390 million of assets. The group, Firenze Wealth Management is led by Carrie Mullins and Sara Tanner and based near Portland, Oregon.

More Developments

Bernstein Private Wealth Management announced that Daniel Weisman has joined the Nashville office as a vice president and advisor to individuals and institutions.

“Dan has established himself as a trusted advisor, with deep financial knowledge and success as an entrepreneur, but he also brings an authenticity and intellectual curiosity that will serve to deepen our relationships with local clients,” according to Managing Director Adam Sansiveri.

Earlier, Weisman spent more than a decade as an entrepreneur and advisor in the music industry. He was a manager at Jay Z’s Roc Nation and moved from Los Angeles in 2016 to run its Nashville office. His clients included Mike Posner, Wale, Big Sean and Capital Cities.

In 2013, the advisor was a co-founder of the luxury shoe company Buscemi, bought by Lion Capital in 2015). He also sold One Wipe Charlies for cash and equity to the Dollar Shave Club; the business was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion in 2016.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Bernstein team in Nashville and continue to build a practice in this diverse and lively city of culture and music,” said Weisman.