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Hightower, LaSalle Add New Groups: Recruiting Roundup

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RIA Hightower Advisors says it has bought a stake of Argent Wealth Management, a $1.7 billion advisory practice based in Waltham, Massachusetts.  

Founded in 1992, Argent has 22 employees, including 11 advisors, who serve clients in the greater Boston area.

This deal is Hightower’s seventh transaction so far this year. Including Argent, Hightower now has 112 advisory businesses in 33 states.

“Argent’s intensive focus on financial planning and its depth of knowledge in the tax space has made Argent advisors among the most sought-after in the Boston area,” said Bob Oros, CEO of Hightower, in a statement. 

“We welcome the Argent team to our community, and look forward to supporting them as they deepen their relationships with clients and seek opportunities to grow and scale,” Oros added.

As of June 30, Hightower’s assets under administration were $75.7 billion and its assets under management were $56.7 billion. 

LaSalle St. News

LaSalle St., a broker-dealer and RIA in Chicago, has recruited the Retirement Services Group of Northbrook, Illinois. 

The firm focuses on profit sharing and 401(k) plans and works with $625 million in assets. It was previously affiliated with Securities Service Network, one of the Ladenburg Thalmann broker-dealers acquired earlier this year by Advisor Group.

“Our recruitment of Retirement Services Group is a prime example of how LaSalle St.’s nimble and comprehensive home office support adds value to a diverse array of practices,” said Mark Contey, senior vice president of Business Development for LaSalle St., in a statement.

Retirement Services Group was founded in 1993 by Peter Kearney, who has some 25 years of experience in the business and serves on the American Funds Advisory Council. 

“Our decision to join LaSalle St. became clear when we realized how greatly we would benefit from open access to senior management, and from the level of professionalism among home office staff,” according to Kearney.

Kearney works closely with Jeff Kinzler, a financial advisor who has 30 years of industry experience. The firm says Patrick Kearney also has joined the team to “develop its client acquisition and servicing activities.”

The best teams in our field leverage such advantages into exceptional retirement plan experiences for employers and employees. With LaSalle St. as our partner, we will become even better at doing so for our clients. During the current market upheaval, that’s more important than ever.”

LaSalle St. recently introduced a zero-rate M&A loan program and a fund and annuity direct help desk for advisors with assets held directly by mutual funds and insurance companies. Founded in 1974, LaSalle St. has some 300-plus financial advisors with about $10 billion in total client assets.

The firm clears primarily through National Financial Services, with custodial services through NFS parent Fidelity Investments. 

Advisor Group Updates

Meanwhile, Royal Alliance Associates — one of the Advisor Group broker-dealers — has recruited Financial Foundation Services, an East Brunswick, New Jersey-based wealth firm with some $120 million in client assets.

Financial Foundation Services, which earlier worked with Ameriprise Financial, is led by Robert Rafano, CFP. It is doing business with Affiliated Advisors, headed by Rita Robbins, a well-known industry veteran.

“This move allows me the freedom to run my business as I choose, while providing top-flight support and infrastructure I need,” Rafano said in a statement.

Started in 1994, Affiliated Advisors works with 85 financial professionals and some $2.4 billion in assets. 

Separately, Advisor Group which along with Royal Alliance includes FSC Securities, SagePoint Financial, Woodbury Financial Services, Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network — says it will host a virtual national conference, ConnectED Canvas, from Oct. 26 to 29. 

Highlights include a discussion between Hall of Fame NBA center Shaquille O’Neal and Advisor Group President and CEO Jamie Price; comments from former Federal Reserve Chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen; and a talk by former professional boxing champion and television personality Laila Ali.

In addition, the event will feature entertainment from singer Kenny Loggins, Ukrainian sand-animation performance artist Kseniya Simonova, and America’s Got Talent winner and magician Shin Lim. 

Pre-conference events on the agenda encompass a discussion entitled “Change is Inevitable, Growth is Intentional’ in partnership with Envestnet; “Better Together,” which will highlight best practices from Advisor Group’s Women Forward Initiative and the Ladenburg Institute of Women and Finance, and will feature an talk by Bonnie St. John, the first African-American to medal in the Winter Olympics; and Assistants’ Academy.

“Central to Advisor Group’s culture is a commitment to continuously explore new ideas and approaches … ,” said Advisor Group Chief Marketing Officer Susan Theder, in a statement. 

“We have remained true to this spirit — and have drawn inspiration from innovative interactive events like Apple’s recent product showcase and Comic-Con 2020 — in approaching ConnectED Canvas as a unique opportunity to push the boundaries of what can be accomplished through virtual experiences in our industry,” she explained.  

services through NFS parent Fidelity Investments. 

JPMorgan Announcement

Adam Frank has been named head of Wealth Planning and Advice for U.S. Wealth Management at JPMorgan Chase. In this new role, Frank will oversee a team of wealth planning specialists. 

The executive reports to Rob Ferrari, head of Investments, Products and Advice for U.S. Wealth Management, which is led by Kristin Lemkau.

Frank, an attorney, has about 20 years of Wall Street experience and most recently led the Wealth Management practice for J.P. Morgan Securities.