September 29, 2021
Two former brokers turned advisers in Columbus, Ohio, have split for the second time in a year to start their own firm under Parsippany, NJ, RIA Summit Financial.
The new practice, dubbed Advocus Private Wealth, is led by Steve C. Vujevich and Matthew P. Anderson, former Merrill Lynch brokers who left Chicago-based Keebeck Wealth Management, a $ 1.6 billion asset firm. of dollars aligned with service provider RIA Dynasty. Financial partners.
The Advocus team had managed $ 400 million in client assets, according to Summit Growth Partners, a funding arm of Summit Financial that took a minority stake in the new company.
“We realized that our first step towards independence did not provide the excellent level of resources and support that we expected, and that our clients deserved,” Vujevich said in a prepared statement extolling financial planning and technology options offered by Summit.
A Dynasty spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on Vujevich’s departures or remarks.
Vujevich and Anderson joined Keebeck in June 2020, the same month Vujevich was allowed to resign from Merrill after concerns about “engaging in undisclosed outside business activity,” according to registration records. Both had given up their brokerage licenses when they moved to Keebeck, according to their records.
“We intended to leave earlier in the year, but the pandemic changed those plans, forcing us to leave later than planned,” Vujevich said in an email regarding his exit from Merrill. He declined to say whether the allegation of outside business activity was related to his intentions to join the Chicago RIA.
Vujevich and Anderson are joined in their new practice Summit by another Keebeck advisor, Charles D. Robinson, who will work in Advocus’s second office in Charlotte, North Carolina, but is not a founding partner, according to the ‘Summit Wednesday announcement. The three people had registered with Summit in early June, according to records from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s investment advisers public disclosure site.
Keebeck Wealth Management is led by Bruce Keebeck Lee, a former private wealth broker featured at Merrill whose own spinning exit in 2018 came after allegations about his mandatory gambling compliance training requirements. suspended the following year by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which found that two of his associates had taken exams for him.
Lee, via Dynasty’s spokesperson, declined a separate request for comment sent to him via social media.
The Advocus team realized after becoming independent that they needed “a stronger support and service model,” said Summit Financial CEO Stan Gregor, who did not respond to a request for comment, in a statement prepared in the company’s press release. The duo also said they were drawn to the opportunity to monetize part of their practice by selling a stake in SGP.
Summit, along with one of its funders, Merchant Investment Management, formed SGP in January. (Merchant, a serial investor in RIA, took a minority stake in Summit Financial, which oversees a total of $ 4.1 billion in assets, in August 2018.)
Advocus uses Summit Financial’s SummitVantage, a turnkey asset management program, or Tamp, as well as Addar Inc., for performance reporting, Salesforce Inc. for customer relationship management, and eMoney Advisor from Fidelity for financial planning, according to Summit’s announcement.
The new practice is on-call with Schwab Advisor Services and Pershing, according to its website. Keebeck had recommended the same depositories in its ADV brochure filed with the SEC.
Vujevich, with 22 years in financial services, joined Merrill in 2000 after a three-year stint with Signator Investors, according to his BrokerCheck report.
Anderson, who has 11 years of industry experience, joined Merrill in 2012 and previously worked for a year and a half at UBS Wealth Management from 2003 to 2004, according to his BrokerCheck report.
Robinson, a 15-year-old broker, started with Edward Jones in 2005, moved to Ameriprise Financial Services the following year and NFP Securities in 2009, according to his BrokerCheck. In 2013, he registered as a broker with LPL Financial and independent advisor with Cornerstone Wealth, but gave up his brokerage license in 2017 and moved to Keebeck in August 2020, according to his BrokerCheck report and the Foundation. SEC IAPD data.
With the Advocus deal, Summit Growth Partners has taken minority stakes in 17 companies, according to the announcement.
Dynasty, which also provides access to financing and announced in May that it would begin offering unchecked minority investments in its partner companies, last week onboarded its fourth RIA partner of the year – a producer of 8.8 million. of dollars. The Merrill team which broke off in Colorado.