Commonwealth Financial Network unveiled the arrival of another big team to its growing ranks, the latest step in the giant’s effort to reach $1 trillion in assets under management.
The Waltham, Massachusetts based hybrid registered investment advisor announced Monday it had recruited the Aegis Consulting group from Lincoln Financial Group. After moving two months ago in early March, the Jacksonville, Florida-based team of 13 financial advisors plus support staff has brought over nearly $1.24 billion of client assets, according to a press release. Commonwealth reported $242.9 billion in total assets overseen by roughly 2,100 independent financial advisors across the nation at the end of 2022.
Aegis is led by principals Michael Cirino and Alexander Harrison and includes advisors Bruce Chadbourne, Cindy Deavel, Stuart Farb, Hayley Gregory, Rebecca Kaufman, Taylor Lloyd, James Neel, Nathan Rogero, Bruce Schilling, Michael Sullum and Walter Williams. The firm provides “advanced fee-based financial planning, wealth management, and estate and business succession planning for high- and ultra-high-net-worth clients, family businesses, and salaried executives,” according to the press release.
“They were the last people we expected to move,” Louis Diamond, a recruiter at Diamond Consultants who advised on the move, said in an interview. The shift eventually took more than a year to make, and was the first time that the team — where Cirino and Harrison had spent 39 and 25 years, respectively, at Lincoln — ever switched firms.
The group hadn’t been actively looking and was content at Lincoln, Diamond said, when a colleague — another advisor who ended up joining them in the move — introduced him to the group.
Read more: $1B team moves to Commonwealth with goal of 1,000 financial advisors
Cirino, Harrison and their team reluctantly agreed to consider their options, and Diamond laid out 20 firms, from which they considered a handful of roughly 5. They thought about starting their own RIA but realized it “wasn’t the right fit,” then considered jumping to leading independent broker-dealers and eventually decided that Commonwealth, with its strong technology platforms, fit the bill.
“When they looked out over the horizon, they realized that the technology they were working with was so behind the times, and wasn’t keeping up with where the industry was going,” Diamond said. He added that Lincoln had recently undertaken cost cutting measures that de-emphasized the planning department and changed the culture for advisors.
“They were big enough where they were doing everything themselves” at Lincoln, Diamond added. Additionally, as the team grew and looked to hire more advisors, the name of Lincoln — associated with insurance more than with wealth management — had proven a turn-off for top talent, Diamond said.
A spokesperson for Lincoln declined to comment on the move.
Becca Hajjar, a managing principal and the chief business development officer at Commonwealth, said in the press release that “the team will benefit from our advanced technology, streamlined operations, and suite of sophisticated solutions, including our Advanced Planning support for high- and ultra-high-net-worth clients.”
Tech-wise, “all the components of operations were housed in one spot” at Commonwealth, Harrison said in an interview. “We’re able to have more operational capacity and more time to spend with clients.”
Hajjar added in an interview that it’s a common practice at Commonwealth to wait a few months before announcing a transition, so that advisors can focus first on moving clients over. “We want people to come here and get settled. The announcement is great to get out there, but we want their transition to be successful and get the assets moved over,” Hajjar said.
Persuading the clients to come along has been relatively easy in the past two months, Harrison said, given that the group was retaining its affiliation model of being dually registered and simply switching its back-end provider — unlike with some advisors, who lean more on the brand name of the new company to sell their move to clients.
Said Harrison: “It’s almost like a professional football team moving from one stadium to a new stadium.”
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