Bluespring Wealth Partners, the registered investment advisor acquisition arm of Kestra Financial, has facilitated the merger of two women-led RIAs in the Washington, D.C., area. Rockville, Md.–based Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates, backed by Bluespring since 2015, merged with Curo Private Wealth, a Reston, Va. firm acquired by Bluespring in 2021.
The combined firm, which oversees $460 million in client assets, will be run by Managing Director and Partner Anne McCabe, Managing Director and Partner Anne Marie Laboe and Operations Manager and Financial Advisor Atricia Roberts. It will operate under the Curo Private Wealth brand.
Curo is focused on serving women in transition, such as those who have recently lost a spouse due to death or divorce; retirement planning clients, primarily baby boomers who are near retirement; and what McCabe calls “wealth builders,” individuals and families who historically don’t have the level of assets advisors are looking for.
Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates was created by Bernard Wolfe, who ran his practice for 40 years before retiring in May 2021. The firm was affiliated with NFP, which eventually became Kestra. He sold the practice to Kestra, which formed Bluespring, in 2015. Laboe took over the practice when he retired.
In January 2021, Bluespring approached the RIA, asking if they’d be interested in discussing a possible partnership with Curo and McCabe.
McCabe said that when she was considering selling to Bluespring, one of the top selling points was the potential merger with Laboe’s firm.
“In my talks with Bluespring about them acquiring my practice, one thing that I made really clear was that I was not interested in selling my practice and then retiring anytime soon or leaving anytime soon,” McCabe said. “So it was really important for me to be able to continue partly running the business and continuing to serve our clients and continuing to grow. The idea of going from a sole practitioner with a couple support staff at the time to a much broader team was really exciting to me.”
Curo now has a total of seven staff, and the firm is looking to grow that with Bluespring’s support. Laboe says the fact that her team members are employees of Kestra has helped attract new recruits.
“It helps from a hiring perspective to have that corporate support, from an HR perspective, from a benefits perspective, the 401(k). We have the feel of a larger corporate firm when we’re talking about benefits packages for individuals, as well as for ourselves, and yet we have the entrepreneurial spirit of being a much smaller firm as well,” she said.
Kestra Financial launched its Bluespring subsidiary in July 2019, with the goal of acquiring RIAs looking for succession planning solutions. And while McCabe says succession planning was not a primary reason behind her Bluespring partnership, she believes her firm is now in a good position should a transition happen down the road.
“While we’re not in a position as a practice to necessarily need succession planning right now for the next generation, one of the nice things about being partnered with Bluespring is, when that time comes, when another succession transaction needs to happen for now the merged firm, there are many more opportunities and many more options by being partnered with Bluespring that we wouldn’t necessarily have as a standalone company just out in the marketplace,” she said.