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RIA Roundup: Venerable Holdings to Create RIA

It was a slow week for mergers and acquisitions in the RIA space, but two new firms are being created and Baird has added a trio from Zions Bank with half a billion dollars under management.

In earlier news, Creative Planning agreed to buy Goldman Sachs Personal Finance Management Unit and Focus Financial finalized its sale to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.


Venerable Holdings to Create RIA, Variable Insurance Trust

Venerable Holdings, the West Chester, Penn.-based parent company of three insurance brokerages, announced plans to launch a subsidiary RIA called VIA, alongside a variable trust that will be made up of funds managed by VIA and provide investment options for separate insurance accounts.

“This initiative is part of our ongoing effort to grow and optimize our business and furthers our mission to provide innovative risk transfer solutions to companies with variable annuity blocks,” the company said in an announcement. “Over time, the VIT will bring the management of the mutual funds underlying Venerable Insurance and Annuity Company’s variable annuity business in-house, similar to the framework used by most major variable annuity companies in the industry.”

Venerable EVP and Chief Legal Officer Tim Brown has been named VIA’s president and will head up its creation and subsequent operations while continuing to lead Venerable’s legal and compliance teams.

The firm has also hired Michal Levy as head of the new RIA and Adrea Scaramucci as senior vice president and chief compliance officer. Both will report directly to Brown.

Levy was most recently president of Equitable Investment Management, where she was responsible for approximately $110 billion in AUM and oversaw all aspects of investment management.

Scaramucci comes to the firm from ACA Group, where she was a senior principal consultant and outsourced COO.

“As an organization, Venerable continues to demonstrate a keen ability to execute on challenging and innovative business initiatives like this one,” Venerable Chairman and CEO David Marcinek said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in Tim, our newly named VIA leaders, and the project team to drive this endeavor.”


Crescent Grove Launches Alt RIA Platform

Crescent Grove Advisors, a Chicago-area RIA with some $4 billion in managed assets, has launched an affiliated alternative investment platform called Barrett Upton Capital Advisors to offer turnkey access to private investments for wealthy and institutional clients.

Registered with the SEC in March, the new firm will focus on alternative investments managed by professionals with whom its team has developed relationships over multiple decades, according to an announcement.

“We witnessed the private markets ‘access dilemma’ firsthand and wanted to create a thoughtful solution,” Barrett Upton’s co-CIO Andrew Krei said in a statement. “The platform was purpose-built for investors and advisors seeking greater portfolio diversification and looking to generate attractive returns relative to public markets.”

“Our industry relationships and disciplined, in-depth manager selection process help advisors offer differentiated private markets exposure to their clients,” added David Keevins, managing partner and co-CIO.


Baird Adds $500M AUM Trio in Salt Lake City

Baird, a Milwaukee-based and privately held financial services firm with almost $250 billion in regulatory assets under management, announced Monday that a trio from the wealth management unit within Zions Bank have joined its Salt Lake City office, along with some $500 million in collective client assets.

Founded in 1919, Baird Financial Group is employee owned and provides wealth and asset management, as well as investment banking and private equity opportunities to individuals, corporations, institutions and municipalities with more than $375 billion in collective client assets.

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