Ex-Morgan Stanley executive acquires two broker-dealers, 500 advisers

Doug Ketterer is launching Atria Wealth Solutions with the backing of private equity shop Lee Equity Partners

Aug 3, 2017 @ 1:59 pm

By Bruce Kelly

Doug Ketterer, who retired two years ago as Morgan Stanley's head of strategy and client management, is launching a new wealth management firm by buying two independent broker-dealers with nearly 500 advisers and more than $30 billion in assets under administration.

Called Atria Wealth Solutions, the new firm is incorporating advisers from CUSO Financial Services, which works with advisers in credit unions, and Sorrento Pacific Financial, which works with advisers in banks as well as traditional independent contractors.

Specific terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed, but as part of the agreement, Atria will be buying out the equity interests in CUSO Financial. The two founders, Valorie Seyfert and Amy Beattie, will receive an equity interest in Atria and will continue to lead the broker-dealers.

Atria and Mr. Ketterer are backed by private equity shop Lee Equity Partners. Along with Mr. Ketterer, Atria's founding partners are another Morgan Stanley veteran, Eugene Elias, who was head of client and advisor platforms at the wirehouse, and Kevin Beard, formerly head of acquisition and recruiting strategy at AIG Advisor Group.

Mr. Ketterer was known as a broker's advocate at Morgan Stanley, said Danny Sarch, an industry recruiter, who noted that a variety of wealth management firms with established, well regarded senior management have opened their doors over the past few years.

"Executives who have seen the ups and downs of Wall Street believe that they can provide a solution both to advisers, who are looking for a good place to work, and their clients," Mr. Sarch said.

"If you look at what's going on in wealth management at large, things are changing more so now and faster than in my 30 years in the business," Mr. Ketterer said in an interview Thursday morning. "My two partners and I met along the way and had incredibly consistent views about where it was going and [we] put the firm together. We believe in holistic wealth management."

"The credit union and bank space is a wonderful opportunity for taking it to the next level," including bringing in innovative technology to the two broker-dealers, he said.

"We shared a strong, aligned vision," said Ms. Seyfert. "We were looking for a partner and had a lot of folks knocking on our door. When we met, we realized we had a similar vision for the future. We were looking for wealth management and to expand practice management but knew we needed more expertise, particularly with Eugene Elias and what he built at Morgan Stanley."

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