Advisers on the Move

Superstar advisers with $17 billion in AUM bolt from First Republic

The four advisers are setting up two separate RIAs

Jun 3, 2019 @ 4:43 pm

By Bruce Kelly

A team of All-Star financial advisers who manage $17 billion in assets for wealthy clients has bolted from First Republic Bank's elite wealth management group to set up two RIAs in California.

The advisers — David Hou, Mark Sear, Robert Skinner and Alan Zafran — left First Republic Investment Management Inc. on Friday, according to regulatory filings, industry reports and an individual familiar with their move who asked not to be identified.

Mr. Hou and Mr. Sear are owners of a new RIA, Evoke Wealth, that's based in Santa Monica. According to its Form ADV, Evoke Wealth has a staff of 20.

Meanwhile, Mr. Skinner and Mr. Zafran are opening an RIA in Monterey called IEQ Capital.

Neither firm returned calls for comment on Monday. A spokesman for First Republic, Greg Berardi, declined to comment.

The four advisers have a unique history of breaking away from employers, setting up their own shops and then selling their practice.

In June 2008, Mr. Hou and Mr. Sear made headlines as the leaders of a group of advisers in charge of $7 billion that left Merrill Lynch to set up their own RIA, Luminous Capital Holdings. Mr. Skinner and Mr. Zafran also left Merrill at that time and were also founders of Luminous Capital.

Four years later, at the end of 2012, First Republic bought Luminous Capital, which had $5.5 billion in assets by then. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed at the time.

An industry website, RIABiz, originally reported the news of the four advisers leaving First Republic. The bank has been aggressively recruiting financial advisers since at least the start of 2017.

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