Former TCA by ETrade exec lands as CEO of fast-growing RIA

Josh Pace is joining Connecticut-based Apella Capital, which already has a handful of deals under its belt

Nov 8, 2019 @ 1:15 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

Joshua Pace, the former president of the custodian business at TCA by ETrade, has landed a new gig as chief executive of Apella Capital, a Glastonbury, Conn.-based advisory firm with $1 billion under management and plans to grow through acquisitions.

Mr. Pace, 52, who was president and CEO of Trust Co. of America when ETrade paid $275 million in cash for the custodian two years ago, left TCA by ETrade in June as part of the transition.

"When you go through an acquisition, I think you'd be unaware if you didn't think that was a possibility of being replaced," he said. "I always knew it was a risk but felt [the sale to ETrade] was in the best interest of TCA at the time."

Mr. Pace, who declined to go into further detail about his departure from the custodian, said he took his time before deciding to join Apella to make sure the foundation was in place and the business environment was right for the kind of growth the registered investment adviser is looking for.

"There are not a lot of virtues of getting older, but one of them is you get to pick your spots," he said. "I wanted to be able to crawl through all the aspects of the business to be sure they were positioned for growth and that the macro factors were in place."

As a fee-based advisory business, Apella has a history dating back to 1994, when Patrick Sweeney and David Connelly co-founded Symmetry Partners, which expanded into offering turnkey asset management platform services to financial advisers in 2002.

As the TAMP side of the business grew —it's now at $8.5 billion — Apella Capital was established as a separate RIA and spun off in 2014.

According to Mr. Sweeney, as Apella has done a half-dozen acquisitions, the co-owners realized they needed a dedicated CEO to lead the growing RIA.

"Dave and I are advisers at heart and we never got rid of our original clients, and the RIA slowly grew on its own," Mr. Sweeney said. "We had our hands in both businesses and realized it was not optimal. Now Josh is CEO of our RIA, and he will lead its organic and inorganic growth initiatives. He's better suited than Dave and me for that role. We are owners, but Josh is a seasoned CEO."

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