Advisors O’Neal and Archer opt for Arkadios before Osaic consolidation

September 7, 2023

By   Tobias Salinger | Financial Planning

Ahead of the consolidation of Osaic’s Triad Advisors into a single brokerage alongside the firm’s seven others, a financial advisor duo managing $175 million in client assets left the company.

Planners Nina O’Neal and Matthew Archer of Raleigh, North Carolina-based AIM Advisors dropped Triad for Arkadios Capital as their brokerage earlier this month after launching their registered investment advisory firm at the beginning of the year, according to FINRA and Securities and Exchange Commission records. Triad will turn into Osaic — the rebranded name of Advisor Group — after tax season next year as part of the pending combination of eight brokerages into one that began with Royal Alliance Associates on Aug. 7.

Arkadios Capital launched in 2016 when founder David Millican and the other advisors from one of Triad’s largest hybrid RIAs bolted for their own firm, and Atlanta-based Arkadios has grown into the No. 33 firm on Financial Planning’s IBD Elite rankings of the largest independent brokerages in part by recruiting teams from Triad. Just like with the industry’s continuing flow of M&A deals, the rolling up of Osaic’s many firms into one through an internal transition creates recruiting opportunities for rivals. O’Neal, a four-time member of Investopedia’s list of the top 100 advisors who started the Female Advisor Network in 2019, and Archer decided to change brokerages as the two advisors in their early 40s considered the practice’s future, she said.

“We’ve got a long runway. The industry has had huge consolidation — what does the next 10 years look like and what’s the best thing for our clients now and our clients of the future?” O’Neal said in an interview. “Between technology and consolidation, we just had to take a really really hard look at all of our processes and procedures and who was supporting us.”

Representatives for Phoenix-based Osaic, the No. 3 firm in FP’s IBD Elite, declined to comment on the team’s departure. 

Osaic and other giants among independent brokerages have been consistently getting bigger in recent years. A potential deal for Osaic to purchase Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management fell apart last weekend, and it and LPL Financial could be in the mix to acquire the RIA once known as United Capital, according to reports in Citywire RIA and InvestmentNews. Another one of Osaic’s rivals at the top of the channel, Cetera Financial Group, completed its acquisition of the retail wealth and trust business of Securian Financial Group earlier this month.

Amid such expansion in the channel, big players like No. 2 IBD Elite firm Ameriprise are seeking to retain top teams through support systems within companies, such as employee resource groups that are “led by wonderfully strategic leaders” who are “able to create this culture and community” at a firm with more than 10,000 advisors, according to Timari Robison, Ameriprise’s national director of women’s recruiting. For example, the firm offers a Women’s Empowerment Network, annual meetings for female advisors and recruiting events aimed at women.

“My day-to-day is talking with women about either being in the industry or being at the firm, so I’m part of the national recruiting team,” Robison said. “Our goal is to meet and connect with women advisors and take them through a very prescriptive process to learn more about the firm and really give them the transparency of what that looks like.”

O’Neal’s Female Advisor Network has reached 120 members across independent planners and brokers from wirehouse and other employee-channel firms, she noted. After the pause for in-person events during the pandemic and partnering with various industry conferences to have gatherings this year, O’Neal plans to ramp up meetings of local chapters again next year. At the time of her last change in brokerage in 2015, her and Archer’s practice had about $40 million in client assets, and they’re “trying to grow as quickly as we can,” O’Neal said. The move to Arkadios brings them to a firm that boosted its annual revenue 30% to $79.1 million last year.

“We are thrilled to welcome AIM Advisors to the Arkadios family and look forward to helping accelerate their impressive growth,” Arkadios Director of Corporate Strategy Nate Stibbs, who joined the firm earlier this year after a long tenure with Triad, said in a statement. “AIM is a dynamic, well-known industry leader and their client-centric culture make them an outstanding addition to our growing community of elite financial advisors.”

In addition to some “friendly faces” O’Neal and Archer knew from their prior firm, they picked Arkadios since they “were looking for an entrepreneurial, boutique experience, because that’s what we provide,” O’Neal said. 

Besides the two advisors, the team includes Manager of Marketing and Communications Claire Edwards. As part of the brokerage move, the team switched custodians from Fidelity’s National Financial Services to Charles Schwab and is awaiting the migration of other assets from TD Ameritrade to Schwab over Labor Day, O’Neal noted. She and Archer met in 2006 while with different firms. They met often over coffee to discuss their respective practices before deciding to join together three years later. 

“We wanted to be business owners and really help business owners, because small business owners are probably one of the more underserved people in the market,” O’Neal said. “We both were raised by small business owners. We just want to serve more and keep growing. I think we’ve built the vision that we started with on day one.”