Arvest trio with $650M AUM moves to Legacy Capital

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 3,709 views 

DeAnn Gann, from left, Brian Wood and Michael Peebles.

Little Rock-based independent wealth management firm Legacy Capital, a registered investment adviser (RIA), has expanded its reach by opening a new office in Northwest Arkansas.

Brian Wood, Michael Peebles and DeAnn Gann have moved to Legacy Capital and opened the office at 5502 Walsh Lane in Rogers’ Pinnacle Hills area. They previously worked for broker-dealer Arvest Wealth Management (AWM). Headquartered in Lowell, AWM is the wealth management division owned by the Walton family-owned Arvest Bank of Fayetteville.

Legacy Capital’s office in Rogers opened on Feb. 23.

The AWM trio managed $650 million in client assets at their former firm. Those assets don’t necessarily follow them to Legacy Capital. Following various industry protocols regarding solicitation, the adviser must move to the new firm, then call their clients to ask whether they would like to follow them.

At Legacy Capital, they will offer wealth management services to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth families, ranging from asset management and investments to financial and estate planning, banking and trust services, and insurance.

“Legacy’s business philosophy is built upon the quality of the people we hire and partner with and what drives our approach to deliver the best possible client experience,” Legacy Capital president Matt Jones said. “We could not be more excited about partnering with Brian and Mike and their team to establish our presence in Northwest Arkansas, one of the country’s fastest growing and most dynamic areas.”

Wood (2006) and Peebles (2012) worked for AWM for a combined 26 years, and they both hold the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Gann worked for Arvest since 1992 and has the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

“Legacy Capital’s core values and client-centered approach are a perfect fit for how we strive to advise and serve our clients,” said Wood, the managing partner of the Northwest Arkansas office. “Legacy’s independent and robust service offering will provide our team with the resources to enhance what we can offer to the families we serve and further provide a platform to continue to scale and enhance wealth management services for the NWA region.”

By adding the Arvest trio, Legacy Capital will now be a multi-custodial platform using Fidelity and Charles Schwab as its primary custodians.

“We are thrilled to welcome Brian, Mike, DeAnn and the entire Legacy Capital team to the Fidelity platform and help expand their clients’ access to a broad set of products and services,” said John Phillips, head of platform sales at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Management Services. “This is an exciting milestone for the team, and we look forward to supporting the firm’s continued growth and steadfast focus on helping their clients accomplish their goals.”

Founded in 1977, Legacy Capital provides comprehensive wealth management services to individuals and families, including financial planning, asset management, legacy and estate planning and insurance. It is one of the state’s largest independent wealth management firms. The Northwest Arkansas office addition would push the firm to more than $1 billion in assets under management and advisement and more than $2.5 billion of in-force life insurance.

Matt Jones

“We see that [AUM] going to $3 to $5 billion in the next three to five years,” Jones said. “That is a realistic goal where we can take our firm. This was the first big step for us.”

Since 2018, Legacy has been backed by minority partner Merchant Investment Management of New York to provide strategic guidance and resources to expand its service platform, infrastructure and growth strategy.

“Matt and the team at Legacy Capital were one of Merchant’s first partners, and it’s been remarkable working with them and growing the firm,” Merchant’s managing partner and co-founder Tim Bello said. “The Northwest Arkansas region will now have access to a best-in-class team for all their financial planning needs, backed by the Legacy and Merchant brands.”

Legacy Capital has doubled its assets under management since its 2020 merger with Trent Capital, serving 400 households with approximately 20 staff.

Jones, a Searcy native, earned a financial management degree in 1991 from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, so he’s familiar with the region’s remarkable growth through the years.

He said the region will play a significant role in Legacy Capital’s growth in the coming years. Growing the Rogers office with additional advisers will be the first step. The second step is opening other offices in Northwest Arkansas and beyond —Tulsa, for example — in the next couple of years.

“In our Little Rock office, we have 21 people,” said Jones, who has worked at Legacy Capital since 1997. “There is a reasonable possibility that in three years, our office in Northwest Arkansas will be as big, if not bigger. Population growth is part of it. The second thing is that the type of operation we run and the services we provide have been missing in that marketplace.

“We have several accountants and lawyers we work with up there as our primary referral sources, and they’ve all said, ‘If you can open an office here and do what you do for our clients in central Arkansas, there’s a lot of opportunity here.’

“For us, it’s one step at a time. The most important thing was to get a flag in the ground in Northwest Arkansas.”

Jones’ familiarity with the region is also tied to Legacy Capital’s previous office in Northwest Arkansas several years ago. The company staffed a regional office for 15 years for its corporate benefits practice. Legacy Capital sold the practice to OneDigital Health and Benefits of Atlanta, Ga. in 2017.