Great Lakes, an RIA Roll-Up, Replaces Founder
Craig Cmiel, who four years ago founded Great Lakes & Atlantic Wealth Management, a Charlotte, N.C.-based “aggregator” of small advisory firms that collectively managed $1.25 billion, has left the firm.
His unexpected departure on Monday follows that of the firm’s other co-founder, Robert Graham, who retired in May 2016. Cmiel and Graham had previously been managers at UBS Wealth Management Americas.
Louis D. Dworsky, a former Morgan Stanley advisor who is an investor in Great Lakes, confirmed that he has replaced Cmiel as chief executive officer. The registered investment advisory firm includes 36 individual RIA practices, according to its website.
Neither Dworsky not Cmiel would comment specifically on the reason for the shift.
“The Board, along with me as an investor, decided to make a directional change, and Craig Cmiel is no longer with the firm,” Dworsky said. “We are going to change some direction, but not a lot, and tighten it up.”
Dworsky said the decision was made last week and that he will be making a “tour” to meet with advisors after the Thanksgiving holiday. Most of the firm’s offices are on the East Coast, but it also has outposts in California, Illinois, Michigan and Texas, according to its website.
Cmiel said he remains an equity investor in the firm, though he would not say whether his stake has diminished.
“I’m a builder of businesses and Louis is more of an operator of businesses,” Cmiel said. “I’m still a significant investor.”
Dworsky, who began his brokerage career at Merrill Lynch in 1987 and also has worked at Smith Barney, PaineWebber, Wachovia, and Morgan Stanley, among other firms, said that there were “no issues with Craig.”
Great Lakes, which operates Regatta Asset Management, plans to expand the money-management business as will acquire more advisory practices, Dworksy said.
The practices, which make regulatory filings under the common umbrellas of Great Lakes, use Raymond James Financial, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade as custodians.