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California team forms employee-owned firm backed by Mariner

A team of consultants in Newport Beach, Calif., managing more than $450 million in assets, created a new employee-owned firm, Ocean Heights Advisors, with the help of Mariner Platform Solutions, a new division of Marty Bicknell’s Mariner Wealth Advisors Is.

Mariner launched the division in 2020 through a partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners.

Mariner Platform Solutions is intended to assist independent consulting firms that wish to retain control of their firms but operate as 1099 contractors for Mariner, not employees. The advisors fall under Mariner Platform Solutions’ ADV. Mariner will help build the investment portfolio, act as the outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) and provide billing, compliance, technology, marketing support and insurance. The consultants will be independent operators of their own businesses whose assets will eventually sit on Mariner’s platform.

Dynasty, in which Mariner has a minority stake, will provide turnkey asset management services to advisors and trading, rebalancing and servicing accounts, along with other back and middle-office functions.

The practice was founded in 2005 by Kevin O’Grady as Palo Capital, then sold in 2019 to Miracle Mile Advisors, an independent RIA. Merchant Investment Management made a modest investment in Miracle Mile, which has been active in the RIA M&A space. in 2020.

The newly named Ocean Heights Advisors specializes in working with high-net-worth families, executives and entrepreneurs nationwide.

The partnership with Mariner will allow them to outsource back-office functions such as operations, compliance and marketing, Ocean Heights’ managing partner Kevin Barlow said in a statement.

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