Bristol Wealth Group

Pat Murray (left) and Lou Ricciardi (right)

Taunton-based Bristol County Savings Bank will merge the bank’s financial advisory services division with Ricciardi Financial Group to create Bristol Wealth Group, the bank announced yesterday.

The joint venture includes an affiliation agreement with Raymond James Financial Services, which has partnered with Ricciardi since 2009.

The new wealth division will combine Bristol’s 400 clients and $290 million assets under management with Ricciardi’s 600 clients and $400 million assets under management to create a new entity with assets of nearly $700 million.

Bristol Wealth Group will be owned equally by the bank and the Ricciardi Financial Group. The combined entity will be managed by CEO Lou Ricciardi, owner and president of Ricciardi Financial Group, who has also served on Bristol County Savings Bank’s board of directors for more than 25 years.

“The personalized approach to wealth management, which has been the hallmark of both entities since their founding, will continue to be our guiding principal,” Ricciardi said in a statement. “With similar cultures focused on the customer and a shared history of working together on behalf of the communities we serve, our new joint venture is focused on further strengthening our customer relationships and maximizing the strategies and tools available in pursuit of meeting our clients’ financial goals.”

With the new entity, Bristol Wealth Group intends to enhance and expand its investment services offerings from comprehensive financial planning to broader access to municipal bond investing for individual investors and municipal financing for cities and towns. The new wealth group also plans to expand its customized portfolio investments and models for individual and company retirement plans.

Municipal banking has been an area of focus for Bristol County Savings Banks, which is now over $2 billion in total assets. Last September the bank hired John Duggan, the former treasurer in West Bridgewater, as vice president and government finance officer to assist the bank with its relationship with municipalities.

For several years, Bristol County Savings Bank has undergone a strategic review of its approach to financial advisory services and concluded that a locally controlled wealth management/investment advisory model would provide its clients with the best experience in a changing world.

The announcement of this joint venture agreement coincides with the planned and pending retirements of Paul Lenahan, executive vice president, and Jean Ronn, vice president and senior trust officer, in the bank’s financial advisory services division. Ricciardi Financial Group will have no staffing changes as a result of the merger.

“After many months of planning and due diligence, we are confident that our joint venture with Ricciardi Financial Group will provide all our clients the exceptional products and services required to satisfy all of their investment needs from a locally-owned and controlled independent wealth management advisor,” Patrick J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of Bristol County Savings Bank, said in a statement. “We look forward to a seamless transition as FAS clients will continue to be served by a financial advisory group with which they are familiar but now with the added value of Bristol Wealth Group’s advisor’s affiliation with Raymond James, one of the most highly regarded and well capitalized, independent broker-dealers in North America.”

Bristol Wealth Group will be located on the second floor of Bristol’s main office at 35 Broadway in Taunton. The merger has received approval by federal regulators and the Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks, and will go into effect Jan. 31.

Bristol County Savings Bank and Ricciardi Financial Group Merge, Create New Wealth Division

by Bram Berkowitz time to read: 2 min