Three wirehouse advisers managing $750 million in combined client assets broke away to launch their own firm with help from Dynasty Financial Partners, according to the company.

Mark McAdams, Blake Pratz, and Steve Schwarzbach opened Icon Wealth Partners last week after more than two years of considering the move, Pratz says. The Houston-based firm makes 40 in Dynasty’s network, double the number of rival HighTower, which also recently added recruits in an increasingly heated competition between the two for RIA business.

“We’ve been following this independent space for several years and doing due diligence,” Pratz says. “So the timing was right. The evolution of this business moving towards the independent space is growing.”

Icon Wealth Partners
Mark McAdams (left), Steve Schwarzbach (middle) and Blake Pratz (right) launched Icon Wealth Partners on Feb. 17.

Icon reported $261.8 million in assets under management, with 26 to 100 clients and 877 accounts, in its first SEC disclosure last week.

The founding partners met over 20 years ago when they all worked at Smith Barney, according to Pratz. He specializes in working with both individual attorneys and law firms, while McAdams and Schwarzbach focus on ultrahigh-net-worth clients.

The three Icon founding partners wanted to embrace fiduciary standards in a way, Pratz says, they couldn’t at their wirehouse posts. Pratz had worked five years at UBS, while McAdams and Schwarzbach led a high-net-worth team at Morgan Stanley.

A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley confirmed the move but declined to comment. A spokeswoman for UBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

RIA ARMS RACE
Icon marks Dynasty's third breakaway team in the past two months. HighTower, meanwhile, scored three high-profile recruiting victories over the same time frame.

HighTower added two UBS breakaways earlier this week, snapped up a $1 billion team from Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley last month and recruited a $1 billion Wells Fargo team to start the year. The firm’s outsourcing platform has grown to 20 firms with the moves.

Dynasty increased its footprint as well. A Morgan Stanley adviser managing $600 million used its platform to form his own company earlier this week. An adviser formerly at investment bank Robertson Stephens also started his own firm with Dynasty last month.

Pratz says going with Dynasty was “an easy decision” for him and the other Icon founding partners.

“Dynasty far and away was the leader in this space,” Pratz says. “We could not ask for better partners now and going forward. So we’re excited for the journey with these guys.”

Pratz began his advisory career in 1984 at Dean Witter, eventually working at both Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records.

McAdams broke into the industry in 1993 with Citigroup and worked at Morgan Stanley for seven years. Schwarzbach worked a similar amount of time for Morgan before leaving.

Additionally, Icon hired Cindy Pickett and Jennifer Moore from UBS and Annette Latigue from Morgan Stanley to its client relationship team. Ricardo Mihaly, another onetime Morgan hand, serves as senior director of planning and investments.

“We are honored to welcome Blake, Mark and Steve along with their team to the Dynasty community,” CEO Shirl Penney said in a statement. “Icon Wealth Partners immediately becomes one of the largest financial advisory firms in Texas with the intent to attract seasoned, like-minded advisers seeking independence."