Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Pittsford’s Echelon Wealth Advisors to merge with Naviter Wealth next month

Pittsford’s Echelon Wealth Advisors to merge with Naviter Wealth next month

A local wealth advisement and financial services firm is merging with a Little Rock, Arkansas-based business in a move that expands its capabilities and enhances the services it can offer its clients.

The merger of Pittsford-based Echelon Wealth Advisors and Naviter Wealth is expected to close in March.

The deal will create a firm that is a registered investment advisor with the Securites & Exchange Commission managing nearly $900 million in assets, utilizing Charles Schwab and Fidelity as custodians.

The deal also launches the Naviter brand in Rochester.


Richard Dougherty, Echelon’s president, said the new brand roll-out — which includes a name change to Naviter from Echelon — should be completed within the next six months.  

Post-merger, both firms will benefit from shared expertise, expanded services and a greater presence to service clients, he said.

Although the name will change, the four-person local office will remain the same and the group will be able to utilize more products, meeting a range of client needs, Dougherty said.

“Clients are generally looking for a more holistic approach from their wealth advisor,” he said. “Wealth management is no longer simply about creating an asset allocation and rebalancing periodically. Offering additional services to assure our clients total wealth is working efficiently for their circumstances is critical.”

The deal could lead to additional growth, he noted, adding that could including bringing on additional team members locally and talking with other advisors who may be ready to transition away from larger firms, which could lead to additional mergers and acquisition opportunities.


Dougherty said a mutual friend and colleague introduced him to Bentley Blackmon, Naviter CEO, in late 2020.

He had been looking to expand his firm’s capabilities and wanted to find a business that would be the right fit.

He was impressed with Naviter’s track record and the way it conducts business.

“I liked what the Naviter team was doing and how they were differentiating themselves from competitors with their product offerings and investment thesis,” he said.

The merger enhances the local firm’s product offerings and capabilities – in areas such as insurance, tax services and lending. Those, in turn, help create a more complete and seamless experience for the firm’s clients, he said.

Fisher Dougherty

Alecia Fisher Dougherty, Echelon’s senior vice president, said the merger allows the local operation to go up-market and assist clients with a variety of needs. 

That includes assisting individuals and families that have, or are planning for, a significant liquidity event, such as the sale of a business, concentrated positions in company stock, an inheritance or the sale of real estate. 

Meeting those diverse needs often requires a distinct set of resources and access to investments, which Naviter is well versed in, Blackmon added.

“Post-merger, our Rochester team will have access to leading edge technology, trust services, a robust private investment offering and insurance services,” Blackmon said. “Integrating these into their successful practice will only further enhance their clients’ experience.” 

That could mean, for example, utilizing an alternative platform as one option for investing, which can include a range of alternative investments such as private equity, real estate and hedge funds.

Such a platform can yield a greater return and improve one’s risk profile, Blackmon explained, adding it is also useful when there is market volatility or one’s family wealth grows.

In addition to the merger with Echelon, Blackmon is looking to expand and align with a half-dozen other financial advisors over the next two-plus years across the country.

Blackmon was drawn to Echelon because of its shared values with Naviter.

“It was really all about the people,” he said.

[email protected] / (585) 653-4021