Forced to abandon ship when the North Carolina-based company he worked for became entangled in its CEO’s legal troubles, a longtime Richmond financial advisor has found safe haven at a local wealth management firm.
Kevin Deckert last month joined Stony Point Wealth Management, bringing his practice and book of business to the Southside firm as an escape from embattled Raleigh-based VisionQuest Wealth Management.
Deckert, who sold his Deckert Financial Management to VisionQuest in 2015, said he waited, to no avail, for more than a month for answers after the feds raided the firm’s North Carolina offices and the home of CEO Stephen Peters in July.
Peters’ assets have all been frozen by the government, though no formal charges have been filed and the bulk of the court documents remain sealed, even from the view of Peters and his attorneys.
That has left Deckert and his VisionQuest colleagues in the dark, with no communication from their employer or explanation from investigators. With the company stuck in an uncertain standstill, Deckert said, they were left with no choice but to move on.
“We’ve all resigned from the company,” Deckert said of his former VisionQuest colleagues. “There’s no place to go for information. They’re not telling former employees or investors anything.”
A civil case has been filed in federal court in Raleigh, naming Peters, his wife Amy Peters, VisionQuest Wealth LLC, VisionQuest Wealth Management LLC and VisionQuest Capital LLC as defendants.
Reports from Raleigh-area media outlets said prosecutors characterized the case as a “Ponzi scheme” in a hearing last week. The only explanation in court documents was of an “ongoing fraud investigation” of Peters and the VisionQuest entities.
WRAL in Raleigh reported that prosecutors told the court Peters allegedly took millions of dollars from more than 70 investors and embezzled $3.4 million from VisionQuest to buy a horse farm outside Raleigh and a vacation home in Costa Rica. It is also alleged, according to the WRAL report, that Peters used investor money to buy other financial firms to launder money through.
Deckert said the assets of his wealth management clients and other VisionQuest Wealth clients remained safe and readily available and that the company’s Richmond office at 812 Moorefield Park Drive hadn’t been subject of any such searches. He’s joined a group at Stony Point Wealth Management comprising four former Ameriprise Financial advisors that came together about two years ago.
The firm’s principals are Matthew Daniel, Stuart Daniel, Elizabeth King and Tyler Napier. They keep an office at 9020 Stony Point Parkway. It had $148 million in client assets under management, according to its most recent SEC disclosure this spring.
Deckert wouldn’t say how large a book of business he brought with him to Stony Point out of VisionQuest. He brought about $70 million in client assets with him to VisionQuest in 2015.
He said he’s pleased with how clients reacted to the VisionQuest issues.
“My client response was wonderful,” he said.
Deckert wouldn’t specify how, if at all, Peters’ legal issues affected the terms of the deal he struck with VisionQuest to sell his former firm.
“It was a private transaction, we’ll just leave it at that,” he said. “It’s not something that will be concluded. Whatever arrangements I made with them are done.”
Deckert said he’s ready to move on from the VisionQuest drama.
“I’m unhappy about all of it, obviously,” he said. “I was affected by it. It’s kind of like collateral damage.
“I’m looking forward to the future and I just have to put this chapter behind me. I don’t have any choice but to go forward.”