Focus Financial Partners said on Monday that LLBH Private Wealth Management formally became a partner firm in the holding company's network of wealth managers.

Based in New York City, Focus has bought stakes in 18 advisory firms since it launched in 2006. LLBH, a Westport, Conn.-based firm formed last year by four partners who left Merrill Lynch's Private Banking and Investment Group, has more than $550 million in assets under management. According to a press release, 97% of LLBH's clients followed the partners from Merrill to the new firm.

All told, Focus' partner firms have more than $32 billion in assets.

LLBH is the first wealth advisory firm to join Focus as part of its Focus Connections program, a consulting service started last year to help so-called elite broker teams transition to the fee-based, independent RIA model.

To date, LLBH is the only firm announced as a program participant. "But we fully expect to have more firms in the program down the road," says Focus spokeswoman Jennifer Geoghegan.

It's been a busy month or so for Focus. In November, the company received an additional infusion of $50 million in capital--$15 million from its original private-equity backer, Summit Partners, and $35 million from Polaris Venture Partners. Focus also extended its credit line by another $30 million with a consortium of seven banks.

Focus CEO Rudy Adolf has said the company will use the additional capital to make more acquisitions.

Also in November, Focus announced it bought a stake in Joel Isaacson & Co., an RIA advisory firm in New York City with $3.5 billion in assets. It's one of the largest partnership deals to date for Focus, which typically purchases equity stakes of 40% to 70% in its partner firms.

And not long afterward, the holding company of one of Focus' founding partner firms, StrategicPoint Investment Advisors in Providence, R.I., filed a lawsuit against Focus alleging breach of contract when Focus executives didn't allow StrategicPoint to fully examine its books. That lawsuit is ongoing.