Merit Financial Advisors has acquired Atlanta-based ClearBridge Wealth Management, expanding Merit’s Georgia footprint and adding $300 million in assets under management to its $9 billion in assets, a statement from the firm said.

ClearBridge was founded by Preston Byers, a CPA and CFP, in 2013, according to SEC records. He entered the industry in 2002 as a broker with Raymond James and became dually registered in 2004. In 2007, he joined LPL Financial, according to the SEC.

The firm caters to individuals, families and business owners with substantial resources and a desire to outsource the financial advisory function of their lives, according to Merit's website. Byers is now a Merit wealth manager and partner.

"My desire to join Merit was two-fold: first, Merit's strong back-office support team and extensive technology suite will allow me more time to connect with my clients," Byers said in the firm’s statement last week. "Second, the core values of our firms align, which was the primary reason for us to pursue this partnership."

Since December 2020, when Merit took a minority investment from Wealth Partners Capital Group and a group of strategic investors from HGGC, the firm has been acquiring firms across the country. ClearBridge was Merit’s 22nd  purchase, the statement said. In August, the firm acquired Reis Financial Services in West Bend, Wisconsin, adding $178 million in assets under management.