Good morning. Josh Shapiro is poised to end months of speculation about his political ambitions. Pennsylvania's attorney general is expected to announce tomorrow that he will run for governor in 2022, according to the Associated Press. While Shapiro is likely to be the Democratic contender, it remains less clear who he will face. Numerous Republicans are running or planning to run. They sense an opportunity to flip the governor's residence from blue to red, since the party out of office has tended to win when the incumbent is not on the ballot. One exception is Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who defeated then-incumbent Tom Corbett in 2014. Wolf is barred by the state constitution from seeking a third term.
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Harrisburg wealth advisory sold

Peter J. LaBella, one of the capital region's first fee-based financial advisers, has sold his firm after four decades in business.
  • LaBella's firm, Harrisburg-based FMA Advisory, is now part of Fairport Wealth, the Cleveland-based arm of a larger advisory firm in Chicago called Hightower.
  • Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Why is this happening: LaBella, 75, said in a phone interview that the transaction ensures the future of his firm and offers advantages of scale to its clients and employees.
  • FMA manages about $500 million in assets. After merging with Fairport, it is part of a firm that manages $3.9 billion.
  • Parent company Hightower is even bigger. As of June 30, the firm had $101 billion in assets under management and $125.2 billion in assets under administration. Founded in 2008, it bills itself as a collective of more than 100 advisory firms around the U.S.
  • Larger size allows wealth managers to deliver better prices and execution for clients, LaBella said.
  • LaBella said he talked to other large firms but said he was attracted by Fairport's approach to investing. "Their philosophy and mine were pretty much the same, he said.
  • Other local firms have partnered with larger entities. The former Roof Advisory Group in Harrisburg, for example, is now part of a company called Fort Pitt Capital Group
  • Banks also have been getting into the advisory business, which they see as a source of new revenue.

What's nextHightower spokesperson Patty Buchanan said FMA will continue to use its own name through the rest of 2021, then switch to Fairport Wealth in January.
  • LaBella said he has a three-year contract to continue working. His partner at FMA, John Klobusicky, 60, has a five-year contract, he added.
  • FMA, meanwhile, is looking to hire another financial adviser, which would bring it to four advisers. The firm also has four office employees, LaBella said.
  • Fairport has 48 employees, including 25 advisers, figures that include the additions from FMA.
  • In 2019, Fairport bought an Illinois-based advisory called Leonetti & Associates.

The background: When FMA was founded in 1981, most people were limited to investing through big brokerage houses that earned commissions based on transactions.
  • Critics said the commission structure gave advisers an incentive to recommend and sell products regardless of whether they were a good fit for clients.
  • LaBella and other independent advisers began offering an arrangement under which they were paid a fixed fee based on the assets of their clients, an arrangement said to align the interests of clients and advisers in growing those assets.
  • Both approaches are in use today, spawning a cottage industry of advice on how to choose between them.

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WellSpan seeks to make inroads with virtual primary care

In fall 2019, a pair of doctors from WellSpan Health set up a table at an insurance enrollment fair for the health system’s employees. Their goal was to recruit the first customers for a new online primary care practice.
  • It took a bit of explaining even to an audience familiar with the ins and outs of health care, said Dr. Brian Pollak, one of the WellSpan doctors staffing the practice. 
  • People would at first confuse the practice with online urgent care, said Pollak, an internal medicine physician and medical director of WellSpan Innovations, an arm of the York County-based health system. “They’d go, ‘Oh, I used you last week.’ And we said, ‘Well, this is different.’”

What's next: Read more about the new practice, called Duo Healthcare, in a biznewsPA Q&A with Pollak and Kyle Letner, senior director for research and development at WellSpan Innovations.


Quick takes

WHO'S BUYING: Pavone Marketing Group. The Harrisburg-based marketing and communications agency has purchased an Atlanta-based marketing firm, Vigor, that specializes in the restaurant, beverage and hospitality industries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Pavone plans to maintain Vigor's name, its Atlanta office and its 10 employees, according to a press release.
  • The acquisition is Pavone's fifth in three years and follows its acquisition last month of Manhattan-based Eastwest Marketing Group.
  • Vigor is expected to complement work by Pavone subsidiary quench, which focuses on the food and beverage industry.
  • “Bolstering our skills by offering a dedicated restaurant-marketing service line is a natural fit, especially with all that’s going on right now in the world of restaurants," Michael Pavone, president and CEO of Pavone Marketing, said in a statement.

WHAT'S CHANGING SIGNS: D'Angelo Realty Group, a residential real estate firm in New Cumberland. The firm has been rebranded as RE/MAX Pathway, part of the international RE/MAX franchise. The firm will continue to be led by Stephen Fleming as co-owner, president and broker of record. The firm is co-owned by Joseph Kleha, who also is director of operations.
  • D'Angelo Realty was founded in 1980 by Tom D'Angelo. 
  • The firm's property management arm, launched four years ago, will continue to operate as a sister company to the real estate brokerage, according to a press release.

WHAT'S CHANGING HANDS: Three Central Pennsylvania warehouses that were sold as part of a 15-building package. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But the buyer -- also not disclosed -- took out a $114.2 million loan from LoanCore Capital, a specialty lender based in Connecticut, according to a press release from real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield. Cushman represented the seller, Heritage Capital Group, a New Jersey-based investment firm. All told, the 15 warehouses span nearly 2.6 million square feet.
  • Two of the local warehouses are in Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County: A roughly 133,000 square-foot facility at 1001 Air Park Drive and a 153,000 square-foot facility at 1011 Air Park Drive. Both are fully leased, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
  • The third is a 621,400 square-foot warehouse at 2294 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg. The warehouse was built in 1960 but renovated in 2019, according to its listing on LoopNet. It is 87.8% leased, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
  • The remaining 12 warehouses are in Albany, Rochester and Syracuse, New York, as well as Columbus, Ohio.
  • A trade pub identified the buyer as Rochester-based Alexander Property Holdings. Efforts to reach the company were not successful.


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Compiled and written by Joel Berg

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