Kestra Financial has added an Ohio-based practice to its independent advisor platform, the company says.

Founded in 1992 by Michelle Merkel, Columbus, Ohio-based Merkel Financial offers wealth management and estate planning to high net worth investors, families and entrepreneurs, with a focus on business owners and women, according to a press release from Kestra.

Before affiliating with Kestra, Merkel had been registered with Principal Securities since the start of her career in the financial services industry, according to her BrokerCheck profile.

Merkel currently manages $206 million, Kestra says.

“In selecting Kestra Financial, our objective was to find a partner that would be able to deliver the support, platform, and technology solutions that enable and enhance our ability to continue to provide top service to our clients,” Merkel says in the press release. “After learning about Kestra Financial’s offerings, we knew they were equipped with the tools to help us carry out that vision while we continue to focus on what matters most — helping our clients.”

In May, Kestra Financial CEO James Poer told FA-IQ that the company is interested in buying out books of business from advisors heading into retirement.

The same month, a UBS team overseeing $175 million went independent and affiliated with Kestra Private Wealth Services, an RIA subsidiary of Kestra Financial.

But in April, a Kestra-affiliated advice practice with $11 billion in retirement-plan assets left for a super OSJ aligned with LPL Financial.