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McKinley Carter Expands Operations to Southwestern Ohio

Wheeling, W.Va. — McKinley Carter Wealth Services, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm headquartered in Wheeling, W.Va., has expanded its operations through the merger/acquisition of Dayton-based firm LifePlan Financial Group. The transaction became official earlier this month.

McKinley Carter President and Chief Investment Officer David McKinley, CFP®, says his firm’s expansion into the Buckeye state has always been a goal in their growth strategy.

“We’ve always considered Ohio as a targeted area for office expansion because of its proximity to our headquarters in Wheeling,” McKinley said. “We’re excited we found the right fit in LifePlan Financial Group to make that goal a reality. LifePlan’s family-like culture, commitment to service excellence, and strong community identity are characteristics that very much align with ours — we’re confident these and many other key ingredients for success are all there.”

MCWS Southwestern Ohio Division

Under the transaction, LifePlan Financial Group, which was established in 1989, will become McKinley Carter’s Southwestern Ohio Division. The 11-person staff will all transition to McKinley Carter employees, but with new titles and many with expanded roles. LifePlan’s Ty Phillippi, CFP®, CeFT®, will oversee the new division serving in a dual role as regional managing director and financial strategist. Chris Buck, CFP®, CeFT®, will manage the Southwestern Ohio advisory team in his dual role as regional manager and financial strategist. Under the new structure, LifePlan’s CEO Dan Hypes, CFP®, CeFT®, will take on a new role as senior advisor, which will allow him to focus solely on business development and community stewardship.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm among our team about what this transaction will mean to them, both professionally and personally,” Ty Phillippi said. “Our advisors are excited to be able to expand our services to help more people, such as retirement plan sponsors and nonprofit organizations. With expanded service offerings, along with a much bigger collection of in-house investment management and complex situations expertise, additional technology tools, centralized administration services, and extensive marketing/communications programs, we will be able to have a more significant impact on our local community and help many more people reach their financial goals.”

LifePlan’s commitment to its 500+ clients and helping them successfully navigate life’s challenges, is the bedrock upon which the firm was built. Boasting client relationships that span 20 years or more in many cases, it’s apparent their advisor-client bonds run deep and strong – like family.

“We will continue to work extremely hard for our clients as we transition to this new joint structure,” Chris Buck said. “Clients have our promise it will be a seamless but fully transparent transition, with the needs of our clients and our fiduciary responsibilities always top of mind of all we do. Simply stated, we will not settle for anything less when it comes to our clients.”

McKinley Carter’s Director of Advisory Services and Chief Compliance Officer Brian Gongaware, CFP®, says onboarding LifePlan’s team of professionals is a win-win for everyone.

“It’s not often you find a firm that exactly mirrors your standards for professional integrity, service excellence, and compliance protocols,” Gongaware said. “Coming together and sharing our knowledge and best practices will benefit all McKinley Carter regional teams as well as the clients they serve.”

He added that LifePlan’s “work hard, play hard” mentality is one that is shared by the McKinley Carter leadership team. “When we met Ty [Phillippi], Chris [Buck], and Dan [Hypes] and got to know more about their work philosophy and team spirit, we quickly realized this was a special opportunity for both organizations to thrive and succeed,” Gongaware said.

McKinley Carter’s roots go back to 2003 when David McKinley broke away from his broker-dealer affiliation and registered as an independent Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm. Four years later, he partnered with Will Carter, JD, of Kanawha Investment and Trust Company to establish McKinley Carter Wealth Services. Today the firm offers wealth management, investment management, retirement plan services, and nonprofit advisory services and has approximately $1.5 billion in assets under management. The firm’s 49 employees work among seven regional locations: Wheeling, Charleston, and Parkersburg (W.Va.), Pittsburgh and Johnstown (PA), Gaithersburg, MD, and now Dayton, OH.

To learn more about the firm, visit

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LifePlan’s Ty Phillippi, CFP®, CeFT®, an alumnus of Wright State University, will serve as regional managing director/financial strategist for McKinley Carter’s new Southwestern Ohio Division.

LifePlan’s Chris Buck, CFP®, CeFT®, an alumnus of Wright State University, will manage the Southwestern Ohio advisory team in his dual role as regional manager and financial strategist.

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