Sterne Agee to Buy WRP, Add 350 Reps

The deal could add some $600 million in assets to the Birmingham, Ala.-based firm, which is privately held

Sterne Agee Financial Services said late Thursday that it will buy WRP Investments, which has some 350 independent advisors.

“We quickly recognized the unique culture of WRP and the mutual benefits a partnership could create for both firms,” said Jay Carter, CEO of Sterne Agee Financial Services of Birmingham, Ala., in a press release.

Youngstown, Ohio-based Sterne Agee “has maintained a tradition and culture of excellence for over 100 years, and it was exciting to find another firm that shares our values,” Carter added. “This was one of those special opportunities where all parties are better served and better positioned for the future.”

Sterne Agee, founded in 1901, employees over 1,600 financial professionals in 20 states and has about $23 billion in client assets under management.

WRP, started in 1976, had $45.5 million in broker-dealer revenue in 2012, according to the Investment Advisor 2013 Broker Dealer Survey.The average fees & commissions per rep was $137,000.

Average assets per advisor at WRP in 2012 was $1.7 million, giving it total assets of nearly $600 million. Its level of fee-based assets was roughly $400 million.

“This is all about the future,” said David Pintaric, CEO of WRP Investments, in a statement. “Combining forces with them allows us to offer state-of-the-art technology and industry-leading services to the people we serve, while allowing WRP to remain WRP.”

In December, privately held Sterne Agee wrapped up its purchase of London-based brokerage firm Yorvik Partners, its first overseas deal. “This  is undoubtedly an exciting step toward not only expanding but also enhancing our full-service  offerings,” Yorvik Partners founder and CEO Simon Mullaly said at the time. 

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