St. Louis-based Stifel Financial (SF) is reportedly in talks to buy Sterne Agee of Birmingham, Alabama. If combined, the firm would have about 3,000 financial advisors and close to $200 billion in client assets.
Bloomberg reported the news Friday morning, citing an unnamed person with knowledge of the matter. Stifel and Sterne Agee both declined to comment on the matter Friday.
The move by Stifel comes despite a general consensus among independent broker-dealers that deals in the sector could slow down in 2015.
Stifel has some 2,100 employee advisors and 150 independent reps in its Century Securities unit; the indie advisors had average yearly fees & commissions of $165,000 in 2013, when the group was recognized by Investment Advisor as a 2013 Broker-Dealer of the Year in its respective category.
The broker-dealer and investment firm has been on an acquisition tear in the past decade: Stiflel bought investment bank KBW in 2013, for instance, after purchasing the boutique investment group Thomas Weisel Partners in 2010. The current level of assets under management in its global wealth business is $173 billion.
Stifel is set to release its Q4’14 earnings on Monday, after the markets close; its shares were trading down slightly near $51 per share mid-day Friday. Of Stifel’s roughly $2 billion in yearly sales, roughly 56% comes from wealth management.
For its part, Sterne Agee includes about 150 employee reps in its Private Client Group and 600 independent advisors in its Financial Services unit. Current assets under management are $173 billion. The firm’s clearing unit works with 90 broker-dealers nationwide.