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United Capital Adds 2 Firms, $1.5B in Assets

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Hybrid-RIA United Capital Financial Advisers said Monday that it has acquired two firms that should add $1.5 billion in client assets to its platform, which currently has about $15 billion in wealth-management AUM and $8 billion in retirement plans.

The larger purchase, of PSA Insurance & Financial of Hunt Valley, Maryland, includes a retirement plan practice with $1.1 billion in assets under advisement, while its wealth management practice has close to $190 million in assets.

Newport Beach, California-based United Capital also is acquiring the assets of Select Financial Group of Pittsburgh, which has some $270 million total assets. John “Jack” Abriola, founder of Select Financial, is becoming a partner and managing director of United Capital; seven employees are joining United Capital as well.

“For us, geography does matter [when striking a deal], but more than anything else, there’s a cultural alignment with individuals,” said Matt Brinker, senior VP of partner development and acquisitions at United Capital, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. The management and staff at PSA and Select Financial are “myopically focused on improving the lives of their clients.”

The importance of technology in today’s wealth-management and retirement practices has also been a factor in United Capital’s acquisition run, according to Brinker.

“There’s all this disruption in the space with robo-advisors and the Schwabs and Vanguards,” he said. “And there are expectations from clients that are raising the bar, along with these organizations and competitive forces, when it comes to how to engage with clients, and that’s the reason for our digital focus. United Capital provides a platform to digitally engage with the client in a more meaningful and scalable way.”

According to Trevor “Chip” Lewis, a PSA managing director who is also a CFP, United Capital client tools like the Money Mind, Analyzer and Honest Conversations “surpass anything else we’ve seen to date.”

“The industry has drastically changed and made it difficult to conduct business … I came to the conclusion that my team and clients deserved an environment that would offer a path of success and succession,” explained Select Financial’s Abriola in a statement. “Given that some of my clients have been with me for more than 20 or 25 years, and that my daughter works with me, the fit had to be right.”

United Capital was founded as a network of independent advisory firms about 10 years ago by CEO Joe Duran.