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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

2 LPL-Affiliated RIAs Strike Big-Dollar Deals

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Two separate RIAs affiliated with LPL Financial (LPLA) said Wednesday that they had agreed to acquire wealth groups with a total of more than $1.5 billion in client assets.

Wealth Enhancement Group, based near Minneapolis, said it was buying HHG & Co. of Darien, Connecticut. Once completed, Wealth Enhancement Group expects to add over $1 billion in client assets to the $4.5 billion it currently has in both brokerage and advisory assets and its RIA arm.

Lightyear Capital — which recently began buying the Advisor Group from AIG and is being sued by its former partners RCS Capital (RCAPQ) and the Cetera Financial Group — owns a majority stake of Wealth Enhancement Group, which it took on in June 2015.

(Lightyear, a private equity group, sold the Cetera Financial Group to RCS Capital for over $1 billion in 2014; RCS Capital recently entered bankruptcy proceedings. )

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, though the parties said they anticipate it will close in the second quarter. George Stapleton, named regional president, will continue to lead HHG.

“We are thrilled to partner with the exceptionally talented HHG team to extend our growth strategy to the northeastern United States,” said Wealth Enhancement Group CEO Jeff Dekko, in a statement.

“This strategic acquisition, coupled with Wealth Enhancement Group’s successful organic growth programs, marks another important step toward our ongoing goal of building a leading national wealth management and financial planning brand,” Dekko added.

The group has clients in more than 40 states and focuses on retail mass affluent and affluent investors. It expanded into the Chicago area in 2013.

“With ongoing consolidation in the [RIA] wealth management sector, we are pleased with the strong platform Wealth Enhancement Group continues to build upon,” explained Mark F. Vassallo, a managing partner of Lightyear, in a statement.

Stratos Buy

Hybrid-RIA Stratos Wealth Partners said Wednesday that it is buying Sandy Spring Wealth Management of Olney, Maryland, which has some $500 million in client assets and seven financial advisors.

In 2015, the Beachwood, Ohio-based Stratos says it grew assets under management 41%, its advisor headcount by 32% and its total asset level by 22%. The RIA includes 215 advisors, 52 of  whom joined its network in the past year.

“We are very pleased to announce our recent acquisition of Sandy Spring’s Wealth Management division,” said Stratos CEO Jeff Concepcion, in a statement.

“While the transition will be a seamless one for clients, we’re most excited about what this means for the advisors involved. We’re always looking for experienced individuals who are interested in transitioning to the independent space and we feel that this particular group is an excellent addition to our community,” Concepcion said.

Stratos Wealth Partners has some $3.1 billion in advisory assets and $4.2 billion in brokerage and third-party assets, representing total assets of $7.3 billion. Like Wealth Enhancement Group, it trades securities through LPL Financial.

— Check out LPL Expects to Launch Robo-Advisor This Year on ThinkAdvisor.


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