Independent broker-dealer Royal Alliance is acquiring Signator Investors from John Hancock — a move that could double its size to as many as 3,600 financial advisors and other professionals.

“Given our cultural similarities, the ease of the transition, and the strength of our offering, we anticipate a large number of Signator’s advisors will transition to Royal Alliance once the deal is finalized later this year,” according to Royal Alliance President and CEO Dmitry Goldin.

The news didn’t come as a huge surprise to industry watchers.

“This deal represents two trends,” explained Tim Welsh, head of Nexus Strategy. “First, the continuation of insurance companies exiting the independent broker-dealer marketplace. And two, the consolidation of mid-market players to try and get scale to weather the storms of operating cost increases, technology investments needed and compliance requirements to remain viable.”

Signator, a dual-registered broker-dealer and investment advisor, has roughly $50 billion in client assets. Royal Alliance is part of the Advisor Group of IBDs, which includes a total of 5,000 registered representatives and $190 billion in client assets.

“I believe that the most critical component of a successful acquisition is cultural alignment,” according to Jamie Price, president and CEO of Advisor Group. “With Signator and Royal, we immediately saw the compatibility between the two firms, which have a shared focus on the super [office of supervisory jurisdiction] business model and independent advisor community. This is an exciting new chapter for us all.”

Financial details, including the amount being paid for Signator, were not disclosed.

Advisor Group, owned by the insurer AIG until 2016, says it added about 170 new advisors with a total of $4 billion in assets in 2017. It also said both revenue and assets experienced double-digit growth.

“We are confident that our decades of experience working with business owners and independent advisors will enable us to deliver immediate value to Signator’s advisors,” said Goldin, in a statement. “We are excited to welcome them into the Royal Alliance family, and to provide access to the wide range of capabilities I believe will drive efficiencies and growth in their businesses.”

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