Five months after it struck a recruiting deal with Allianz Life Insurance, Woodbury Financial Services says it has added 407 advisors — about 64% of advisors with Questar Capital and Questar Asset Management — with 86% of the advisors’ total assets under management, $1.8 billion, and 83% of assets under administration, $12.2 billion.

The IBD says it added another 165 advisors (from NPC and the closing of its Capital One acquisition) and $9.8 billion in AUA over the past 18 months, giving it a total of about 1,600 advisors, $11 billion under management and $45 billion under administration.

But could this growth pattern prompt a change of strategy for Lightyear Capital, the private equity group that owns Woodbury and the other independent broker-dealers that make up Advisor Group — FSC Securities Corp., Royal Alliance Associates and SagePoint Financial?

“As the growth of Advisor Group continues, questions arise as to whether Lightyear will want to take profits and move on or continue to grow and go public,” said recruiter Jon Henschen of Henschen & Associates.

“With current global market concerns, my bet is on taking profits in the near future and moving on to the next project,” Henschen explained.

(Lightyear bought Advisor Group in 2016; it previously owned the Cetera broker-dealers, which it sold to RCS Capital in 2014 for more than $1 billion.)

Woodbury, Questar and Henschen are based in the greater Minneapolis area.

“Questar Capital geography made Woodbury an obvious and convenient option to ensure high retention,” the recruiter said.

Growth Mode

For the moment, Woodbury and Advisor Group say they are focused on continuing their growth pattern and are pleased with the latest developments.

“We all feel great about the outcome, with the level of advisors and assets [moving over] quite a bit higher than we had set as our goals,” said Woodbury President and CEO Rick Ferguson, in an interview.

“Even more exciting is that … we really hoped the top advisors would choose us and they did,” Ferguson said.

The executive says that its advisors and the ex-Questar reps it recruited tend to do asset management and advisory business, as well as commission-based business and planning “where it fits.”

“These types of advisors are attracted to our value proposition, because we are going to wealth management … and a broad set of [holistic] services and offerings,” he explained. “That is what we are building out as a firm, and thus this type of Questar advisor was attracted to us.”

Questar reps, according to Ferguson, were “impressed” with Woodbury’s year-over-year revenue growth in 2018 of 11%, net of market returns.

“Our culture and similar regional support model were two factors that further reinforced the decision to transition to our firm,” he added. “We look forward to being in their corner.”

— Check out With Questar-Woodbury Deal, What’s Next for Insurance-Owned BDs? on ThinkAdvisor.