The top news within the brokerage business over the past month includes the following developments:
Cetera Cetera Financial Group is buying some broker-dealer and advisory-business assets from Foresters Financial, which includes 500 independent advisors. The firm is not disclosing the value of the transaction but says the Foresters advisors will join its self-clearing platform.
As part of the deal, Cetera also will have the option of taking over leases on more than 40 branch offices; it also can make offers of employment to staff in Foresters’ brokerage and advisory business.
“The business has an outstanding new entrants program we plan to leverage so that together, we can continue to help more clients achieve financial well-being through an advice-centric experience,” according to Cetera Financial Group President Adam Antoniades.
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Like Cetera’s other businesses — Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities and Summit Brokerage Services — Foresters will operate as an independent broker-dealer; led by Sean Casey, it also will be a division within Cetera Financial Institutions.
In a separate transaction, Toronto-based Foresters Financial is selling its U.S. asset management business, including First Investors mutual funds, to Macquarie Investment Management, which owns the Delaware Funds.
HD Vest Industry watchers are labeling HD Vest owner Blucora’s planned acquisition of tax-focused broker-dealer 1st Global as “big news, but not at all surprising,” according to popular blogger and financial planner Michael Kitces.
“Blucora owns TaxAct [software] as well, and was already building synergies around HD Vest’s base of CPA-centric advisors,” Kitces said on Twitter. “1st Global was ‘the other’ big CPA-centric broker-dealer. Just merges together two already-strategically-well-aligned firms.”
The $180 million stock deal involving two Dallas-Fort Worth independent broker-dealers could results in a firm with close to 4,500 advisors and $60 billion in total assets. News of the IBD acquisition comes about 3 1/2 years after Blucora announced plans to buy HD Vest.
“And the consolidation continues!” tweeted Kyle Van Pelt, an executive at SS&C Advent and blogger. “Expect to read a bunch more of these over the next three to four years.”
According to Todd Mackay, interim CEO of HD Vest, meetings with 1st Global leaders first took place more than a year ago: “It was evident right off the bat that the two companies had a strong alignment and a shared culture of empowering employees and advisors in the best possible way and looking at [the business] through the eyes of our advisors.”
The common vision, Mackay said, is focused on “truly serving clients with advisors focused on maximizing their after-tax returns. We believe the potential of the combined entities would significantly enhance opportunities for advisors to grow and better serve clients.”
Plus, the executive explained, both HD Vest and 1st Global clear through Fidelity’s National Financial Services. (Before Blucora, HD Vest used Wells Fargo.) “There is going to be minimal disruption across the networks and families,” he said. “Both companies run the NFS platform and use Envestnet for our trading systems.”
Janney Janney Montgomery Scott says it recruited 14 financial advisors with about $1.1 billion in combined client assets in the first quarter. They moved to Janney from Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo.
“Janney had another successful quarter recruiting leading financial advisors with experience and expertise in all aspects of wealth management,” according to Jerry Lombard, president of the firm’s Private Client Group. “We’re happy to welcome them and are proud these advisors recognized the value of our entrepreneurial platform and client-focused culture.”
The new employees include four teams, six individual advisors and seven associates, who are based in eight branch offices. As of April 1, Janney has about $80 billion in assets under advisement; the firm has recruited 200-plus advisors since 2015.
The advisors moving to Janney from Merrill include: Philip Fried and Robert Mouro with the Fried Mouro Group of Raleigh, North Carolina; Cathryn Budd of Atlanta; Michael Hassell of Radnor, Pennsylvania; and Harlon Neal of Goldsboro, North Carolina.