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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

Creative Planning Acquires America's Best 401k

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Creative Planning, a $43 billion RIA based in Overland, Kansas, has acquired America’s Best 401k, a low-cost retirement plan provider, giving it a larger foothold in the retirement plan business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The retirement business is ripe for growth; and acquiring America’s Best 401k will allow us to stay at the forefront of the 401(k) industry,” said Peter Mallouk, president of Creative Planning, in a statement.

As a result of the acquisition, Creative Planning will add about $1 billion to the $3 billion it already manages in defined contribution assets. It had already been working with America’s Best 401k, whose president, Tom Zgainer, will remain in his current role.

America’s Best 401k is only the second acquisition by Creative Planning, which was founded in 2004 with $34 million in assets under management. It follows the firm’s acquisition in February of The Johnston Group, an RIA in Minneapolis with $500 million in AUM.

At the time of that acquisition, Mallouk said in a statement that Creative Planning would “continue to source opportunities to partner with firms that share our values and vision … It’s clear that there are like-minded firms that can fit right into our model as we continue bringing fiduciary advice to Americans from coast to coast.”

He told Barron’s in early September that even though his firm is approached by probably one or two firms a week, he sees just “a couple more acquisitions” happening. “We’re very selective, because our end game isn’t the same as a lot of our competitors. … This is something that we will live with for a long time, and we need it to work for more than five years.”

Mallouk added that Creative Planning does not have an acquisition team.

In that same interview, Mallouk said that even though the retirement plan business is low margin, it’s “still profitable” and provides a way for Creative Planning to meet the needs of clients who own businesses, by helping with the retirement plan for their employees.

— Check out Peter Mallouk Wants a Few Good Advisors, With No Assets on ThinkAdvisor.


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