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Cetera Buys $4B Affiliated Firm

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Cetera Financial Group has acquired BAR Financial. The financial services firm works with some 300 independent financial advisors and other professionals, as well as nearly $4 billion in assets under management on Cetera’s My Advice Architect advisory platform.

BAR, which earlier operated independently as an affiliate of Cetera Advisor Networks, is now a Cetera-owned. This allow the firm “to retain its brand autonomy while directly benefiting from the resources and scale Cetera offers,” Cetera said in announcing the transaction Wednesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Cetera is a ready buyer of both independent financial professionals’ businesses as well as large enterprises and super OSJs, or ‘regions’,” according to Cetera CEO Adam Antoniades, referring to offices of supervisory jurisdiction.

“Based on extensive experience helping OSJs grow and thrive within our regional model, we can offer an acquisition opportunity to continue to support growth through the full lifecycle of these enterprises,” Antoniades said in a statement.

Since 2015, Cetera has assisted with more than 400 succession transactions like this one, representing $9 billion of AUM, it said.

The broker-dealer network now supports about 8,000 independent advisors, according to its websiteIn 2018, Cetera’s parent company sold a majority stake in the firm to private equity group Genstar Capital.

BAR’s Move

In evaluating succession planning strategies, BAR founding partners John Brackett, Eric A. Huck and Anthony Tarantino said the new ownership model provides them with the best path for future growth.

“Cetera now offers us the best opportunity for continued growth with no disruption to our business,” Brackett said in a statement. “We look forward to the additional benefits being part of Cetera will bring in terms of resources and scale.”

The partners will continue to lead the firm as regional directors for three years, “ensuring a smooth transition and business as usual for their network of independent financial professionals and financial institutions,” Cetera said.

BAR’s 25 employees will become Cetera staff members but continue to focus on the BAR business.

BAR has five regional offices: one each in Concord and Rancho Cordova, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania; and Westlake, Ohio.