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Industry Spotlight > Mergers and Acquisitions

Edelman Financial Engines to Buy $846M RIA in the Northwest

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What You Need to Know

  • The acquisition is expected to close in the current quarter.
  • The deal will enable Edelman to expand its footprint in the northwestern U.S.
  • Edelman will also add to its tax practice capabilities and CPA staffing through the deal.

Edelman Financial Engines is acquiring RIA Viridian Advisors, an independent, 100% employee-owned firm based in Bothell, Washington, that manages over $846 million for more than 800 clients, the companies said on Wednesday.

The transaction, expected to close in the current quarter, will enable Edelman to continue to grow by expanding its footprint in the northwestern U.S. The deal will also allow Edelman to expand its offerings by adding a team of CPAs, financial advisors and client service associates to its nationwide network to provide clients with bundled financial planning, investment management and tax planning services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Edelman has three branches in the Seattle area. “Viridian will be the fourth, and the transaction,” which has been in the works since fall 2020, gives Edelman “more capacity in a key region,”  Jason Van de Loo, Edelman executive vice president and head of retail, told ThinkAdvisor. “Clients have been asking more for tax planning advice, and the Viridian transaction gives us a foundation to provide that. This will be a new service offering for EFE that we plan to roll out in stages beginning with the tax season next year.”

Viridian is led by Adriel Tam, its CEO and co-founding shareholder, who will join Edelman as head of its tax practice. He was also registered as a broker with LPL Financial from 2009 to 2018, according to his report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck website.

Tam was previously registered as a broker with UBS from 2007 to 2009. He is currently registered as an investment advisor and no longer registered as a broker, according to BrokerCheck. The acquisition will give him the “opportunity to achieve my vision and develop a distinctive tax practice platform on a nationwide scale,” Tam said in the announcement.

Viridian provides comprehensive financial planning, investment management, and tax planning and preparation services to individuals, families and businesses.

Edelman Financial Engines itself was created via a merger: Financial Engines and Edelman Financial Services, the RIA founded by Ric Edelman, completed a deal in 2018. In March, it was announced that the private equity firm Warburg Pincus was taking a minority stake in Edelman Financial Engines.

“Through our mergers and acquisitions over the last 5 years, we have thoughtfully built a unique RIA and planning platform that delivers high-quality and high-touch personalized financial help to our nearly 1.3 million clients today,” according to Larry Raffone, Edelman Financial Engines CEO and president. “The acquisition of Viridian marks the beginning of a new chapter of growth for our business, our clients and how we serve them.”

As Edelman’s clients’ financial lives “become more complex, we need to anticipate and adapt to their needs,” according to Van de Loo.

“Through this acquisition, we are adding a successful tax practice to our platform and adding depth to our team of financial planners who share a commitment to delivering a rich, best-in-class client experience,” he said in the announcement. “This broader offering will appeal to new clients, deepen relationships with existing clients and attract the best planner talent to Edelman Financial Engines.”

Edelman has more than 150 offices across the U.S. and was managing more than $270 billion in assets for its 1.3 million clients as of March 31.

(Image: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock)