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Industry Spotlight > Mergers and Acquisitions

Wealthspire to Buy $2.7B RIA Private Ocean

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What You Need to Know

  • The deal to acquire Private Ocean will give Wealthspire its first West Coast offices as it expands its national RIA business.
  • Private Ocean is based in San Rafael, California, and also has offices in San Francisco and Seattle.
  • Greg Friedman, Private Ocean CEO and founder, was recently honored by ThinkAdvisor in the class of 2021 LUMINARIES.

Wealthspire Advisors has taken another step in the firm’s plan to expand its national RIA business by signing a definitive agreement to acquire Private Ocean, a San Rafael, California-based RIA that manages $2.7 billion in assets and also has offices in San Francisco and Seattle.

Wealthspire, a subsidiary of insurance and brokerage group NFP, is an independent RIA that now has 14 offices in eight states throughout the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Wealthspire will expand its presence to the West Coast through the transaction.

Private Ocean was created in 2009, after the combination of two of the oldest privately held wealth management firms in the San Francisco Bay Area: Salient Wealth Management and Friedman & Associates. The firm also acquired Lakeview Financial in Seattle and Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco.

Greg Friedman, Private Ocean CEO and founder, is the author of three books for financial advisors and leaders, including two on successful RIA mergers and acquisitions. He was recently honored by ThinkAdvisor in our class of 2021 LUMINARIES.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions, Wealthspire said Monday. Once the transaction is completed, Private Ocean “will fully integrate under our brand in Q1/Q2 of 2022,” a Wealthspire spokesperson told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday. Wealthspire declined to say how much it’s paying for Private Ocean.

The deal follows Wealthspire’s recent agreement to acquire Private Capital Group, a $1 billion RIA based in West Hartford, Connecticut. After both transactions are finalized, Wealthspire expects to be managing assets of about $17 billion and have 18 offices across the U.S., it said.

After completing their merger, Bronfman Rothschild and Sontag Advisory rebranded the combined $10 billion (at that time) RIA as Wealthspire in 2019.

Calling the addition of Private Ocean a “fantastic opportunity” for his firm, Wealthspire CEO Mike LaMena said in a statement that the Private Ocean team, led by Friedman, “shares our commitment to delivering great outcomes for clients, and their vision and culture are a natural fit with Wealthspire.”

The acquisition represents a “significant way to plant a flag on the West Coast and demonstrate our growing national scope,” LaMena added.

Friedman called the transaction an “important step for both of our firms in an environment where scale and quality matter.”

Wealthspire has “always been intentional about the acquisitions we make, and partnering with a firm like Private Ocean is a rare opportunity that doesn’t come around often,” according to Hoyt Stastney, Wealthspire general counsel and head of M&A.

“Wealthspire provides systems, processes, and tools that accelerate growth, which will enhance our collective ability to expand on the West Coast,” Stastney added.

The Asset & Wealth Management Investment Banking Group of Raymond James served as financial advisor, and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr served as legal counsel to Private Ocean. Ropes & Gray served as legal counsel to NFP and Wealthspire.

Pictured: Private Ocean CEO Greg Friedman


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