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US Wealth Manager: We're Open To More M&A Deals

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, April 5, 2019


Organic growth is the main route forward but the renamed firm is still open to purchases that fit with its business model, the firm told this publication.

Cerity Partners, the US wealth manager that recently changed its name, says that organic growth remains its main expansion route but it will continue to mull acquisition opportunities, following a deal announced this week.

Cerity Partners, formerly known as HPM Partners, recently said that it is merging with Chicago-based investment firm Blue Prairie Group. The deal means that Cerity will now oversee more than $21 billion in client money. Blue Prairie Group is a fee-only registered investment advisor serving retirement plan sponsors, foundations, endowments and private clients. The purchase price was not disclosed.

"Organic growth is the primary source of growth for our firm, but we will supplement with strategic opportunities that align with our vision and client-centric service model, including additional M&A deals," Kurt Miscinski, partner, president and CEO of Cerity Partners, told Family Wealth Report.

"As a result of this deal, we have deepened our ability to offer retirement plan services to larger companies," he said, adding that building scale is important in dealing with organic growth and making the business more efficient.

The transaction is part of a wider trend of wealth management M&A in which RIAs and other organizations have been bought as part of a consolidation trend. Drivers vary: firms' founders want to retire and find an exit for their business; wealth firms want scale to handle regulatory costs, or to spread their brands.

Figures issued in January this year showed that more US-registered investment advisors were bought and sold during the fourth quarter of last year and average deal sizes continued to grow. There was a total of 44 consummated transactions in the final three months of 2018, which means that last year was the sixth straight record year of RIA dealflow, according to ECHELON Partners, a wealth management capital firm.

Miscinski said clients at the firms will not see any changes to their services as a result of the transaction.



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