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Schorsch Scores Another IBD

Acquisitions of Girard, VSR Financial bring RCAP’s independent advice empire to over 9,700 advisors and about $200 billion in assets across 11 b/ds

Just a week after announcing its acquisition of VSR Financial, Nicholas Schorsch's RCS Capital Corp. (RCAP) reached an agreement to buy independent broker/dealer Girard Securities, a San Diego, Calif.-based firm with 250 advisors and over $10 billion in assets under administration. The two acquisitions bring RCAP’s independent advice empire to over 9,700 advisors and about $200 billion in assets across 11 b/ds.

The deal terms were not disclosed.

“We view Girard, along with our recently announced agreement to acquire VSR Group, as another example of an exciting accretive ‘tuck-in’ acquisition for our retail investment advice platform,” said Larry Roth, CEO of Cetera Financial Group.

Nicholas Schorsch, executive chairman of RCAP, made his initial foray into the IBD space when he purchased First Allied and The Legend Group in June 2013. He’s been on an acquisition tear ever since. Last fall, he announced plans to buy Investors Capital Holding and Summit Financial Group. In mid-January, he bought Cetera Financial Group, which has four b/ds, from private equity firm Lightyear Capital, and J.P. Turner. Last week, the firm announced a deal to buy VSR Financial.

On Tuesday, the firm said its b/ds will operate under the Cetera Financial Group name, with Roth heading up the network. Many middle- and back-office functions will be centralized.

“From a branding standpoint, what we’ve decided to do is take advantage of the reputation and the fact that the market understands the brand Cetera Financial Group,” Roth said.

For the year ending March 31, 2014, Girard reported total revenue of about $54 million, according to an SEC filing. The firm clears through Pershing and National Financial. RCAP is currently negotiating its contract with Pershing to get better pricing.

The IBD provides securities brokerage and investment services, asset management, and investment advisory services. It also sells insurance products, including variable and fixed annuities and life insurance. Girard was ranked 10th for advisor satisfaction in's 2014 Independent Broker/Dealer Report Card

Jonathan Henschen, president of recruiting firm Henschen & Associates, said Girard also sold a lot of alternative investments, which could be why it was attractive to Schorsch. His affiliate company American Realty sponsors non-traded REITs. Schorsch has denied that his broker/dealers would be used as distribution for his alternative products.

Girard was launched in 2001 by Susie Woltman Tietjen and Melisa McGuire, after their father, Richard Woltman sold his broker/dealer, First Affiliated Securities, founded in 1975, to SunAmerica/AIG. First Affiliated was the predecessor to what is today First Allied, one of RCAP’s b/ds. Woltman Tietjen now serves as chairman and CEO of Girard.

“The Woltman family sold their b/d in the past, so why not again and make another substantial amount of money?” Henschen said.

The deal is expected to close later this year or early next year. 

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