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Arete Acquires $800M San Francisco Firm

Portsmouth Financial Services will continue to do business under its original name, with Chairman Ray Lent and CEO Echo Chien also remaining onboard.

The brokers and clients of a San Francisco-based firm with more than $800 million in managed client assets will join Arete Wealth Management.

Though it’s joining Arete, Portsmouth Financial Services will keep its business name while continuing to custody client assets at Pershing. The “tuck-in” via asset purchase will bring about 40 advisors under Arete’s auspices and end a multi-year search for a partner. As part of the deal, Portsmouth will cease its operations as an independent broker/dealer and will operate as an Arete branch office.

Portsmouth was founded in 2001. Chairman Ray Lent and CEO Echo Chien will lead the office after the transition. Lent said Portsmouth opted for Arete because of “its people, culture and commitment to wealth management excellence.”

Arete Wealth was founded in 2007 and is based in Chicago. The firm has about $6.1 billion in assets under management and employs about 230 wealth advisors in more than 50 offices around the country, according to the firm.

In January 2022, the b/d and investment advisory firm recruited Fincadia Group, a “super branch” of 66 reps managing more than $2.5 billion in assets; the firm left National Securities Corp. to join Arete. 

In late 2021, Arete signed a two-year agreement with Masterworks, a platform for investing in art securities, to be the sole managing b/d for Masterworks securities. Arete opened a New York City branch office staffed by about 50 Masterworks employees.

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