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Jeff Dekko
Wealth Enhancement Group CEO Jeff Dekko

Lightyear-Fueled Wealth Enhancement Group Acquires Another RIA

It is the sixth major acquisition Jeff Dekko’s hybrid firm has made since being acquired by Donald Marron’s Lightyear Capital.

Jeff Dekko’s Minneapolis-based Wealth Enhancement Group has bought another advisory firm, this time in the retirement-rich Jacksonville, Fla. area, with the acquisition on Retirement Strategies Inc.

The move marks the sixth major acquisition the firm has made since being bought by Donald Marron’s private equity firm, Lightyear Capital, in 2015, and its seventh major acquisition since 2013. It should push Wealth Enhancement Group over the $9 billion mark in client assets. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Retirement Strategies was founded in 1994 and is led by partners Bill Carr, Bill Hart and Mary Beth Neeley and focuses on retirement planning with $350 million in assets under management. They will remain with Retirement Strategies.

“I wanted to find a platform that could help to super-charge our growth, but would do so without diluting the level of service we already provide to our clients,” said Carr. “Partners like that are difficult to find, but we are confident that Wealth Enhancement Group meets all of our criteria. We are very happy to be part of the team.”

Wealth Enhancement Group, with $8.9 billion in AUM, has been one of the more aggressive acquirers of RIA firms over the past several years since it was purchased by Lightyear Capital in April 2015 from Norwest Equity Partners, a Minneapolis-based middle market investment firm.

Lightyear Capital’s managing partner Mark Vassallo said at the time they identified Wealth Enhancement Group as “a firm that could grow through acquisition,” and since then, the firm has been averaging two acquisitions a year in a bid to become a nationally branded RIA firm.

Dekko has said the ambition is to create a nationally branded RIA firm while retaining a boutique-like approach to clients.

The firm acquired HHG & Company in Darien, Conn. and Sound Financial Solutions in Houston in 2016, CLA Financial Advisors in Chicago and CPA Retirement Planning in Florida in 2017, and Cimino Wealth Advisors in Clinton, Wis., earlier this year. 

The acquisitions helped Wealth Enhancement Group post organic growth of $1 billion since 2017. 

“We’re not looking for growth simply to get bigger,” said Dekko, Wealth Enhancement Group's CEO. “We want to find partners that share our vision of building a premier national wealth management and financial planning brand, and that have the skills and values to fully benefit from our team-based approach to simplifying the complexities of wealth management for our clients. Needless to say, we are very rigorous in identifying potential partners and bringing them on board.”

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