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Marty Bicknell
Mariner Wealth Advisors CEO Marty Bicknell

PE Firm Acquires Minority Stake in Mariner Wealth Advisors

The stake from Los Angeles–based Leonard Green & Partners will help the $40 billion AUA RIA further expand its market reach.

A Los Angeles–based private equity firm is acquiring a minority stake in Mariner Wealth Advisors, a Kansas City, Kan.–based wealth advisory firm with more than $40 billion in assets under advisement. 

Leonard Green & Partners will invest “significant capital” into the wealth advisory firm to help it expand its reach throughout the country, according to the announcement. In a statement on the deal, Mariner CEO Marty Bicknell called the deal “a tremendous opportunity” for the company.

“I am thrilled to align ourselves with a partner that shares our values and desire for growth,” he said. “As we move forward, we will maintain the firm’s culture and continue to provide an environment that attracts the best and brightest advisors in the business.”

According to the announcement, Ardea Partners LP served as Mariner Wealth Advisors’ exclusive financial advisors in the deal, terms of which were not disclosed. Bicknell’s direct equity stake in the firm will not be changed, nor will the firm’s management and leadership, though the private equity firm will have board representation.

Mariner has 736 associates, including 350 advisors, located at 42 offices around the country. It has acquired 24 firms since it began in 2006 and is one of the largest independent RIAs in the country. In December, the firm opened its first office in Salt Lake City, with Utah becoming the 26th state in which the firm had a location; the opening was part of a broader effort to solidify its presence in the region, having already opened offices in Arizona and Colorado. 

Earlier in 2020, the firm partnered with Dynasty Financial Partners to create a channel for advisors who wanted to affiliate with Mariner while owning their business (the firm simultaneously announced it was joining turnkey asset management platform Envestnet in taking a minority stake in Dynasty). Bicknell credited the firm’s growth to its acquisitions of firms as well as “a proven integration process that enables the firm to scale with speed and efficiency while maintaining the culture and values that drive everything we do.”

Leonard Green & Partners was founded in 1989 and invests in market-leading companies in a variety of industries, including consumer, business and health care services, according to its website. Since it began, the firm has invested in more than 100 companies through a variety of means, including “traditional buyouts, going-private transactions, recapitalizations, growth equity, and selective public equity and debt positions.” Since the firm’s start, it’s raised more than $40 billion of committed capital.

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