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Reverence Takes Stake in Hybrid SEIA, As Firm Leaps Into M&A

The investment will allow Signature Estate & Investment Advisors to move into the M&A space for the first time and expand distribution for its TAMP.  

New York-based private equity firm Reverence Capital Partners has taken an equity stake in Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, a Los Angeles-based hybrid registered investment advisor with over $16 billion in assets. Advisor Group, the broker/dealer platform owned by Reverence and which supports Signature's turnkey asset management platform, has also made a minority investment in the RIA. The deal will allow SEIA, which has grown entirely organically over its last 25 years, to launch into the mergers and acquisitions space for the first time.

The Reverence investment will also allow the RIA to expand the distribution of its turnkey asset management platform, Signature Investment Advisors. The TAMP is currently only offered to reps who use Royal Alliance, one of Advisor Group’s broker/dealers. It will now be available to advisors across Advisor Group’s b/ds, as well as platforms outside of that, including the wider independent b/d and RIA channels through Schwab and Fidelity, its custodians.

Reverence owns a majority stake in Advisor Group. 

“We’re basically going to be open for business to the world,” said Brian D. Holmes, president and CEO at Signature Estate & Investment Advisors.

“This is one of the few hybrids that has their own TAMP, and it’s focused on the high net worth space,” said Dan Seivert, CEO and managing partner at Echelon Partners, who served as investment banker on the deal. “A lot of the internal platform solutions are designed for the middle to low end of the market. This has investment technology and reporting technology that is designed more for high-net-worth investors.”

SEIA, which uses Royal Alliance for its brokerage business, also announced it has formed its own broker/dealer, Signature Estate Securities, which is entirely owned by Holmes. He said the firm moved to launch its own b/d to streamline their systems and better serve clients through one unified platform. The firm will begin transitioning its brokerage business, which accounts for just 5% of the firm’s overall revenue, to the new b/d in the next couple months.

One of the reasons the firm chose to partner with Reverence was because it would allow individual practices under the SEIA umbrella to maintain their ownership.

“One of our pre-requisites for getting a capital partner was allowing those individual practices to still own themselves and thrive and frankly go to the next level,” Holmes said.

He said the firm will work closely with Reverence in the coming months on an M&A strategy, and would be a good transition platform for IBD or wirehouse advisors looking to go hybrid. SEIA, which currently has 12 offices and 160 employees around the country, is looking to build a national presence, with a particular desire to add offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Texas, New York and Florida.

“For RCP what it means for them is that they now have a platform in the wealth management space to do acquisitions with,” Seivert said. Reverence has a b/d platform with Advisor Group and an alternatives platform with CAIS. “They were just missing that traditional RIA platform. And this really allows them to really hit the ground running because it’s such a big company, and it also has a focus on high-net-worth clients, which is what they were looking for.”

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