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Mariner Acquires $360M California Firm

Confluence Financial Planning’s six associates will continue to operate out of their Sacramento office. It’ll be Mariner’s first location in the city, and 15th in California.

Mariner Wealth Advisors is acquiring Confluence Financial Planning, a California-based advisory firm with $360 million in managed assets. 

The new firm will be Mariner’s first in Sacramento and its 15th in California. The deal closed on Dec. 31. All six Confluence associates will join Mariner and continue to work out of the Sacramento office, now Mariner’s 99th location in the country.

“The remarkable economic growth in the greater Sacramento region, coupled with the success of Confluence Financial Planning, made this acquisition a strategic union of thriving environments and proven expertise,” Mariner CEO and President Marty Bicknell said about the deal.

Confluence was founded in 1983 utilizing a “three-pronged financial planning model” to service its 285 clients. CEO Cynthia Meyers said that while the firm had prided itself on its ability to support clients with in-house support and third-party referrals, joining Mariner will give clients access to more services in one spot.

Mariner was founded in 2006 in Overland Park, Kansas, and currently manages more than $114 billion in client assets. Last year Mariner acquired Spring Financial Wellness to offer businesses support, financial education and employee coaching, a first-of-its-kind deal for the firm. 

In late November, the firm acquired the Boston-based Baystate Wealth Management, a firm with about $1.8 billion in client assets (that deal closed on Jan. 1). Baystate was founded in 2009, and serves about 2,243 households and 17 businesses. Mariner also recently acquired Klevens Capital Management, a Kirkland, Wash.-based firm with $300 million in client assets.

In the past few months, Mariner has been embroiled in a lawsuit with Edelman Financial Engines, which accused Mariner of recruiting advisors while stealing clients and trade secrets, allegedly resulting in 851 clients with more than $621 million in assets departing Edelman over a number of years.

Edelman argued that some advisors leaving the firm for Mariner provided the latter firm with a copy of their non-solicitation agreement, recreated client lists for Mariner, and broke their contracts with Edelman by contacting and enticing some of those contacts to leave the firm.

Mariner fired back in December, accusing Edelman of a “nearly three- year campaign to unlawfully stifle fair competition in the investment advisory services industry.” The firm also asked the court to put a halt to the suit while related arbitration and litigation progressed.

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