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RIA M&A Roundup: Hightower Picks Up $2.5B Partner Firm in Orlando

Hightower, Robertson Stephens, Wealth Enhancement Group, Hub International and Sikitch all announced M&A deals this week.

Hightower Advisors added its eighth new partner firm of the year this week, while Robertson Stephens is setting up shop in Wyoming. Wealth Enhancement Group and Hub International both picked up retirement-focused practices, and Sikitch added to its accounting and wealth management businesses.  

In earlier reported news, Abacus Life launched an RIA division, ABL Wealth, with the support of Dynasty Financial Partners. 

Hightower Picks Up $2.5B Partner Firm in Orlando

Chicago-based Hightower Advisors added a fee-only firm in Orlando managing around $2.5 billion in assets, the firm announced.

Founded in 1988, the 30-person Resource Consulting Group is led by President and CEO Gregg Biro and includes 13 other shareholders, as well as 13 CFPs, three CPAs, two attorneys and a CFA.

"We were seeking a forward-thinking strategic partner that could help us grow and evolve our business,” Biro said in a statement, citing Hightower’s partnership approach and “value-added service model” as key attractions.  

"The Hightower partnership allows Resource Consulting Group to maintain autonomy and the firm's distinct identity while gaining the necessary resources to elevate our client service offering to new heights," added founder and vice president Mike Davis.

Resource Consulting Group is the 12th deal announced by Hightower this year, including four sub-acquisitions and the launches of a new partner firm and a tax subsidiary. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Hightower CEO Bob Oros has said acquisitions tend to involve a mix of both cash and equity.

Founded in 2008, Hightower is majority owned by Thomas H. Lee Partners and collectively manages about $131 billion in assets across 135 practices in 35 states and Washington, D.C.

Robertson Stephens Moves into Wyoming

Robertson Stephens Wealth Management is opening an office in Jackson, Wyo., with the addition of Tom Bruno from Wells Fargo Private Bank as a managing director and principal.

Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2017, he spent almost two years at vice president of business development for Gerson Lehrman Group, following 22 with business data company FactSet Research.

The Jackson office will be the fourth Roberston Stephens location in the Rocky Mountains region, and the 18th in the nation. With 81 employees, the Bay Area-based firm manages around $4.5 billion in assets.

In a statement, Bruno said the move will allow him to “continue delivering world-class investment capabilities and white-glove service.”

Wealth Enhancement Group Buys Local Retirement-Focused RIA

Wealth Enhancement Group, a Minneapolis-based hybrid firm with more than $68.3 billion in client assets, bought a retirement-focused hybrid RIA in its home state with some $150 million in managed assets.

Established in 1992, Retirement Advisory Group comprises a team of three advisors and two support staff led by founder and Partner Terry Kerber.

The acquisition adds an office in Eden Prairie, Minn., establishing WEG’s 15th location in the state, including eight in the larger Twin Cities area.

Founded in 1997 and registered with the SEC since 2001, Wealth Enhancement Group is co-majority-owned by TA Associates and Onyx Partners. The firm oversees more than $68 billion in client assets as of September, including $4 billion of brokerage assets held at LPL Financial.

HUB International Bolsters Retirement Planning with Latest Deal

Global insurance and financial services firm Hub International Limited acquired the assets of Renaissance Benefit Advisors Group, previously affiliated with Global Retirement Partners—a Hub subsidiary managing $119.8 billion in assets.

Located in New York City and Atlanta, RBA is a retirement plan consulting and institutional investment advisory firm helping retirement plan sponsors manage fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA and limit liability risk, according to an announcement.

Founder Ellen Lander is joining Hub Mid-Atlantic, along with a team of two. 

"The commitment of Ellen and the RBA team to being a trusted 'fiduciary partner' to their clients makes them an excellent fit for Hub as we continue to grow our presence in the Northeast," Hub Retirement and Private Wealth President Joe DeNoyior said in a statement.

Hub Retirement and Private Wealth, a growing division of Chicago-based Hub International, offers institutional and retirement services to organizations and private wealth management services to individuals and families. Securities are offered through partner broker/dealers not affiliated with Hub and advisory services through both affiliated and unaffiliated registered investment advisors.

The RIA affiliates in HUB RPW—Global Retirement Partners, Millennium Advisory Services, TCG Advisors, Hub Investment Advisors, HUB International Investment Advisory Services and Sheridan Road Advisors—provide investment advisory services to clients with around $148 billion in assets.  

Sikich Acquires Thornhill Financial in Northeast Ohio

Technology, accounting and hybrid registered investment advisory firm Sikich agreed to acquire the operating assets of Thornhill Financial, a Cleveland-based firm providing tax, audit and financial advisory services.

"Northeast Ohio is a priority market for Sikich and I'm excited to continue our investment in this geography with the addition of the Thornhill Financial team," stated Jason Tuma, Northeast Ohio market expansion leader at Sikich. "We're proud of our reputation as one of the top professional services firms in the country. The Thornhill team will build upon our capabilities and allow us to continue to bring first-class services and financial strategies to our clients."

Thornhill Financial provides tax, audit and advisory services to companies across a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction and private equity—including individual and business tax planning and compliance, employee benefit plan audits, restructuring, cash flow planning, estate planning and more. The firm also provides support for wealthy individuals.

"Sikich's range of services and resources will bring immeasurable value to both our clients and our employees," said Kurt Walcutt, a partner at Thornhill Financial.

The Thornhill Financial team will maintain its office in the Cleveland-Akron metro area and integrate a number of current Sikich employees into the office space. The transaction is set to close at the end of the month.

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