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Friday, January 6, 2023

Alera Acquires $2.8B The Ascent Group

Nationwide insurance coverage and monetary providers agency Alera Group added $2.8 billion in property to its registered funding advisor and retirement plan divisions in a deal that closed on the finish of 2022.

The addition of Virginia Seaside, Va.–primarily based The Ascent Group introduced roughly $1.3 billion in consumer property to Alera Group Retirement Plan Companies and $1.5 billion to its RIA enterprise, Alera Group Wealth Companies, for a complete of $7 billion and $7.5 billion, respectively.

“It’s a race,” mentioned Tina Hohman, who heads up Alera Group Wealth Companies. “I’m a bit forward proper now.”

Ascent represents a perfect acquisition for each rising platforms, she mentioned. The deal provides two East Coast places, with a second workplace in Wayne, Pa., in addition to 42 associates, together with 15 monetary advisors, and a proprietary funding infrastructure with a turnkey asset administration platform.

The agency was created in 2021 when Virginia-based Summit Group, led by Jeff Silverman, and Pennsylvania-based Walsh & Nicholson Monetary Group, led by Brian Walsh, selected to interrupt ranks with Ameritas and go unbiased. Mike Moss, who ran the Ameritas dealer/seller, turned CEO of the brand new RIA and was charged with growing and advertising and marketing the funding platform, which leverages expertise to scale back consumer prices by eliminating distributors, bringing features in-house and streamlining advisor processes.

“It actually matches our candy spot as a result of we did not have any buildings like that present,” mentioned Hohman. “And I feel they acknowledged they may present one thing higher on their very own after which discovered in the event that they partnered with another person, they may actually ramp up what they’re making an attempt to do.”

“We’re builders,” Silverman mentioned, in a press release, “and what drew us to Alera Group is the chance to maintain constructing a greater system—sooner, leaner, and less expensive for purchasers. Now we are able to accomplish that on a bigger scale, reaching a bigger variety of advisors and traders.”  

Hohman famous that Ascent includes a number of divisions—wealth administration, retirement plan providers and an ancillary advantages observe—not in contrast to Alera Group. “They form of seem like a mini-Alera,” she mentioned, which is what impressed funding bankers from Smart Rhino, a South Carolina–primarily based consulting agency targeted on the retirement and wealth administration sectors, to make the introduction. 

“The Ascent Group is the proper accomplice for Alera and can assist them speed up the already robust development of their monetary providers division,” mentioned Smart Rhino Associate Peter Campagna. “The Ascent Group is completely loaded with skilled, proficient and motivated companions who will thrive with Alera, and the TAMP performance will give Alera one other worthwhile instrument to proceed serving their purchasers.”     

Based in 2017, Alera was created with backing from personal fairness agency Genstar Capital and mixed 24 companies in property and casualty insurance coverage, worker advantages, wealth administration and retirement providers. On the time, the mixed agency introduced in an annual income of $158 million and was targeted on rising and growing its P&C and worker advantages divisions by way of an aggressive mergers and acquisitions technique.

Hohman was named government vice chairman and chief of Alera Group Wealth Companies in September 2020, however the phase didn’t add any new companies till June 2022 when a cope with Wharton Enterprise Group quadrupled its AUM to $4.7 billion. Two subsequent acquisitions introduced the RIA to $6 billion in property by fall, one among which additionally added $1.5 billion to the nascent retirement providers division. The agency named Christian Mango as head of that division in September.

Each divisions plan to proceed rising by way of acquisition within the new 12 months, with a deal with including companies in geographical areas the place they don’t but have a presence and companies that present each providers.

“We’re nonetheless in a constructing section with the retirement plan providers platform,” mentioned Mango. “I feel we’re seeing increasingly companies which are in each the retirement house and wealth house. So, I feel these will likely be a few of the acquisitions that we’re taking a look at.”

“I’d anticipate extra acquisitions that look extra like this will likely be on our radar,” agreed Hohman, who mentioned they might even be trying to purchase practices in areas the place Alera has a P&C and advantages presence however no wealth providers, together with areas on the West Coast and within the southern central U.S.

“I feel we’ll proceed to have a look at applied sciences to additional scale what we do, together with issues like monetary wellness, probably advisor-managed accounts,” added Mango. “However the integration with our broader enterprise—these verticals on worker advantages, property and casualty—it’s crucial that we start to get that actually buzzing. So, that will likely be a giant focus for us this 12 months.”

At present Alera Group employs 4,000 people throughout 180 workplaces and brings in an annual income in extra of $1 billion throughout all enterprise verticals.

Phrases of the Ascent deal weren’t disclosed. In step with Alera’s acquisition mannequin, Ascent retained its personal ADV and subsidiary practices stored particular person branding.

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