United Capital Financial Advisers LLC this week announced its acquisition of Vantage Point Advisors, furthering the wealth management company's nationwide reach.
For Newport Beach, Calif.-based United Capital, the new addition gives it a beachhead in the Philadelphia region. Vantage Point, a fee-only advisory firm located in suburban Lower Gwynedd, Pa., is a seven-employee company serving roughly 160 families with total assets north of $170 million. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
United Capital now has 29 offices nationwide with more than $13 billion under advisement. Unlike some other so-called aggregators of advisor firms that have slowed their acquisitions pace in the aftermath of the recent economic downturn, the company has steadily grown its roster of affiliate firms in recent years. One reason, perhaps, is it's reputation for forming partnerships with the advisor practices it acquires.
"Had this been just a roll-up kind of acquisition to buy a portion of the firm or take an option to buy more, then that wouldn't have interested me," says Terry Siman, president of Vantage Point, now called United Capital Private Wealth Counseling. "A roll-up strategy might be good someone just looking for an exit, but I'm not interested in that because I like what I do."
Siman says his firm has been approached by various organizations seeking a partner, but none of the potential deals appealed to him. "We had looked at acquiring other financial planning practices, but that's hard to do without an intermediary," he says.
One of those intermediaries, Gladstone Associates LLC in nearby Conshohocken, Pa., introduced Siman to United Capital. "I hadn't heard of United Capital when they were introduced to us," he says. But the more he researched them, the more he saw a complementary culture fit and the more he liked the prospects of having a larger partner handle the various backoffice and other mundane, nitty-gritty aspects of running an advisory business, enabling he and his staff to spend more time on client service.
"I wanted a partner who could enhance what I'm doing," Siman says.
For its part, United Capital says it plans to continue its aggressive expansion throughout the U.S.