Western Alliance Bancorp, a fast-growing Nevada-based financial services firm, has acquired Shine Investment Advisory of Englewood, Colo. Western Alliance, which acquired Miller/Russell & Co. in Phoenix several years ago,
is believed to be looking to selectively acquire other advisory firms in the western United States.

   Judy Shine, who founded the firm in the Denver suburbs 23 years ago, says her agreement with Western Alliance enables for her to stay on with her firm-which manages $450 million in assets-for 10 years. One reason she opted to sell the firm was that she didn't want to build the infrastructure required for a larger firm on her own and she also didn't want to retire.

   While the terms of the transaction were not disclosed, Shine received a combination of cash and Western Alliance equity as part of the deal. She also retained a minority interest in her firm and her employees will be able to purchase restricted Western Alliance shares.

   The acquisition gives Western Alliance more than $2 billion in advisory assets under management, since Miller-Russell manages about $1.7 billion. In total, Western Alliance has about $4.7 billion in assets, and operates seven banks, one credit card company and one trust company.

   Its CEO, Robert Sarver, is the owner of the Phoenix Suns, and has built several successful real estate businesses, as well as another bank that he sold to Zions National Bank in Salt Lake City. Shine says she talked with many different potential acquirers, and while others offered more money, Western Alliance was the best fit.

   "Clients had been asking about transition and continuity and I wanted someone who was committed to a fee-only, no proprietary products, consultative model," she says. "I didn't want employees assuming huge debt levels and I wanted someone with a track record. Many of these newer firms have very little history. Dennis Miller [of Miller/Russell] did this several years ago and nothing has changed. You have to decide what this looks like for clients."

   She cited several other positive factors, including the fact that the deal involved no earn-out, her name remains on the door, Schwab Institutional remains her custodian, and Western Alliance is looking to provide referrals and owns a trust company.