Merit Financial, a $4 billion Georgia-based hybrid registered investment advisor, has entered into a strategic partnership with financial services holding company Wealth Partners Capital Group (WPCG) and private equity firm HGGC to fuel its organic growth and acquisition efforts, according to a news release.

With the support of Palm Beach, Fla.-based WPCG and Palo Alto, Calif.-based HGGC, Merit is seeking to expand its footprint and partner with advisors and advisory firms, particularly those in the independent broker-dealer space, the release said.

Founded by CEO Rick Kent, Merit provides wealth and investment management services for individuals and families, as well as comprehensive services and business support for its Independent Advisor Partners. The firm, which has completed nine acquisitions since 2012, has 18 locations across the country and manages more than $4.84 billion in client assets, of which $2.97 billion are advisory assets and $1.87 billion are brokerage assets, as well as additional $111 million assets under advisement.

Kent said Merit has achieved significant growth over the past decade and seeks to further this growth while continuing to offer its clients customized services and capabilities. “WPCG recognizes the importance of this mission and has been successful in supporting its partner firms in achieving their goals. We are excited for our future together,” he said in a statement.

Merit president Kay Lynn Mayhue added that the partnership with WPCG and HGGC positions the firm to accelerate its growth trajectory, enhance offerings to clients, and provide a home for like-minded advisors while strengthening its foothold across the U.S.

The release said WPCG management team of John W. Copeland, Rich Gill and Sean Bresnan will work closely with Merit to achieve its growth objectives.

Gill noted that consolidation continues within the financial services industry, to the benefit of both clients and their advisors. “With its strong regional brand, broad client offering, and deep management and investment talent, Merit has the potential to be one of the leading strategic RIA acquirers. We are excited to align with HGGC to support Merit’s growth plans and expand our focus to a broad subset of advisory firms across the U.S,” he said.