Advisory M&A

Former Goldman Sachs execs launch wealth management consolidator with $200M; Mercer Advisors buys Andesa Financial Management; Acorns acquires UK-based financial education provider; and more.

Former Goldman Execs Launch Wealth Advisory With $200M

 Former Goldman Sachs and United Capital executives Gary Roth and Mike Capelle have started a national wealth management firm with $200 million in equity financing from private equity firm Crestview Partners.

The Monterey, California-based firm will be called Modern Wealth LLC and will aim to acquire registered investment advisers across the U.S. to create a network of financial advisers armed with “growth-accelerating client service resources, specialized planning experts and modern technology,” according to last Wednesday’s announcement. Modern Wealth’s team will include certified financial planners, tax planners, risk managers, chartered financial analysts, estate planners and others, according to the new firm.

Roth and Capelle will be co-CEOs of the firm, and Jason Gordo, who was also at United Capital and Goldman Sachs, will be president.

“Advisers are being left behind as the leading edge of industry is forcing them to broaden their scope of services,” Capelle, who was chief platform officer at United Capital and head of product at Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management, said in a statement. “Clients want clarity and control of their finances, and we plan for our platform to extend beyond investment management to offer customized, digital views of their financial lives, how they are progressing toward key goals and the benefit they are receiving from engaging with Modern Wealth.”

Modern Wealth is in “numerous discussions” with RIAs that are interested in joining as anchor offices as the firm builds out its national footprint, according to the announcement.

“This leadership team has executed over 90 acquisitions of RIAs, building United Capital to $25 billion of AUM with over 220 financial advisers and 22,000 clients in over 70 offices when it was sold to Goldman Sachs,” Dan Kilpatrick, partner and head of financial services at Crestview, said in a statement. “We believe the secular tailwinds for RIAs remain robust, as individuals increasingly seek client-first financial advice.”

Mercer Advisors Acquires Andesa Financial Management

Registered investment adviser Mercer Global Advisors Inc. has acquired wealth management firm Andesa Financial Management Inc.

Andesa expands Denver-based Mercer’s Northeast presence with a team of advisers based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Andesa was founded in 2004 by a group including Paul Barbehenn, principal, and joined in 2006 by Michael Baittinger, principal. Andesa has 260 clients, with assets under management of about $330 million.

“We were looking for ways to add additional services to our clients while offloading onerous back-office responsibilities,” Barbehenn said in a statement. “[Mercer’s] comprehensive ‘family office’ approach to client care with in-house services like estate planning, tax consultation and tax return preparation, etc., adds the depth and breadth of service we were looking to bolt on, while allowing me and my team to offload burdensome back-office work so that we can focus on what is most important—our clients.”

Acorns Buys GoHenry to Expand Kid, Teen Financial Education

Acorns, a saving and investing app, has acquired U.K.-based GoHenry and its European arm, Pixpay, to add financial wellness offerings for kids, teens and adults.

GoHenry Inc., based in London, provides money management and financial education for those less than 18 years of age in Europe and the U.S. The firm has investors, including Edison Partners, Revaia, Citi Ventures, Muse Capital and Nexi.

The acquisition will add to Irvine, California-based Acorns Advisers LLC’s 2020 launch of Acorns Early, an investment product that lets parents, guardians, family and friends invest in a child’s future. Together, the firms will have nearly 6 million subscribers.

“All kids around the world deserve access to responsible money management tools and financial education,” Noah Kerner, CEO of Acorns, said in a statement.

In the U.S., GoHenry will operate as GoHenry by Acorns. In Europe, GoHenry and PixPay will continue to operate under separate brands.

“It’s business as usual for our team and customers in the U.K. and Europe (under Pixpay) with the added opportunities and global reach that this new strategic alignment will bring,” Louise Hill, co-founder of GoHenry, said in a statement. 

Waverly Advisors Acquires Omni Wealth Advisors

 Registered investment adviser Waverly Advisors LLC has made its first acquisition of 2023 by buying Omni Wealth Advisors Inc., increasing its presence in Atlanta and in Tampa, Florida.

Omni Wealth is led by President Brian Hershberger and has about 140 Southeast-based, high-net-worth clients.

“We realized very quickly that our journey with Waverly would be a positive one,” said Hershberger in a statement. “Waverly’s values align with our own and we knew that this transaction would benefit all parties, especially our clients, through access to more services and resources.”

The acquisition of Omni Wealth closed on March 31 and will increase Waverly’s assets under management by $105 million.

The purchase is Waverly’s fifth since accepting an equity investment in December 2021 from Wealth Partners Capital Group and HGGC’s Aspire Holdings platform.

The Birmingham, Alabama-based Waverly is focused on offering partnership solutions to RIAs across the Southeast, according to the firm.

EP Wealth Advisors Expands in Pennsylvania

 EP Wealth Advisors has expanded its presence in Pennsylvania by acquiring Lehman & DeRafelo Financial Resources LLC. The acquisition is the Torrance, California-based EP Wealth Advisors’ second acquisition in the greater Philadelphia area and eighth on the East Coast.

Lehman & DeRafelo offers financial planning and investment management services with a focus on high-net-worth clients. The firm also has an alternative investments strategy that can be paired with EP Wealth’s larger investment approach, according to the firms. With the merger, firm principals Rich DeRafelo and Ron Lehman will each assume the role of regional director, while Jeff Lehman will become a senior wealth adviser.

“As EP Wealth grows to a nationwide firm, we continue to enhance our financial, tax, estate and specialized planning capabilities, paired with diverse investment solutions that help clients advance toward their goals,” Patrick Goshtigian, CEO of EP Wealth, said in a statement.

The acquisition is EP Wealth’s second in 2023 and 28th since taking a minority investment from Wealth Partners Capital Group in July 2017. EP Wealth now has more than 30 offices across 11 states.

The Lehman acquisition is expected to add more than $1 billion to EP Wealth’s assets under management.