BOK Financial To Purchase MBM Advisors

BOK Financial Corporation says it has entered into an agreement to acquire MBM Advisors, a SEC-registered investment advisory firm specializing in retirement and pension plan services.

BOK Financial says the acquisition of MBM Advisors, based in Houston, will increase its retirement plan and individual assets under management by about $1.25 billion. Besides adding to BOK Financial’s retirement services capabilities, the deal also expands the BOK’s individual wealth management business, the firm says. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1966, MBM Advisors specializes in managing all aspects of clients’ employee retirement and pension plans, including providing investment advisory services as an ERISA 3(38) fiduciary. The services also typically cover plan design, plan compliance, recordkeeping and actuarial functions. MBM Advisors has clients in 15 states, including those in which BOK Financial already has a full service banking presence.

BOK Financial has been in the retirement plan business for nearly 60 years, specializing in providing guidance to employers on plan design, plan administration, compliance, and investment oversight. The corporation currently serves about 430 retirement plans with $5.6 billion in assets and 70,000 plan participants. MBM Advisors adds 222 plans, $1.1 billion in plan assets and 16,000 plan participants.

BOK Financial says the deal with MBM represents its third wealth management acquisition in the past 18 months. The firm previously acquired the Denver-based registered investment adviser, The Milestone Group, in late 2012 and recently announced the completion of its acquisition of Kansas-based trust and asset management company, GTRUST Financial Corporation.

 “BOK Financial is highly motivated to continue expanding our geographic and product reach in the wealth management space,” says Scott Grauer, executive vice president for wealth management at BOK Financial. “This transaction fits with our strategy to acquire companies that have built a differentiated business model and a strong base of clients within our footprint.”

Grauer says his firm will also be able to grow its turnkey approach to retirement plan support services for small and mid-sized businesses, while also strengthening the wealth management team in the Houston market. He says that the current market environment is especially positive for expanding retirement services, considering the generation of aging Baby Boomers that are already in or rapidly approaching retirement. That, coupled with the continued pressures on businesses to provide retirement benefits within a constantly changing regulatory environment, mean the one-source services MBM Advisors brings to BOK Financial will be highly valuable, he says.

JoAnn Schaub, senior vice president for institutional wealth at BOK Financial, says the staff specialization at MBM Advisors was a key selling point in the deal.

“MBM Advisors brings to BOK Financial extremely experienced and well-respected professionals who share our commitment for providing high-touch, responsive retirement plan services in a consultative manner,” Schaub says. “MBM’s clients will find BOK Financial’s approach to be very familiar and consistent with that of MBM Advisors, but with the added benefits of a full service wealth management and banking organization.”

Clients of MBM Advisors will continue to work with their current dedicated team, and will now have access to the full range of products and services provided by BOK Financial, including trustee services, institutional asset custody, mineral and real property management, private wealth management, rollover assistance, estate planning and corporate banking, among other services.

The staff at MBM Advisors will work closely with BOK Financial’s local market subsidiary, Bank of Texas, to maximize client, technology and employee resources. MBM Advisors will also maintain their investment relationship with Charles Schwab following the acquisition.

BOK Financial has full service banking in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, through its market bank subsidiary, Bank of Texas, as well as stand-alone wealth management and mortgage offices in Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. Frederic Dorwart Lawyers served as legal counsel to BOK Financial. Steven Gordon of Lipnick & Gordon served as legal counsel to MBM Advisors. Dan Bass, with Performance Trust Capital Partners, served as financial adviser to MBM Advisors.

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