Cetera to Buy Two B/Ds from MetLife

Cetera Financial Group has agreed to purchase Tower Square Securities and Walnut Street Securities from MetLife Inc.

The two independent broker/dealers have more than 800 advisers and will join Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, which specializes in providing local support to advisers through its distinct team structure.

When the transaction is complete, Cetera Financial Group will have more than 7,000 advisers and reps, and more than $130 billion in total client assets. The terms and the timing of the deal were not disclosed.

According to published reports, in the last few years Tower Square and Walnut Street have been losing reps and advisers.

The two firms serve advisers via a branch network that is similar to Cetera Advisor Networks’ regional model. Those branches, located throughout the country, but mostly in the Midwest and Northeast, will become new independent regions, expanding Cetera’s footprint in those areas.

“With acquisitions we look for quality firms that are a cultural fit, and those where we can offer the greatest benefit to the joining advisers,” said Valerie Brown, chief executive of Cetera Financial Group.

“Tower Square and Walnut Street advisers are a perfect fit for Cetera Advisor Networks,” said Doug King, president and chief executive of Cetera Advisor Networks. “These advisers join a firm of like-minded professionals and get access to the benefits that can only come with our collective scale.”

The new advisers will gain access to Cetera’s resources including its wealth management and technology platform, new fee-based financial consulting programs, and its Connect2Clients and C2CSocial marketing platforms that include consulting to help create individualized marketing plans.

Craig Markham, president of Tower Square and Walnut Street, will join Cetera Advisor Networks as senior vice president of adviser relations. He will oversee the sales and support teams, including the smooth transition of the two firms.

MetLife still owns two independent broker/dealers, MetLife Securities Inc. and New England Securities Inc. Advisers at those firms work more closely with MetLife, more as captive insurance agents, according to published reports.