The national health care and insurance benefits provider OneDigital has acquired Resources Investment Advisors LLC (Resources), an advisory network headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.
Mike Sullivan, co-founder and chief growth officer at OneDigital, says this acquisition represents the largest single assemblage of deals in OneDigital’s history, as it touches on 13 entities in. He speaks of a strategic vision for the acquisition that will see Resources’ employees working in close collaboration with OneDigital’s benefits distributors to cross-pollinate both business lines and to deliver holistic health-wealth consulting for time- and resource-strapped employers.
“Rising health care costs and saving adequately for retirement are two of the most pressing financial issues facing Americans today,” Sullivan tells PLANADVISER. “It makes sense to bring them together, as we see a future convergence of health, wealth and retirement as a holistic solution. In adding Resources, we’re building an integrated approach to well-being, integrating health care and retirement planning so that employers can better support individuals and families.”
Founded in 1987, Resources is an SEC-registered investment advisory ﬁrm delivering a “single-source solution” to help employers build and implement a retirement plan that meets the needs of their organization and employees. Currently, the firm’s consortium of advisers work with some 2,600 plans and $45 billion in assets under management. Resources is led by Vincent Morris, president, whose advisory practice, Bukaty Companies Financial Services, was recognized as the 2019 PLANSPONSOR Retirement Plan Adviser Mega Team of the Year.
“For the past few years, it’s been a goal of ours to partner with a company that would help us expand upon the solutions we offer our customers and provide access to growth capital, enabling us to conduct M&A [merger and acquisition] activity of our own,” Morris explains.
In detailing the rationale for this acquisition, both Morris and Sullivan highlight the importance of a complementary culture. In fact, Sullivan notes, Resources already serves a number of OneDigital offices across the United States as a retirement and wealth adviser.
As Morris and Sullivan explain, this “initial collection” of deals, in addition to the Resources group, includes Bukaty Companies Financial Services (which is run by Morris), 401k AIM, Cafaro Greenleaf, Capstone Advisory Group, Chepenik Financial, SHA Retirement Group, Strategic Retirement Group and Teros Advisors. The deal further includes the San Diego, California, operation of Fulcrum Partners, as well as three California-based operations of Retirement Benefits Group.
Morris tells PLANADVISER that his firm, Bukaty, has a history of being tied into a local employee benefits shop in the Kansas City area, which will make the collaboration with OneDigital that much more efficient and effective. He also notes that Resources will continue to provide back-office support to its adviser partners moving forward.
“We will continue to offer the affiliation model, because scale is still scale,” Morris says. “The more plans, participants and advisers we have working in this space, the better it is for everyone. We absolutely want to continue to support those businesses that have partnered with Resources.”
In terms of the road map moving forward, Sullivan says Morris and his team will be called upon to guide the integration.
“What we intend to do is make the right introductions, market by market, starting but not limited to geographies where there is a OneDigital presence with no established retirement practice,” Sullivan explains. “Taking the time to understand the teams and our new resources is so important. We’ll take as much time as we need, but we also believe the integration can be done efficiently.”
“Over the past 20 years, our singular focus has been to help our customers achieve business growth and advise them in providing the best possible employee benefits solutions for their employees,” says Adam Bruckman, president and chief executive officer at OneDigital, in a statement about the deal. “As we enter this next chapter, we see Resources and their affiliate companies as an important and strategic expansion of our services. It’s clear that taking a holistic approach to employee benefits, retirement planning and wealth management is at the forefront of our client’s needs and their employees’ well-being.”
News of the Resources-OneDigital deal comes after a record-breaking 2019 for adviser-industry M&A activity, and all signs suggest 2020 will be another banner year. Given the combination of health and wealth expertise, the Resources-OneDigital acquisition calls to mind Hub International’s own buying streak of retirement advisory practices, which unfolded throughout 2019. Like OneDigital, the Hub transactions reflect a vision for merging the health care and retirement planning markets.
“Employers want to address their health care benefits and retirement benefits in a holistic conversation with an advisory team that knows both sides of the equation,” Sullivan says. “It’s a kind of accident of the industry that health care advisers and wealth/retirement advisers have existed in separate silos. In our experience, that is not the preference of employers. Like us, they want to see the wall between health and wealth planning come down.”