OneDigital Acquires Huntington Bank’s $5.6B Retirement Advisory Business

The retirement and investing aggregator will bring on Huntington’s 1,300 employees focused on workplace savings plans.

OneDigital Investment Advisors LLC, a division of Atlanta-based OneDigital, has added to its growing roster of advisers by acquiring Huntington National Bank’s 401(k) advisory and retirement plan servicing business, the firms announced Tuesday.

The deal, which closed on March 31, brings Huntington’s 1,300 workplace savings plan employees and $5.6 billion in assets under management into OneDigital’s financial services and employer benefits fold.

OneDigital had been working with Huntington as an outsourced employee benefits solution for about six years, and the two teams started talking about a deal for the retirement division around the middle of last year, says Vincent Morris, president of retirement and wealth at OneDigital.

“We really liked the partnership with Huntington, and we looked at how we could enhance the client experience on the retirement side with their current clients,” Morris says.

The deal adds to OneDigital’s “brick and mortar” locations for retirement advisement, Morris says, specifically in the cities of Columbus, Ohio; Cleveland; Detroit; and Pittsburgh. Advisers in the field will operate out of OneDigital branches that are in their local markets but continue to service the legacy bank branches as well, he says.

Meanwhile, some of Huntington’s retirement leadership will join OneDigital’s retirement operations and home office team, including Frank Zugaro, currently head of retirement plan services at Huntington.

“This team is top-notch and really will enable us to expand our leadership capabilities,” Morris says.

Strengthened Commitment

Huntington National Bank is a subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares Inc., with more than 1,000 branches in 11 states and headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

“Huntington is strengthening our commitment to this business when many of our competitors are walking away,” Michael Robinson, executive vice president and director of wealth management at Huntington, said in a statement. “It is our collective goal to ensure our clients receive the same high standard of service they expect while gaining the technological excellence and deep product capabilities offered by OneDigital.”

With the acquisition, OneDigital’s retirement platform has more than 1 million participants and 41,000 individual accounts, according to the firm. The move comes after OneDigital announced on March 16 the acquisitions of Arizona-based firms The Clear Group and 401K Resources to expand its Southwest presence.

401k Resources, founded by current National Association of Plan Advisors President Renee Scherzer, works with employers to design retirement plans. The Clear Group, founded by President Chris Scherzer, provides employee benefits solutions, retirement planning, human resources consulting and personal and business property and casualty solutions. Both leaders, who are married, and their teams will remain with their firms under the OneDigital brand, according to the announcement.

Wealth Management

Despite the recent retirement-related acquisitions, Morris says OneDigital does not foresee imminent expansion on the retirement advisory side.. It’s more likely that nearer-term announcements will involve wealth managers as the firm looks to build on its financial service offerings.

“We’re fierce advocates for health, success and financial security in the marketplace, and we want to be able to offer our clients access to advice and financial planning,” Morris says. “You don’t consume benefits in a silo. … We are providing solutions in a holistic way.”

OneDigital will continue to look at geographic locations where they might be strong in one area of employer benefits but lacking in another, according to Morris.

“You’ll continue to see us add strategic players to round out our offerings in the employer world,” he says.