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TA Associates acquires Wealth Enhancement Group

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Wealth Enhancement Group, an independent wealth management firm that oversees USD11.8 billion in client assets, has been acquired by funds affiliated with TA Associates, a global growth private equity firm with extensive experience in financial services investing. 

The transaction brings aboard a new primary capital partner for Wealth Enhancement Group, with TA Associates purchasing the equity stake owned by funds affiliated with Lightyear Capital LLC, which has been the majority owner since June 2015. Under the terms of the acquisition, Wealth Enhancement Group will continue to be a privately held, independent firm, under its existing leadership team, brand and strategy. Wealth Enhancement Group expects the new equity partnership with TA Associates to support an acceleration of its ongoing growth plans as part of the firm’s strategy to establish itself as a leading national wealth management and financial planning brand.
 
Jeff Dekko, Chief Executive Officer of Wealth Enhancement Group, says: “Having been well-acquainted with TA Associates for over half a decade, we are entering this new partnership with a sense of familiarity combined with excitement about our future, as they have been an attractive partner to support the next phase of our growth. TA Associates stands out in terms of its global scale, its significant expertise in the financial services sector, its embrace of our long-term growth vision, and its strong alignment with our company’s core values and culture.”
 
Since 2003, Wealth Enhancement Group has supplemented employee ownership with external investors, and a large number of employees will continue to hold a stake in the firm. Wealth Enhancement Group has expanded through a combination of strong organic growth and targeted acquisitions in the last six years, purchasing 13 culturally-aligned independent advisory practices during that span and driving organic growth of $1 billion each year for the past two years. The firm’s centralised approach to portfolio management, financial planning, sales and marketing programs, and back-office operations enables its advisors to support mass affluent and affluent retail and institutional investors with comprehensive expertise and resources designed to simplify their financial lives.
 
Roy Burns, a Managing Director at TA Associates, says: “With its exceptional management team and proven track record of strong yet sustainable growth, we believe that Wealth Enhancement Group is very well-positioned to continue to drive the trend toward making objective, independent financial advice more broadly available to mass affluent and affluent investors across the country. Having closely collaborated with the management teams of companies across the financial services sector to help them reach their growth and value creation goals, we see a unique opportunity to align our resources with Wealth Enhancement Group to capture more of the national wealth management marketplace. We are enthused about our partnership with Wealth Enhancement Group, and all that we can achieve together.”
 
Todd R. Crockett, a Managing Director at TA Associates, says: “Driven largely by robust long-term market performance, demographic changes and an overall accumulation of wealth, we believe that the independent wealth management market will continue to perform well.  In a relatively fragmented market, Wealth Enhancement Group has implemented a differentiated strategy that has led to consistent growth and strong customer retention rates, which we believe has positioned the firm well for the future. We are excited to partner with the Wealth Enhancement Group team to help them further drive value into the business.”
 
Mark F. Vassallo, Managing Partner of Lightyear, says: “Lightyear’s funds invested in Wealth Enhancement Group with the view that smaller registered investment advisors would benefit from the centralized planning, marketing and operational resources afforded by the company’s scale. Since the acquisition, Wealth Enhancement Group has invested significantly in its core operating platform and made 10 geographically diverse acquisitions, increasing assets by 150 per cent, bringing the company into six new markets and doubling the number of offices and advisors. It’s been a fantastic four years with Jeff and his team, and we wish them continued success.”
 
Dekko says: “Our new partnership with TA Associates not only positions us for accelerated growth, but also enables us to maintain our steady, stable focus on ensuring an outstanding service experience for our clients across the country. We want to thank the team at Lightyear Capital for their strong support and engagement over the past four years, and we look forward to embarking upon the next stage of our ongoing journey of growth and success.”
 
Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.  Raymond James served as advisor to Wealth Enhancement Group.

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