A big LPL practice with $3.7 billion in assets under management is picking up a $300 million Chicago-area firm.

The merger with Summit Wealth Advisors gives Minneapolis-based Wealth Enhancement Group, which already serves client in 40 states, a retail presence in Itasca, Ill., and by extension a bigger footprint in Chicago's high-net-worth market.

Summit's five advisors join 40 advisors at Wealth Enhancement Group, and take on the larger firm's brand. Summit's founder, Kevin Meehan, will become regional president for Chicago.

Although many firms are acquiring smaller ones as succession strategies for aging founders, both Meehan and Wealth Enhancement CEO Jeff Dekko say succession was not a factor in the merger.

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Meehan, a 28-year industry veteran, cites Wealth Enhancement's greater resources as a reason for the move. “I was looking more for a growth initiative more than a get-out-of-the industry initiative,” he says. "I look forward to us moving forward together.”

Summit’s advisors will be able to focus on client-facing activities and leave more of the compliance, information technology and human resources tasks to the larger firm, he says.

“Our feeling is that there are multiple levels of enhanced capabilities we can offer clients because of the merger,” he says. “One level that we have gotten clients quite excited about is the increased capability on both the planning and on the investment side.”

In addition to working with individual clients, Wealth Enhancement also provides retirement plan advisory services for qualified and non-qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans -- and Meehan says that Summit's planners were drawn to the idea of being part of a larger and more stable organization.

“We feel this [deal] will help us get in front of a lot more qualified clients to have them consider us going forward,” he adds.

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