Affiliated Managers Group Inc. is in the market for more wealth-management deals following its agreement with Veritable LP, Chief Executive Sean Healey said in an interview.

A spokeswoman for Affiliated Managers of Boston said it will take a majority equity stake in Veritable, a Pennsylvania wealth manager with about $10 billion in assets. Veritable was the third-largest RIA in Financial Planning’s 2012 list of the Top 50 RIAs.

The deal is the first for Affiliated Managers' Wealth Partners unit, which Healey put together last year with an eye on buying into wealth advisory businesses in the same way the company has interests in a stable of boutique asset managers with a total of $327 billion under management.

In a telephone interview, Healey said he has not given the wealth unit a specific deal target.

But he added: "Over time, I'd like to see it have $50 billion or more" in assets. We see a tremendous opportunity to invest in these independent firms."

Healey has talked since last year about moving into wealth management, which is in flux after the financial crisis shook up some of the largest U.S. banks.

Veritable's roughly $10 billion in total assets makes it the second-largest player among "fee-only" registered investment advisors. Its focus is on the wealthiest families, with 2,642 discretionary accounts as of June 30.

In contrast, top-ranked firm Genspring Family Offices LLC had $10.9 billion in total assets spread among 10,505 discretionary accounts.

Veritable founder Michael Stolper will remain Chief Executive of the firm, which has 84 employees, including 48 investment and research professionals. AMG and Veritable representatives said executives, including Stolper, would not discuss the agreement.

Affiliated Managers shares closed down just over 1 percent at $111.59, a decline of slightly more than its peers.

Sandler O'Neill analyst Michael Kim said AMG's mix of investments tends to make its shares more responsive than those of its peers to broader market indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, also down for the day.

Another reason for the share decline could be that investors were looking for AMG to announce a larger deal, since it has not put one together for more than a year.

"They haven't done a deal for a while and expectations were running pretty high," Kim said.

Kim is maintaining his "buy" rating on the stock, however. For one thing, the competition to buy into wealth managers is limited, he added.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber.)


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