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Captrust inks year's third deal, buying $1.4B FCE Group

One of the hungriest RIAs in the market, Captrust Financial Advisors, has completed its third acquisition of the year, adding FCE Group which has $1.4 billion in client assets under management.

The deal brings to 31 the number of firms Captrust has purchased over the past 12 years. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

"We will continue to do four to five deals a year," Fielding Miller, the firm's CEO, told Financial Planning in an interview earlier this year.

Following that conversation, Captrust bought Catawba Capital Management of Roanake, Virginia, in July and Morton Wealth Management of Greensboro, North Carolina, last month.

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At a time when aging financial advisors are seeking equity-producing exits from the firms they have built, Captrust offers itself as a succession solution for firms with the right cultural fit, focused on client-centric service that it says is independent of conflicts of interest.

It provides an "alternative for independent RIAs who are trying to solve for growth, succession or scale," Captrust said in a release last month, adding that its "approach provides firms with leading technology, research and investment resources that have been proven to add substantial value to the client experience."

In an email, Fielding called culture "a pretty intangible thing, but you know a fit when you see it. It's clear that [FCE's leaders] care deeply about their clients and colleagues. You combine that with disciplined planning and investment advice along with stellar client service, that's how they became one of Long Island's premier wealth managers."

The addition of FCE boosts Captrust's total AUM for its RIAs to more than $10 billion, according to Captrust and the firm's SEC Form ADV. In addition, FCE's 23 employees bring Captrust's national workforce to 480, of which 169 are advisors, in 38 offices in 20 states, Captrust says.

"Captrust’s resources, their independence, their stellar track record for growth and, most importantly, their client-focused culture," helped convince the smaller firm, which was founded in 1981, to sell, FCE's CEO Fred Sloan said in a statement. "While the decision to merge was not an easy one, we felt it was the optimal path."

When picking acquisition targets, Raleigh, North Carolina-based Captrust's first consideration is always culture, Millers said in a statement.

The FCE team, "bring[s] a set of skills and values to Captrust that align[s] perfectly with our business objectives and client service philosophy," he added.

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