Looking for a leading indicator for the independent broker-dealer market? Keep an eye on financial services industry legend Donald Marron. His distinguished career on Wall Street was capped by two decades at the helm of PaineWebber, which he eventually sold to UBS in 2000. Two years later, Marron founded Lightyear Capital, and proceeded to oversee the firm’s rise as a private equity powerhouse.
Lightyear bought ING Advisors in 2010, rebranding it as Cetera Financial Group, and nurturing its growth as a leading IBD network. Three years later, in a blockbuster deal that effectively reshaped the IBD market, Lightyear sold Cetera to Nicholas Schorsch’s RCS Capital for an eye-popping premium price of $1.15 billion. Schorsch, a seasoned deal-maker himself, told Financial Planning’s editors last year the price was “fair” for a big brand-name network in a fast-growing market. Marron, meanwhile, moved on this spring to his next project, buying a majority stake in Wealth Enhancement Group, a $4.7 billion LPL super-OSJ in Minneapolis.
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